Washington lawmakers are reluctant to mandate new federal safety standards for abortion clinics, despite the high-profile murder trial of an abortion doctor in Philadelphia, The Hill reported Tuesday
Dr. Kermit Gosnell is accused of killing a woman and seven infants in Pennsylvania during botched and late-term abortion procedures. The conditions in his clinic were reportedly compared to a “baby charnel house,” where Gosnell allegedly severed the spines of babies with scissors and kept fetal remains around the office.
“I don’t know if we should necessarily regulate clinics at the federal level,” said Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Scott Perry. “States have their rules in place for their reasons.”
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States have traditionally governed the regulation of abortion clinics, with state-to-state variations on the maximum number of weeks at which an abortion can be performed. There is little appetite among lawmakers or pro-life campaigners to change the status quo, The Hill reported.
“I’m not sure the federal government has an apparatus to police these sorts of issues,” National Right to Life Committee spokesman Douglas Johnson said.
Meanwhile abortion-rights supporters argue that new federal safety standards governing abortion aren't needed because the Gosnell case is extremely unusual.
“Abortion is already highly regulated and one of the safest medical procedures in the United States today,” said National Abortion Federation President Vicki Saporta. “No level of restrictions would have stopped Gosnell. He is a bad actor, and the entire pro-choice community has unequivocally denounced his practices.”
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