I’m writing this grisly column because my news junkie brother did not recognize the name “Kermit Gosnell” when I used it in conversation the other day.
I’m writing this column to give voice to the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of tiny victims for whom no one is calling press conferences, making Facebook memes asking for prayers, or starting a national conversation about the policies that lead to the tragedy.
Kermit Gosnell is an abortion provider on trial in Philadelphia. The names of the crimes for which he is charged do not do justice to the depravity quietly allowed to continue for more than a decade in Philadelphia.
Gosnell is charged with seven murders along with a myriad of other offenses including corruption of a minor.
Gosnell fully delivered live infants, inserted scissors into the backs of their necks, and snipped their spinal cords. The 281-page grand jury report has pictures of delicate bodies with tiny incisions in the back of their necks.
Before performing his services, Gosnell took pictures of the women’s genitals. He told his staff that he was conducting research. He cut off the feet of fetuses (and likely infants) and preserved them in jars that were stored in the open. This was also in the name of research. And yes, you can see pictures in the grand jury report.
Gosnell provided his services in a clinic in which the medical equipment was not cleaned. There are surgical beds streaked with blood and rusty metallic medical equipment. The report has pictures of filthy equipment, too.
When officials finally and mercifully raided the clinic in 2010, they found flea-infested cats living at the clinic.
Meanwhile, at least one member of the staff who performed medical services – sometimes without gloves, has hepatitis C.
In order to perform very late term, and illegal in Pennsylvania abortions, women would come to the clinic and his untrained staff, including a 15-year-old girl would begin the process of dilating cervixes. When one woman, in her 30th week of pregnancy, changed her mind after the process began, Gosnell refused to stop the process. She instead went to the hospital where she delivered a healthy baby.
That 15-year-old girl, now 20, was responsible for providing anesthetic to patients. The grand jury reports contains pictures of the hand-printed charts she developed to keep track of the drugs she gave to patients.
A fatal anesthetic drug overdose killed 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar. Or as the report puts it, “Repeated injections of strong narcotics administered in accordance with standard procedures, killed Mrs. Mongar.”
Gosnell treated black and poor women differently than his wealthier clients. He didn’t meet with poor, minority women before their procedures. He met personally with white suburban clients in the only clean office in the place.
When women in pain screamed, he would slap them before giving them additional anesthetic to shut them up.
He told earlier-term pregnant woman that they were later along so he could charge them more. He taught his staff to do sonograms to make later-term pregnancies appear earlier. It’s illegal in Pennsylvania to perform an abortion on a fetus older than 24 weeks.
Law enforcement also found aborted bodies kept in the freezer and stacked up in the clinic basement.
The crimes are abominable, but they aren’t my sleepless nights.
Instead, it’s that hundreds of people — including patients fortunate enough to walk out of there alive, staffers, bureaucrats and medical staff at other hospitals who treated the aftermath of Gosnell’s efforts – knew something was dramatically wrong at Gosnell’s clinic.
And yet, his clinic operated for decades.
“Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it,” the grand jury report reads. “Gosnell spent almost four decades running this clinic, giving back – so it appeared – to the community in which he continued to live and work. But the truth was something very different, and evident to anyone who stepped inside.”
The grand jury devoted more than 40 pages to the state’s neglect.
• The state department of health neglected its duty to ensure the health and safety of patients in Pennsylvania’s abortion clinics
• The Department of Health conducted sporadic, inadequate inspections for 13 years and then none at all between 1993 and 2010.
• The state Department of Health failed toinvestigate Gosnell’s clinic even in response to complaints.
• Not even Karnamaya Mongar’s death triggered an inspection or investigation.
• Pennsylvania’s abortion regulations, written by the Department of Health, are totally inadequate to protect the health and safety of women at abortion clinics.
It goes on and on and on.
Unfortunately, very few people are talking about the Gosnell trial, in part, because it raises uncomfortable questions about this country’s lax abortion policies, and it’s brutal, take-no-prisoners abortion politics.
The truth is often uncomfortable. And those who speak it will be mocked and called names for expressing their opinions. But know that by speaking out against the horrors of abortion and especially of that clinic in particular, you are encouraging other like-minded individuals to do the same.
If pro-life people want to change the culture, we have to speak up. That’s why I’m writing this column.
Evil triumphed in Pennsylvania, because good people did and or said nothing.