House of Horrors at Philly Abortion Clinic Inflames Debate

Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell has been charged with eight counts of murder. Both sides of the abortion debate are having a field day with this case. But what happens to poor women of color faced with unwanted pregnancies?


The WMF had been advising women for more than a decade to avoid Gosnell’s services. But some sought him out for late-second-trimester and illegal third-trimester abortions, which can cost up to $5,000. The group says that less than 1.5 percent of women seeking to terminate pregnancies pursue late-term abortions.

“A lot of women resort to what we call ‘chasing the fee,’ which is when the cost increases as they try to earn or raise money to pay for the abortion,” Susan Schewel, executive director of the WMF, told The Root. “A lot of them do not know that as the number of weeks increases, the cost increases.”

Bomberger said he is pleased that Gosnell is being prosecuted. Overall, African-American women account for 36.4 percent of all pregnancy terminations in the United States, although blacks make up only 13 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC and many pro-choice advocates attribute the higher abortion rate among blacks to a higher incidence of unintended pregnancies. But Bomberger and other pro-life supporters accuse the pro-choice system of genocide, claiming that Planned Parenthood and organizations like it often coax African-American women into getting abortions.

Bomberger argues that there is a proliferation of abortion clinics in black neighborhoods. Because of that, he says, African-American fetuses are more endangered by abortion than those of any other demographic in America; the pregnancies of African-American women, he claims, are three times more likely than those of white women to be terminated by abortion.

The Guttmacher Institute, however, recently released statistics from a 2008 survey demonstrating that 63 percent of all abortion clinics were located in predominantly white neighborhoods; 12 percent in predominantly Latino neighborhoods; and 9 percent in neighborhoods where more than half of the residents were black.

“The claims from the right that these clinics target black women are false,” the institute’s Jones said. “They are very good at ignoring the facts.”