Miracles do happen. The uproar over the non-coverage of the abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial is forcing the mainstream media to cover it. A good starting point for media coverage is the Gosnell grand-jury report. Here are some selections from some of the most harrowing reading I have ever done.
It begins bluntly:
This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.
The report notes that the actions of Gosnell and his accessories are not the only issues raised by the investigation:
The callous killing of babies outside the womb, the routinely performed third trimester abortions, the deaths of at least two patients, and the grievous health risks inflicted on countless other women by Gosnell and his unlicensed staff are not the only shocking things that this Grand Jury investigation uncovered. What surprised the jurors even more is the official neglect that allowed these crimes and conditions to persist for years in a Philadelphia medical facility.
What the initial raid on Gosnell’s “clinic” revealed could add a canto to Dante’s Inferno:
The search team waited outside until Gosnell finally arrived at the clinic, at about 8:30 p.m. When the team members entered the clinic, they were appalled, describing it to the Grand Jury as “filthy,” “deplorable,” “disgusting,” “very unsanitary, very outdated, horrendous,” and “by far, the worst” that these experienced investigators had ever encountered.
There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets.
All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff – long before Gosnell arrived at the clinic – and staff members could not accurately state what medications or dosages they had administered to the waiting patients. Many of the medications in inventory were past their expiration dates.
Investigators found the clinic grossly unsuitable as a surgical facility. The two surgical procedure rooms were filthy and unsanitary – Agent Dougherty described them as resembling “a bad gas station restroom.” Instruments were not sterile. Equipment was rusty and outdated. Oxygen equipment was covered with dust, and had not been inspected. The same corroded suction tubing used for abortions was the only tubing available for oral airways if assistance for breathing was needed. There was no functioning resuscitation or even monitoring equipment, except for a single blood pressure cuff in the recovery room.
Ambulances were summoned to pick up the waiting patients, but (just as on the night Mrs. Mongar died three months earlier), no one, not even Gosnell, knew there the keys were to open the emergency exit. Emergency personnel had to use bolt cutters to remove the lock. They discovered they could not maneuver stretchers through the building’s narrow hallways to reach the patients (just as emergency personnel had been obstructed from reaching Mrs. Mongar).
The search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic – in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers. Some fetal remains were in a refrigerator, others were frozen. Gosnell admitted to Detective Wood that at least 10 to 20 percent of the fetuses were probably older than 24 weeks in gestation – even though Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks. In some instances, surgical incisions had been made at the base of the fetal skulls.
The investigators found a row of jars containing just the severed feet of fetuses. In the basement, they discovered medical waste piled high. The intact 19-week fetus delivered by Mrs. Mongar three months earlier was in a freezer. In all, the remains of fetuses were recovered at the clinic that evening and turned over to the Philadelphia medical examiner, who confirmed that at least two of them, and probably three, had been viable.
A simultaneous search of Gosnell’s house found patient files that he had taken from the clinic. In a filing cabinet in his 12-year-old daughter’s closet, they found $240,000 in cash and a gun.
Here is how Gosnell provided safe, legal abortions:
As bad as the physical condition of the facility was, the practice that Gosnell conducted inside of it was even worse. It was not a mistake or an exceptional circumstance that forced Lynda Williams and Sherry West to sedate Mrs. Mongar when Gosnell was absent from his clinic. According to multiple staff members, that was routine procedure. In fact, Gosnell, the clinic’s only licensed medical provider, rarely arrived at all before 8:00 p.m. Abortion patients, on the other hand, began arriving as early as noon.
It was Gosnell’s intention and instruction that his untrained and unlicensed staff administer drugs – both to initiate labor and to sedate patients – before he arrived. Patients, meanwhile, did not receive individual medical consideration. Drugs were administered without regard to a patient’s weight, medical condition, potential risk factors, or any other relevant factors that physicians need to weigh in determining appropriate medication. Gosnell ordered his untrained and inexperienced staff to administer drugs to patients even when they protested, as 16-year-old Ashley Baldwin did, that they were not qualified. Gosnell told Ashley and other employees that if they were not willing to administer medication and anesthetize patients, procedures that Pennsylvania law requires a medical license to perform, they could not work at the clinic.
As Kareema Cross explained it, Gosnell told her when she was first hired that it was her job to medicate the patients when they were in pain. But after assigning this as one of her job responsibilities, he did not oversee what she did on individual patients. Indeed, he couldn’t oversee his workers as they anesthetized patients, because he was usually not at the clinic when they did so. His practice was to leave it to the untrained workers to decide when to medicate and re-medicate the patients. He also left the precise medication mixture to the judgment of his unlicensed, untrained staff.
Gosnell disliked it when workers disturbed him by calling for medication advice. Ashley told us that he complained that they were “rushing him.” According to Lewis, “You had to rely on your own. If you felt like they were in pain and you wanted to administer medication, you would just administer the medication yourself.”
Williams was known by other staff members to improvise her own drug cocktails. She would give a patient “[w]hat she thought she needed,” according to Ashley. “She used what she wanted.” West would do the same. Other staff members repeatedly reported this dangerous practice to Gosnell, yet he continued to give Williams responsibility for drugging his second-trimester patients. Cross warned Gosnell in 2008 that Williams gave too much medication, but “Gosnell didn’t care what she did.” Cross would tell Williams that she was giving too much medication; Williams would respond, “well, that is what Dr. Gosnell told me to give.”
Gosnell’s practice of having unqualified personnel administer anesthesia began years before the death of Mrs. Mongar. We heard from a former employee, Marcella Stanley Choung, who told us that her “training” for anesthesia consisted of a 15-minute description by Gosnell and reading a chart he had posted in a cabinet. She was so uncomfortable medicating patients, she said, that she “didn’t sleep at night.” She knew that if she made even a small error, “I can kill this lady, and I’m not jail material.” One night in 2002, when she found herself alone with 15 patients, she refused Gosnell’s directives to medicate them. She made an excuse, went to her car, and drove away, never to return.
Choung immediately filed a complaint with the Department of State, but the department never acted on it. She later told Sherilyn Gillespie, a Department of State investigator who participated in the February raid, that she has worked at seven different abortion clinics and “she has never experienced an illegally run, unsanitary, and unethical facility such as the Women’s Medical Society operated by Dr. Gosnell.” She has never reported any other provider or facility to state authorities.
Gosnell knew that using unlicensed and uncertified staff was wrong. He had testified in the criminal trial of a man charged with illegally practicing medicine by assisting Gosnell with abortion procedures in 1972. In 1996, he was censured and fined in two states – Pennsylvania and New York – for employing unlicensed personnel in violation of laws regulating the practice of medicine. As far back as 1989, and again in 1993, the Pennsylvania Department of Health cited him for not having any nurses in the recovery room. Gosnell ignored the warnings and the law. He just paid his fines and knowingly continued the dangerous practice of employing unqualified personnel to administer dangerous drugs. It was his modus operandi.
If something went wrong during a procedure – and it inevitably did, given Gosnell’s careless techniques and gross disregard for patient safety – he avoided seeking help. Sherilyn Gillespie, the Department of State investigator who participated in the raid, interviewed a number of former patients whose experiences illustrate Gosnell’s alarming and self-serving practice of covering up life-threatening mistakes, no matter the risk to the patient.
Dana Haynes went to Gosnell for an abortion in November 2006. …. Ms. Haynes required surgery to remove five inches of bowel, needed a large blood transfusion, and remained hospitalized for five days.
Similarly, Gosnell should have sent another patient, Marie Smith, to the hospital when he was unable to remove the entire fetus during her abortion in November 1999. But again, he just kept the patient waiting, sedated and bleeding in the recovery room while he proceeded with other patients. Again, it was an insistent relative – Marie’s mother – who found her. In Marie Smith’s case, Gosnell did not tell her that he had left parts of the fetus inside her uterus. (Doctors are required to inspect the extracted tissue to ensure they have removed it all.) Instead, Gosnell allowed Marie Smith to go home. When her mother called days later to report that Marie’s condition had worsened, he assured her that Marie would be fine. Fortunately, the mother ignored Gosnell’s assurances and took her daughter to the emergency room. When they arrived at Presbyterian Hospital, Marie was unconscious. Doctors found that Gosnell had left fetal parts inside her and that she had a severe infection. They told her she was lucky to be alive.
Another patient, a 19-year-old, had to have a hysterectomy after Gosnell left her sitting in his recovery room for over four hours after perforating her uterus. Gosnell finished performing the abortion at 8:45 p.m. on April 16, 1996, but did not call fire rescue until 1:15 a.m. By the time emergency help arrived, the patient was not breathing. She arrived at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in shock, having lost significant blood. To save her life, doctors had to remove her uterus.
In at least one case, Gosnell prevented a patient’s companion from summoning help. The patient, a recovering addict who was undergoing methadone treatment, started convulsing when Gosnell administered anesthesia. When she fell off the procedure table and hit her head, the staff summoned her companion who was waiting for her. The companion asked Gosnell to call an ambulance, but Gosnell refused. He also prevented the companion from leaving the clinic to summon help.
Tina Baldwin told us that she knew of two or three times that Gosnell perforated a woman’s uterus and then tried to surgically repair these mistakes himself. According to Tina Baldwin, Gosnell did not even tell these patients that he had harmed them.
Gosnell took photographs of his patients’ genitalia
before procedures and collected fetuses’ feet in jars.
Gosnell engaged in other practices with patients that defy any medical or even common-sense explanation. Steven Massof testified that the doctor would often photograph women’s genitalia before he performed their abortions. According to Massof, Gosnell told him that he was photographing women from Liberia and other African countries who had undergone clitorodectomies, the surgical removal of the clitoris. In his curriculum vitae, Gosnell described this activity as “clinical research: clitoral surgery patients – cultural and functional realities.” There is no evidence, however, that the doctor obtained the necessary permissions to engage in human experimentation.
Massof said that Gosnell took pictures of women, and of fetuses, with a digital camera and with his phone. Gosnell told Massof that he was taking the photographs for “his teaching,” but Massof said that he was unaware that Gosnell taught anywhere. Gosnell would often show the photographs to Massof and exclaim about the skill of the surgeons who had sewn the women’s labia together, leaving only a small opening to allow menstrual flow.
Another of the doctor’s practices that defies explanation was his habit of cutting the feet off of aborted fetuses and saving them in specimen jars in the clinic. Kareema Cross showed the Grand Jury photographs she had taken in 2008 of a closet where Gosnell stored jars containing severed feet. During the February 2010 raid, investigators were shocked to see a row of jars on a clinic shelf containing fetal parts. Ashley Baldwin testified that she saw about 30 such jars.
The next time any pro-abortion shill attempts to say that partial birth abortions are rare in this country, remember this next passage:
Gosnell routinely performed abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit.
Several of the clinic’s former staff told the Grand Jury that Gosnell performed many, many abortions beyond the legal limit in Pennsylvania – a gestational age of 24 weeks. Their testimony is confirmed by clinic files, by fetal remains found at the facility, by photographs of babies that Gosnell delivered and then killed, and by a 30-plus-weeks baby girl born dead at a hospital after Gosnell had inserted laminaria to begin a third-trimester abortion.
Steven Massof estimated that in 40 percent of the second-trimester abortions performed by Gosnell, the fetuses were beyond 24 weeks gestational age. Latosha Lewis testified that Gosnell performed procedures over 24 weeks “too much to count, ” and ones up to 26 weeks “very often.” When Lewis started working at the clinic, 20 first trimester abortions and five or six second-trimester abortions typically were performed per night. But in the last few years, she testified, Gosnell increasingly saw out-of-state referrals, which were all second-trimester, or beyond.
By these estimates, Gosnell performed at least four or five illegal abortions every week. When a detective asked the doctor what percentage of the fetuses – including the first- and second-trimester fetuses – found at the facility during the February 2010 raid were beyond 24 weeks, Gosnell himself estimated “ten or twenty percent at the most.”
The Philadelphia medical examiner analyzed the remains of 45 fetuses seized from the clinic. Of these, 16 were first-trimester; 25 were second-trimester, ranging from 12 to 21 weeks; 2 were 22 weeks; 1 was 26 weeks; and 1 was 28 weeks. The raid took place on a Thursday, so the clinic’s busiest day for late-term abortions – Saturday – was not included.
Gosnell’s former employees testified that they knew many abortions were performed beyond 24 weeks because they had performed ultrasounds that established gestational ages greater than the 24-week legal limit. When this happened, they would tell Gosnell, and he would often redo the ultrasound, or staff members would be ordered to do so, to produce a different gestational age to record in the patient’s file. Gosnell taught his employees how to manipulate the ultrasound machine to get a false reading – one that would make the fetus appear to be smaller, and younger, than it actually was.
Gosnell and his staff severed the spinal cords of viable, moving, breathing babies who were born alive. Surgical abortions in Pennsylvania, performed up to 24 weeks of gestational age, are legal. Killing living babies outside the womb is not. The neonatologist who testified before the Grand Jury defined “born alive.” According to this expert witness, the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act defines a human as “somebody who’s been completely expelled from the mother and has either a heartbeat, pulsating cord, or is moving.”
Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act defines “born alive” similarly, but adds breathing and brain wave activity as indicators of life. 18 Pa.C.S. §3203. Gosnell’s staff testified about scores of gruesome killings of such born-alive infants carried out mainly by Gosnell, but also by employees Steve Massof, Lynda Williams, and Adrienne Moton. These killings became so routine that no one could put an exact number on them. They were considered “standard procedure.” Yet some of the slaughtered were so fully formed, so much like babies that should be dressed and taken home, that even clinic employees who were accustomed to the practice were shocked.
One such baby was a boy born in July 2008 to 17-year-old we will call “Sue.” …. An ultrasound conducted by Kareema Cross recorded a gestational age of 29.4 weeks. …. Eventually, she gave birth to a large baby boy. Cross estimated that the baby was 18 to 19 inches long. She said he was nearly the size of her own six pound, six ounce, newborn daughter. ….After the baby was expelled, Cross noticed that he was breathing, though not for long. After about 10 to 20 seconds, while the mother was asleep, “the doctor just slit the neck,” said Cross. ….
Baby Boy A was among the more memorable large babies that Gosnell killed, perhaps because of the photographs, or because his teenage mother almost died too. He was not, however, the only one. Ashley Baldwin remembered Gosnell severing the neck of a baby that cried after being born. The baby had “precipitated” when the doctor was not in the clinic. Lynda Williams placed the baby in a basin on the counter where the instruments were washed and called the doctor to come.
Ashley heard the infant cry. She saw the baby move while it was on the counter. She estimated the infant was at least 12 inches long. When Gosnell arrived at the clinic, she recalled, “he snipped the neck, and said there is nothing to worry about, and he suctioned it.”
If Gosnell was absent, his employees would kill viable babies. Ashley Baldwin saw Steve Massof slit the necks of babies that moved or breathed “five or ten” times. Massof, repeating what he had been taught by Gosnell, told her that that it was standard procedure to cut the spine in all cases. Ashley testified:
- Q. These larger babies, when Dr. Steve was there, did he ever – was he ever there when any of the larger babies precipitated?
- A. Yes
- Q. Babies that would move?
- A. Yes.
- Q. So, Dr. Steve – what would Dr. Steve do with babies that moved?
- A. The same thing.
- Q. The same thing. And how many time did you see Dr. Steve?
- A. A lot. He told me that – don’t worry about it. They are not living. It is just a reaction.
Kareema Cross testified that, between 2005 and 2008, she saw Steve Massof sever the spinal cords of at least ten babies who were breathing and about five that were moving.
When Massof left the clinic in 2008, Lynda Williams took over the job of cutting baby’s necks when Gosnell was not there. Cross saw Williams slit the neck of a baby (“Baby C”) who had been moving and breathing for approximately twenty minutes. Gosnell had delivered the baby and put it on a counter while he suctioned the placenta from the mother. Williams called Cross over to look at the baby because it was breathing and moving its arms when Williams pulled on them. After playing with the baby, Williams slit its neck. When asked why Williams had killed the baby, Cross answered:
- Because the baby, I guess, because the baby was moving and breathing. And she see Dr. Gosnell do it so many times, I guess she felt, you know, she can do it. It’s okay
Adrienne Moton also killed at least one baby by cutting its spinal cord. Cross testified that a woman had delivered a large baby into the toilet before Gosnell arrived at work for the night. Cross said that the baby was moving and looked like it was swimming. Moton reached into the toilet, got the baby out and cut its neck. Cross said the baby was between 10 and 15 inches long and had a head the size of a “big pancake.” Gosnell later measured one of the baby’s feet and said that it was 24.5 weeks.
Gosnell’s illegal and unorthodox practices resulted in the birth and then killing of many viable, live babies.
Killing really had to be part of Gosnell’s plan. His method for performing late term abortions was to induce labor and delivery of intact fetuses, and he specialized in patients who were well beyond 24 weeks. Thus, the birth of live, viable babies was a natural and predictable consequence. The subsequent slitting of spinal cords, without any consideration for the babies’ viability, was an integral part of what Gosnell’s employees called his “standard procedure.”
Steve Massof described this “standard procedure.” It required the clinic’s unequipped staff to manage a clinic full of sedated patients who were thrown into full labor, and then to “deal” with whatever precipitated, including live babies – all while the doctor was at home, or jogging, or working at a clinic in Wilmington. In particular, Massof described what Gosnell expected him to do when babies precipitated in the afternoon and evening before the doctor arrived:
- A: As I mentioned earlier, Dr. Gosnell would dilate the cervix to make room for passage of the products. And with the Cytotec, softening the cervix, the outlet of the uterus, well, mother nature would take its course. Every woman is different.
- Q: What would happen?
- A: Well, the fetus would precipitate.
- Q: What do you mean?
- A: Oh, come right out, right out. Just you know, I would be called, somebody would call me and at that point what I would have to do is, I’d have to go and tend to that patient.
- Q: How would you do that? What would you do?
- A: As – well, my first – my first reaction would be is at that point it depended sometimes it happened in the waiting room, sometimes it happened in the bathroom because, you know, a woman would be pushing in the bathroom. Sometimes, you know, it happened everywhere in the clinic.
- So what I would do is, I’d make sure that when – if the fetus precipitated, the cord was cut. Also, a standard
- procedure, the cervical spine was cut, as well as make sure that there wasn’t bleeding or, in other words, the placenta came down and that’s the way – we insured less blood would be lost.
- Q: How often did this happen?
- A: More times than I really care to remember. I would have to say every week it would happen to at least 50 percent of the patients.
- Q: Fifty percent of the time?
- A: Yeah, easy, easy. That – you know, and that is how, you know, and that’s what would happen.
- Q: You said it was standard procedure to cut the – first to cut the umbilical cord?
- A: Yes.
- Q: That’s from the mother or how is that attached?
- A: Well that is from the mother to the fetus.
- Q: And where would it be? Would it still be – the placenta would still be in the mother’s uterus?
- A: Yes.
- Q: Okay.
- A: Yes. And so I would cut the attachment and you know, then the cervical portion of the spine at that point. Those were the larger patients.
- Q: So you said that was standard procedure. What do you mean when you say standard procedure?
- A: Well, that’s – that was his standard procedure.
- Q: When you say his, do you mean Gosnell?
- A: Yes.
- Q: Did he show you how to do that?
- A: Yes, he did.
- Q: When did he show you how to do that?
- A: He showed me how to do that maybe 2004, sometime within a year I started working there, that is what he did during his [second-trimester] procedures.
Tina Baldwin corroborated that this was Gosnell’s standard procedure. She explained that after a fetus was expelled, Gosnell “used to go ahead and do the suction in the back of the neck.” She saw this “hundreds” of times. Gosnell told her that this was “part of the demise.”
Gosnell’s technique of aborting pregnancies by inducing labor and delivery, while unnecessarily painful for the women, did not itself constitute a crime. What made his procedure criminal was that he routinely performed these abortions past the 24-week limit prescribed by law. Not only was this a crime in itself, it also meant that he was regularly delivering babies who had a reasonable chance of survival. Except Gosnell would not give them that chance. Pennsylvania law requires physicians to provide customary care for living babies outside the womb. Gosnell chose instead to slit their necks and store their bodies in various household containers, as if they were trash.
Although the Grand Jury learned that there is some difference of opinion as to the earliest point of viability, the experts who appeared before the Grand Jury all agreed that, by 24 weeks, organs are sufficiently developed that prognosis for survival is good. These babies can sometimes breathe on their own, though many require assistance. When a woman delivers at 24 weeks or later in a responsible medical setting, such assistance is provided, and resuscitation of the baby is routine. Indeed, a doctor’s failure to provide assistance constitutes infanticide under Pennsylvania law.
Gosnell’s intent to never resuscitate was obvious from his failure to employ even minimally qualified personnel or to have the equipment necessary to save the lives of newborn infants. The policy he instituted and carried out was not to try to revive live, viable babies. It was to kill them.
Gosnell severed spinal cords and suctioned and crushed skulls after the babies were fully delivered.
At one point in his Grand Jury testimony, Steve Massof tried to suggest that the clinic’s practice of cutting babies’ spinal cords was somehow part of a late-term procedure called intact dilation and extraction (IDX), commonly referred to as “partial birth abortion” and banned under federal law since 2007. In an intact dilation and extraction, which was used most often to abort pregnancies beyond 17 weeks, the fetus was removed from the uterus as a whole. In order for the head to pass through the cervix without damage to the mother, the doctor would collapse the fetal skull by making an incision at the base of the neck and suctioning the contents. This procedure was done while the baby was still inside the mother.
This was not the procedure Gosnell used. Under further questioning, Massof acknowledged that Gosnell and he almost always cut the spinal cords, and sometimes suctioned skulls as well, after the babies were fully expelled by their mothers, when there was clearly no need or medical reason to collapse the skull.
Tina Baldwin’s testimony also made it clear that Gosnell was not cutting spinal cords, crushing babies’ skulls, or suctioning in order to allow the head to pass through the cervix. Even while claiming that Gosnell sometimes suctioned a fetus’s skull in order to get it through the birth canal, her description of his technique belied her claim: She said that he would “crack” the neck after the head was out – when only the baby’s torso was still inside the mother – and then suction the brain matter out. Tina Baldwin tried to explain:
- Q: He was delivering, for lack of a better word –
- A: Yes.
- Q: — a fetus?
- A: Yeah.
- Q: And then he was taking care of the problem after the fact?
- A: Yes.
- Q: Did you see him do this in instances where the fetus had been completely expelled from the mother’s body before he crushed the head?
- A: And then he crushed it.
- Q: and then he crushed it. I mean I guess you just told the members of the jury about episodes where he would leave the shoulders or –
- A: Uh-huh.
- Q: — the shoulders would be out?
- A: The shoulders would be out, yeah
- Q: And he would go work on the neck, you said he would crush the neck and suction the head?
- A: Uh-huh.
- Q: Did you ever see instances where the fetus was completely expelled from its mother’s body?
- A: Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s what we call precipitation.
- Q: What do you mean by that? Tell the members of the jury, what would happen?
- A: That’s when a patient would precipitate. Usually by the Cytotec that was given to the patient and it just made the uterus so flimsy to where the baby just falls and we had a lot of patients that was second-trimester, it would just fall wherever she was at. And it was picked up and it was put in a dish and it just traveled with the mother. And then the person put the mother up on the table, the baby was put inside the – in the dish on the table and the doctor was called to come in.
- Q: And then what would the doctor do when he came in?
- A: Let me think back then. Usually he would check and see, check on the fetus and then I think that’s when he used to go ahead and do the suction in the back of the neck.
- Q: Even though the fetuses had already been removed from their mother?
- A: Yeah, they had already been removed. He would just go ahead and finish it.
- Q: Would he explain to you why he did that?
- A: No.
- Q: Or why that was his practice?
- A: No.
- Q: Did you ever question it?
- A: No.
- Q: Okay, how many times would you say you’ve seen this?
- A: Hundreds. I’ve seen hundreds. . . .
The Grand Jury Report makes quite clear that quite a few complaints were filed against Gosnell over the years. He remained open because the policy of the state of Pennsylvania was to do nothing to stop Gosnell because of a reluctance to in any way regulate abortion.
We discovered that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.
The State Legislature has charged the Department of Health (DOH) with responsibility for writing and enforcing regulations to protect health and safety in abortion clinics as well as in hospitals and other health care facilities. Yet a significant difference exists between how DOH monitors abortion clinics and how it monitors facilities where other medical procedures are performed.
Indeed, the department has shown an utter disregard both for the safety of women who seek treatment at abortion clinics and for the health of fetuses after they have become viable. State health officials have also shown a disregard for the laws the department is supposed to enforce. Most appalling of all, the Department of Health’s neglect of abortion patients’ safety and of Pennsylvania laws is clearly not inadvertent: It is by design.
Many organizations that perform safe abortion procedures do their own monitoring and adhere to strict, self-imposed standards of quality. But the excellent safety records and the quality of care that these independently monitored clinics deliver to patients are no thanks to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. And not all women seeking abortion find their way to these high-quality facilities; some end up in a filthy, dangerous clinic such as Gosnell’s. There the patients have to depend on DOH oversight to protect them – as do babies born alive, and helpless but viable fetuses after 24 weeks of gestation. Yet no protection is forthcoming.
State health officials knew that Gosnell and his clinic were offering unacceptable medical care to women and girls, yet DOH failed to take any action to stop the atrocities documented by this Grand Jury. These officials were far more protective of themselves when they testified before the Grand Jury. Even DOH lawyers, including the chief counsel, brought private attorneys with them – presumably at government expense.
Gosnell’s clinic – with its untrained staff, its unsanitary conditions and practices, its perilously lax anesthesia protocols, its willingness to perform late-term abortions for exorbitant amounts of cash, and its routine procedure of killing babies after they were delivered by their unconscious mothers – offers a telling example of how horrendous a Pennsylvania facility can be and still operate with DOH “approval.”
In the days of the struggle against slavery, a great many people were “personally opposed” to men, women and children being held as chattels, but they would do nothing against the institution. They tried to ignore it, not to think about it, and they jeered at those tiresome abolitionists who kept bringing it up. However, stories would sometimes break through that would force these people to confront the reality of slavery, and many of them found it truly appalling. Kermit Gosnell’s case is forcing a great many people who try not to think about the reality of abortion, to confront the simple fact that an innocent child dies in every abortion. Gosnell is a mirror of what we are becoming as a people over the past four decades of legalized abortion. It is no wonder that the abortion uber alles Mainstream Media attempted to spike this story.