Remains of the Judgement
A jury began deliberations Tuesday in the grisly murder trial of Kermit Gosnell, the 72-year-old Philadelphia abortion doctor accused of murdering four live fetuses by "snipping" their spinal cords after botched abortions. Over seven weeks of stomach-turning testimony, witnesses for the prosecution detailed Gosnell's "house of horrors," a clinic in which venereal diseases were spread through dirty instruments, feral cats roamed around operating rooms, and fetuses were stashed in empty juice cartons and shoeboxes.
According to the prosecution, these atrocities went undetected by state health inspectors, who visited the clinic just three times, and unreported by other abortion providers, who knew of Gosnell's reputation and even visited the clinic.
The case has predictably inflamed passions on both sides of the abortion debate, both for its horrific content and for the potential policy implications that the trial could have on abortion rights.
To anti-abortion activists, the trial and its gruesome details have presented a rare opportunity to dislodge entrenched positions in the abortion debate. While polling shows that a majority of Americans support legal abortions, those same surveys show that most Americans also believe that late-term abortions — the central issue of the Gosnell trial — should be banned.
“Kermit Gosnell’s horrifying crimes are proof positive that babies are in fact born alive during failed abortions,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a recent statement. "What is the difference between killing a baby minutes before delivery compared to moments after? Only the barest of legal nuances."
Seizing on this public squeamishness with late-term abortions, pro-life activists have used the Gosnell case to draw attention to make an aggressive push for new abortion regulations at the state and federal level.
"The fact that this facility existed is not surprising to me — I'm glad that he was caught, but I'm worried that other clinics are also going uninspected, not only in Pennsylvania but in other states," said Anna Higgins, director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Dignity.
"The reason is that we have governments that refuse to hold abortion clinics to the same standards as any other medical clinic," Higgins added. "We need to make sure that not only are regulations passed, but that they are enforced. If that means that abortion clinics need to meet these standards, than that's what needs to happen."
In the past three weeks alone, anti-abortion groups have used the grisly details to rally support for new abortion clinic regulations in Virginia, renew momentum for a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks in Washington, D.C., and draw attention to unsafe conditions at Planned Parenthood clinics in other states.
On Sunday — one day before the closing arguments in the Gosnell trial — the anti-abortion group Live Action released secretly-taped videos of staff members at two East Coast abortion clinics making alarming comments about late-term abortion. (The validity of these videos has since been called into question.)
The public backlash against Gosnell — and late-term abortions in general — has put pro-choice activists on defense.
They claim, correctly, that late-term abortions (beyond 20 weeks) are extremely rare, accounting for just 1 percent of the procedures performed in the U.S. And they argue that Gosnell is a criminal outlier in what is otherwise a safe and legitimate medical field.
Moreover, pro-choice activists fear that further regulations on abortion clinics will further marginalize the procedure, forcing poor and disadvantaged women to seek out back-alley providers like Gosnell.
"It may seem counterintuitive, but these laws are actually pushing women into the hands of Gosnell," said Jessica Arons, director of the Women's Health and Rights program at the Center for American Progress. "They are driving up the cost of abortion and they are driving legitimate abortion providers out of business."
"No one is saying that there should never be an inspection of a clinic, that there should never be oversight by the state," Arons added. "But the solution is not to treat abortion care as different from other types of health care."
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/kermit-gosnell-abortion-ban-pro-life-2013-4#ixzz2SH00Rhe2
Some details about Gosnell's clinic:
- Extreme unsanitary conditions, including STDs, septic (unsterile) conditions, blood and animal feces and urine and other noxious fluids and waste, and months-old fetal remains stored in "jars, bags and jugs";[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:1-2, 236-238[/SUP] (In 2013 the trial heard that Gosnell had also been in dispute with his medical waste company, with the latter stopping their services.[SUP][/SUP])
- Surgical malpractice including perforation of bodily organs and "on at least two occasions" death;[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:1[/SUP]
- Improper equipment and usage, including repeated reuse ("over and over") of disposable supplies, and "generally broken" life-saving and monitoring equipment (including blood pressure monitoring, oximeters, and defibrillators);[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:2[/SUP]
- Padlocked emergency access and exit routes;[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:2[/SUP]
- Lack of properly trained staff, "bogus doctors"[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:242[/SUP] — unqualified, unlicensed and unsupervised staff who misrepresented themselves to patients as qualified licensed clinicians — and no qualified nurses.[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:2, 24, 238-242[/SUP] The jury reported that "Most of Gosnell’s employees who worked with patients had little or no remotely relevant training or education".[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:32[/SUP] (Ex-employee Marcella Choung, who in 2001 and at interview in 2002 gave a detailed written complaint to the Pennsylvania Department of State, testified that her 'training' for anesthesia consisted of "a 15-minute description by Gosnell and reading a chart he had posted in a cabinet."[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:52[/SUP])
- Gosnell himself was largely absent and left the clinic to be operated by his unqualified employees, whom he sometimes "ordered" to perform medical actions even if they "protested" that they were unqualified. Employees testified they had to rely on themselves, as "Gosnell disliked it when workers disturbed him by calling for medication advice";[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:2-3, 38, 51, 242[/SUP]
- Operation of a "prescription treadmill" whereby blank signed prescriptions would be left for those seeking controlled medications, unsupervised and uncontrolled by a practitioner (which was the subject of a parallel and separate Federal investigation);[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:2[/SUP]
- Willful non-compliance with laws intended to safeguard vulnerable women, including non-compliance with requirements for mandatory counseling, consent (for minors), waiting periods (between visiting and surgery);[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:3, 235-236[/SUP]
- Fraudulent temporary employment of a nurse for 4 days during an NAF inspection, with the aim of deceiving the inspectors into believing that his practice staff included a licensed registered nurse (which it did not), over the few days of their on-site review - the nurse resigned upon realizing the fraud, which also involved Gosnell taking her paycheck back afterwards and paying her in cash instead;[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:91-92[/SUP]
- Fraudulent recording of gestational age and training of staff to manipulate ultrasound in a way that would match the stated number of weeks;[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:3-4, 232-235[/SUP]
- Dishonest statements by Gosnell and employees to investigators, including claims that Ms. Mongar's death was due to her own action (discredited forensically), falsification and destruction of records, and lying about the manner of her death and Gosnell's (lack of) presence for anesthesia;[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:230-232[/SUP]
- Patients given labor and delivery inducing drugs during the day, then left waiting until late evening for Gosnell to attend or for surgery.[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:4[/SUP] Many gave birth during the day as a result, and employees testified "it was standard procedure for women to deliver fetuses – and viable babies – into toilets" while waiting for his arrival.[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:4,64[/SUP]
- Practice staff routinely delivered living babies in the third trimester, subsequently killing them (or ensuring their death).[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:1[/SUP] As part of this, fetuses and babies had their demise "ensured" post operatively by severing of the spinal cord with scissors, known by staff as "snipping". Most of these were deemed infeasible to prosecute because files and other evidence were not held, although the report stipulates they numbered in the "hundreds". Among the "few cases" where tangible evidence existed, the jury noted a boy aged 30 weeks at 6 pounds, a frozen body in a water container of "at least" 28 weeks, remains of at least one abortion of over 32 weeks for which an extra $1000 had been demanded, and testimony of a baby heard to make noise, and a baby left "moving and breathing for at least 20 minutes" prior to "snipping". The jury heard testimony about "special" Sunday sessions, at which only Gosnell and his wife were present, which they suspected (and in some cases were able to corroborate) would include cases that were more advanced in time, or more disturbing;[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:5-6, 26, 223-228, 234[/SUP]
- Over time Gosnell and his practice acquired a "bad reputation" and during the decade 2000-2009 local community organizations ceased referring patients there. To compensate the practice took on referrals from other in-state cities; it became understood that Gosnell's center would perform abortions "at any stage, without regard for legal limits";[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:26-27[/SUP]
- Where induced labor failed, Dr Gosnell would attempt to abort surgically, "often calamitous[ly]" for the woman involved. Example outcomes included:[SUP][/SUP][SUP]:5-8, 66-69[/SUP]
- Woman "left lying in place for hours after Gosnell tore her cervix and colon", relatives called police after entrance refused, remedial colon surgery required
- Woman sent home with fetal remains unremoved, "serious infection" led to near death
- Punctured uterus leading to shock from blood loss and hysterectomy, woman "held for hours" by the practice
- Patient suffered "convulsions" and fell off the operating table sustaining a head injury, Gosnell "wouldn’t call an ambulance, and wouldn’t let the woman’s companion leave the building so that he could call an ambulance"
- Sedation used to mute sounds of pain, Gosnell specified pre-set amounts of drugs for non-physician staff to use on patients, but without reference to individual needs, and without records or monitoring of condition. On numerous occasions the same patient was dosed multiple times in quick succession by different employees;[SUP][/SUP]
- Death of Karnamaya Mongar, who received "repeated unmonitored, unrecorded intravenous injections of Demerol" (meperidine hydrochloride, an opioid analgesic which the report describes practice staff using as a cheap but dangerous sedative), and ceased breathing. Staff were unable to revive her (emergency medications were not used and the defibrillator was not working), and paramedics were unable to revive her after gaining access, in part because they were deceived by staff as to what had happened and the drugs and dosages responsible
This guy has been doing this for decades and has killed more humans than anyone in our nations history combined, and yet I have yet to hear anything about this on the mainstream media. Pretty amazing. The decision should be made sometime this weekend by the jury. It makes me sick that any man could do the atrocities that are detailed in this Grand Jury Report, and I hate to say it, but this feels to me like the heart of the "Pro-Choice" movement in America. I hope that even the staunchest Pro-Choice advocate cannot defend this man.