Patient POV Update: Immigration and Abortion News

I regret not posting here recently. It’s been a very busy time for me and I am following several issues that will make their way to this blog soon. I can’t give you a rank order of what’s most important, but I think there is a heck of a lot going on out there that warrants an in-depth look.

Immigrants with Mental Illness Need Rights to Counsel

US Homeland Security citizenship and immigrationImmigration is becoming a big issue (no surprise) since the Boston bombings.

The US Department of Homeland Security handles deportations. If you can,  grab a copy of this week’s New Yorker, I highly recommend reading: “The Deportation Machine.” It’s a horrifying story about what happens when a mentally ill person gets trapped by the Department of Homeland Security. In this case, the person was U.S. born! Authorities had good information and bad information, but whenever they uncovered good information, they wrote it off as being wrong.

On a related note, in California, a class action suit is underway that raises the issue that mentally ill immigrants should have access to counsel before they are hurdled into deportation. It’s a right that has been denied unfairly until now. The case may come to closure in the coming weeks.

Separating the Gosnell Case from Safe, Legal Abortions

Kermit A. Gosnell is a 72-year-old black doctor who performed abortions at  Women’s Medical Services, an abortion clinic in Philadelphia. Many women treated there were poor and black. Abortions were done late, many beyond the legal limit of 24 weeks for abortion in Pennsylvania.

It’s the one and only case that I’ve ever heard of since abortion became legalized in 1973 rife with charges of a doctor operating outside the law,  aborting viable infants long past legal gestational age for abortions in Pennsylvania, stockpiling infant parts in jars, filthy conditions, using unlicensed staff to do abortions, and practicing outside of the law. I am appalled by the conditions presented related to this case. However, it is noteworthy that the Judge cleared Gosnell of several charges earlier this week, as reported in the New York Times last night.

The case has been on my mind quite a bit. I was active in the movement to legalize abortion. and writing about this case requires attention to detail. The lurid details of the case revolt people, no matter what side of the abortion spectrum they are on.

Concerns I have about this case include the following:

  • that Gosnell is brought to justice;
  • that the media makes clear that Gosnell is a renegade, who based all accounts, operated outside the law, with no regard for safety.
  • that Gosnell does not resemble licensed abortion providers;
  • Legal abortions are extremely safe, far safer than childbirth;
  • Restrictive abortion laws do not serve the public’s health, but that make it unacceptably onerous for women to get timely abortions and clinics to operate economically.

I hope that the public and lawmakers put this case into proper perspective because it could unjustly continue policies that already have negatively affected access to timely abortions in many states.

I have serious concerns about the media handling of this story. My points are actually quite different from what you might have read. Expect to hear more from me on this in the coming weeks.

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