A group of Senate Republicans are adding their voices to the growing number of abortion opponents attempting to leverage Kermit Gosnell’s crimes to attack women’s reproductive freedom. Led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the lawmakers have seized upon the Philadelphia abortion doctor’s high-profile murder case as an excuse to introduce a Senate resolution calling for even more restrictions on women’s reproductive care — with the ultimate goal of shutting down safe abortion clinics.
The resolution, whose additional co-sponsors include Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), calls for Congress to launch an investigation into the “dangerous” health clinics that perform abortion care. “No woman should ever be abandoned, by policy or practice, to the depredations of an unlicensed, unregulated, or uninspected clinic operating outside of the law with no regard for the mothers or children ostensibly under its care,” the resolution states.
Ironically, the policies that have “abandoned” those women — leading economically-disadvantaged Americans to seek out unregulated clinics like Gosnell’s — are actually the same exact types of policies that Lee’s resolution is calling for. Pushing to tighten restrictions on all abortion providers ends up forcing safe, legal clinics to close their doors. And that ultimately limits women’s access to the reproductive care they need, leading some desperate women to resort to unsafe abortion services when they’re left with no other options.
But that doesn’t matter to the abortion opponents who are eager to twist the facts in Gosnell’s case to advance their anti-choice agenda. As RH Reality Check points out, even though a Senate resolution won’t necessarily create any new policy right away, it may create a situation where lawmakers are pressured to sign on in support. And an increasing number of politicians aligning themselves with unnecessary abortion clinic restrictions will simply help perpetrate the anti-choice myth that over-regulating legal abortion providers is about keeping women safe — when, in reality, it’s about limiting access to safe reproductive care.
Lee has already attempted to restrict late-term abortion access for women in the District of Columbia by offering a budget amendment that included a 20-week abortion ban, a popular tactic among the anti-choice Republicans who do not actually represent those women in Congress.