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Horrors at an abortion clinic went ignored


This column contains material that is difficult to read.

gosnell6Dr. Kermit Gosnell's former Philadelphia facility, the Women's Medical Society, was the scene of untold horrors for many years, involving hundreds of babies being killed after being aborted alive.

This column contains material that is difficult to read.  But for a long time it was difficult even to find material to read about the story, as major media outlets tried mightily to ignore the story of America's most prolific killer.

That may change now that "Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer" has been released in more than 600 movie theatres.  It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Let me explain, with apologies for the details.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell owned and operated the Women's Medical Society clinic in Philadelphia.  Well known for providing grisly lateterm abortions, the Gosnell clinic was actually raided in 2010 by the police on suspicion of illegal use of prescription drugs.  They found an unsanitary, blood-stained, cat-infested "house of horrors" in which women were found suffering various degrees of malpractice by unlicensed and unqualified personnel.  Fetal remains from late-term abortions were found in jars, in milk bags, in cat-food containers.  The severed feet of dozens of fetal corpses were preserved.

In 2011, Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder in addition to hundreds of violations of Pennsylvania's abortion laws.  The murder charges related to an adult woman, Karnamaya Mongar, who died following an abortion procedure, and seven newborns killed by having their spinal cords severed with scissors after being born alive during attempted abortions.  In the May 2013 trial, prosecutors focused on fewer charges to obtain the necessary convictions to send Gosnell away for life.  He was convicted of murder (first degree) for three of the infants, and manslaughter for Mongar.  Gosnell is in prison for life, having waived his right to appeal in order to avoid the death penalty.

But what was introduced at trial was only the bloody tip of a massive iceberg of killing.  An unlicensed physician at the clinic, Steven Massof, 49, pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree murder, murder conspiracy and other charges before Gosnell's trial.  He testified to a grand jury that he snipped the spines of more than 100 babies after seeing them breathe, move or show other signs of life.

"Severing the spinal cords of moving, breathing babies outside their mothers' wombs was, according to Massof, 'standard procedure'," reported the grand jury.

"Partial-birth" abortion is infanticide by another name.  "After-birth" abortion is infanticide, homicide, murder, pure and simple.  And it took place on a massive scale at the Gosnell clinic.

How then did America's most prolific serial killer get away with it for so long?  Therein lies a tale about regulators, the medical profession, police and journalists.

Gosnell had been sued dozens of times over more than three decades.  Detailed complaints on several occasions had been made to state regulators.  His clinic was found in violation by the state department of health as early as 1989.  But despite mountains of evidence that would have shut down an orthopedic practice overnight, Gosnell was allowed to operate, with abortion politics providing cover.  It went right to the top, with the grand jury finding Gov.  Tom Ridge's office responsible for regulators looking the other way, or not bothering to look at all.  That Gosnell preyed upon the poor made it easier for his victims to be ignored.

Abortion politics had corrupted the news media. 

The police and prosecutors seemed deliberately lethargic, if not negligent, in following up deaths of women at the clinic, at least one of which resulted in a civil settlement.  It was, after all, a Drug Enforcement Agency investigation that finally brought Gosnell down for illegal prescriptions.  Had it not been for the DEA, Philadelphia police may have waited for the Internal Revenue Service to do its work for them.

Then came the trial.  By all accounts it should have been a notorious story locally, if not nationally.  But the major news media gave it a pass.  Only after a shaming campaign on social media built pressure on the major networks and newspapers did the Gosnell story get some of the coverage it deserved.

Abortion politics had corrupted the news media.  While a graphic sign outside an abortion clinic merits a disapproving story — to say nothing of violence at abortion clinics — the dismemberment of hundreds of babies born alive was treated as a non-story, unhelpful to the abortion cause.

And while Hollywood is eager to make movies about serial killers, the producers of the Gosnell film could not get the film financed.  It got made only after a crowdfunding campaign raised the necessary US$2.1 million, normally chump change in the movie business.

The Gosnell story is difficult to tell.  But that was not the reason that so many tried not to tell it.  Will its cinematic telling now also be ignored?





NationalPost Father Raymond J. de Souza, "Horrors at an abortion clinic went ignored." National Post  (October 16, 2018).

Reprinted by permission of the National Post.

The Author

desouza Father Raymond J. de Souza is chaplain to Newman House, the Roman Catholic mission at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Convivium and a Cardus senior fellow, in addition to writing for the National Post and The Catholic Register. Father de Souza is on the advisory board of the Catholic Education Resource Center.

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