Pennsylvania’s policy concealing the identities and activities of abortionists is being challenged in court by a legal team warning that it led to the horrors of Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of the gruesome murder of infants.
The Thomas More Society wants the state health department to disclose, under a public right-to-know law, the names and license numbers of abortionists.
The organization argued it was that agency’s “poor supervision that allowed Kermit Gosnell’s atrocities to go undetected for years.”
“Gosnell was convicted of murder for the heinous acts he performed on infants and women in his ‘house of horrors’ abortion facility,” Thomas More said.
Thomas Olp, vice president of the society, said that in view “of those atrocities, the Pennsylvania Department of Health should never again permit the abortion industry to hide from public scrutiny.”
“Access to information that is standard in any other medical practice should not be off limits when abortion services are concerned,” he said.
“Any other position is irresponsible. Yet in this case the Pennsylvania Department of Health is allowing abortion providers to conceal the identities and license numbers of those who perform abortions. This is in brazen contradiction to the Right to Know Law’s requirement that such information be public.”
The organization filed the complaint on behalf of Jean Crocco, an employee of the Pro-Life Action League. Crocco had asked the state agency to give her documentation regarding the medical licenses of several abortionists.
Under the state’s Right to Know Law, the agency provided some information but concealed all the names and license numbers of people listed in the records.
“The reason given for this concealment was that unredacted disclosure of names and license numbers in the records would subject these abortion providers to risk of physical harm or invasion of personal security,” the Thomas More Society said.
But Olp challenged the state’s agenda.
“The Pennsylvania Department of Health wants the court’s blessing on an unpublished and undeclared policy of blacking out names and license numbers of abortion clinic personnel from Right to Know Law public records requests. The policy is aimed at specifically protecting the abortion industry at the expense of the public’s right to obtain relevant and important information about medical services providers. Information about the credentials and quality of medical service providers is readily accessible for any other medical sectors. The idea that the abortion industry should be exempt from such disclosure is unacceptable from a public health point of view. The Pennsylvania Health Department’s case cites no proper grounds for disregarding the Right to Know Law’s requirement that such information be publicly accessible.”
The society, a national public interest legal team that defends the sanctity of human life, explained in a court filing that provisions to conceal abortionists identities never was lawfully adopted. Thomas More argued there’s no evidence of any “substantial” risk of physical harm to the abortionists. And in nearly all cases, “those whose names have been redacted have willingly associated their identities with abortion practice in social media and websites.”
The brief explained pro-abortion organizations had listed multiple “anti-abortion incidents” but then conceded “none … is shown to have been caused by disclosure of a name or license number.”
“All the incidents either occurred at abortion facilities – and so by definition were unconnected with disclosure of a name or license number … or were facilitated by a perpetrator who had obtained an individual’s personal identification information, which is not at issue here since petitioner does not seek personal identification information,” the brief said.
“Access to … records is too important to be foreclosed because a regulated industry wants to conduct its operations in secret and finds a willing listener in a governmental agency,” the arguments continued. “Legitimate concerns about safety of personnel in this industry can be, and are being, addressed through existing laws. No individual here has shown he or she would face a substantial risk of physical harm or to personal security as a result of the disclosure.”
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