Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) blamed laws restricting abortion, and anti-abortion protestors who picket and vandalize abortion clinics, for causing poor women to seek out dangerous clinics like that of the former Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted Monday of the murder of three infants.
"What led to this -- these convictions of murder for this man -- is the fact that people have been pushed back into these holes to do something that's legal," Reid told reporters at a press conference yesterday. "I think that all this picking [sic] of these clinics and throwing chemicals into them to make them so they can't use them, you can't get the chemicals out, all these restrictive laws -- the law of the land is now what the Supreme Court has said. And I think to keep pushing these clinics back into situations where they wind up like this is wrong....
"I think that no matter how you stand on the issue of abortion, people who make that decision should do it and not have to be worried about infections and some butcher like this doing the bad things they do," Reid added. "They should be in a place that's clean and sterile and have people that know what they're doing and care about what they do."
Gosnell, 72, practiced as an abortion provider in Philadelphia and nearby states between 1972 and 2011. On Monday, he was convicted on charges of first and third degree murder, illegal prescription of drugs, conspiracy related to corruption, illegal abortions, and related medical malpractice offenses. Several of his employees have also been convicted on related charges. One employee claimed that over 100 babies had their spines “snipped” after live birth.
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Republicans have been touting the case as an example of the dangers of abortion to women.
Reid's statements were in response to a question about a bill that would ban late-term abortions in Washington, DC; there are currently no restrictions on abortion in the federal district.
Reid has traditionally identified as "pro-life," and in 2003 voted against an an amendment supporting the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.