Breda O’Brien: Ignoring inconvenient facts is fake news too

While sales of Orwell’s ‘1984’ soar, media ignores book on abortionist Kermit Gosnell

 John Hurt in the film of  ‘1984’. Liberal US media have their own versions of thoughtcrime, which include reluctance to publish anything that presents abortion as anything other than an unqualified good

John Hurt in the film of ‘1984’. Liberal US media have their own versions of thoughtcrime, which include reluctance to publish anything that presents abortion as anything other than an unqualified good

 

At the time of writing, the number one Amazon books bestseller is George Orwell’s 1984. Orwell’s book added newspeak, thoughtcrime, and unperson to our lexicon.  

In one of life’s little ironies, a book by two dogged Irish journalists, Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, is ranked number three in the same Amazon bestseller list.

What’s ironic about it? The sales of 1984 are soaring due to worries about an allegedly post-truth Trump administration. But liberal US media have their own versions of thoughtcrime, which include reluctance to publish anything that presents abortion as anything other than an unqualified good.

McElhinney and McAleer’s book is called Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer. It soared into the bestseller lists without a single review from a mainstream publication or any media attention.

The lack of attention mirrored exactly what happened when Kermit Gosnell went on trial in 2013. 

Gosnell is an abortionist who routinely murdered babies born alive after late-term abortions by cutting their necks to sever their spinal cords, a procedure he called snipping. At least two women died due to neglect and many more were maimed.

He was not a qualified obstetrician and his staff were also unqualified, including a teenager dispensing powerful anaesthetics and painkillers.

Drugs raid

He also had a lucrative sideline selling illegal prescriptions to drug addicts. He was the subject of a drugs raid, and the horrified detectives found the remains of countless foetuses, including five severed feet kept in jars.

The bodies were stored in bottles and oozing bags, and some were in fridges where staff kept their food. There were flea-infested cats roaming unhindered and their faeces and urine were everywhere.

The trial received virtually no attention by mainstream media until they were shamed into it by determined bloggers and two or three journalists. Why, when shocking crime trials usually receive wall-to-wall coverage, was no attention being paid to this case?

The establishment media also downplayed another angle: decades of neglect and cover-up where state officials ignored serious complaints.

Complaints about Gosnell went back to 1972, when he inserted a ‘supercoil’ into women: this was basically made up of blades that would gradually open and cut the unborn baby into hundreds of pieces. Naturally enough, it cut open wombs, too. He did not lose his licence.

From 1986 to 2006 numerous complaints were lodged against him. Prior to the 2010 raid, he had not been inspected since 1989. When pro-choice governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania was elected in 1993, he ordered abortion clinics inspections to stop.

According to a senior state official, they were afraid that many of the clinics would not meet basic standards, thus affecting women’s access to abortion.

Pennsylvania Health Department officials were even aware that a refugee Bhutanese woman, Karnamaya Mongar, who had survived 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal, had died in Gosnell’s clinic. He had her pumped her so full of medication that she went into cardiac arrest. Not even that prompted an investigation. He was later convicted of causing her death.

Gosnell was enabled by politicians so committed to so-called reproductive rights that they turned a blind eye to every breach, no matter how egregious.

As McElhinney and McAleer point out, his defence team brought in mainstream abortionists in an attempt to show that abortion is a brutal, bloody business, in order to make Gosnell look less bad, less of an outlier.

These ‘good’ abortionists revealed that it is routine practice to just provide ‘comfort care’ to infants born alive after abortion. This amounts to wrapping them in a blanket and waiting for them to die. Gosnell’s defence team tried to present Gosnell’s method of ‘snipping’ their spinal cords as a more humane alternative.

Marie Stopes report

Marie Stopes Clinics

The report documented pre-signed forms by doctors authorising abortions for patients they had never seen, breaches of consent, and foetal tissue left in a hazardous open waste bin. There were unqualified people administering anaesthesia. An abortion was being carried out on an obviously distressed woman with Down syndrome who had not given consent when an inspector visited. Staff had poor knowledge of resuscitation.  

In 2013, recordings made of IFPA counsellors without their consent were published. They revealed that they were advising women in Ireland who were seeking abortion to avoid Marie Stopes because of their bad reputation. Did the IFPA make any official complaints to regulatory bodies, in order to potentially save lives?

Or just like Pennsylvania, could they not permit themselves to commit thoughtcrime by questioning any aspect of abortion?

This book is old-fashioned journalism of the best kind. The journalists even went to interview Gosnell in prison, where he remains completely unrepentant.

McAleer and McElhinney have also finished a movie on Gosnell, but cannot find a distributor. Yet an upcoming movie on serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer will feature a former Disney movie star and no one is batting an eyelid. Ignoring inconvenient facts is another form of fake news. Buy the book if you value real journalism.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.