During the murder trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, jurors heard grisly tales about the bodies of the aborted babies he kept. But the most gruesome story may involve a 28-week baby Gosnell killed and kept.
Joseph Slobodzian, a staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, has more on the story and how it set off a firestorm between prosecutors and Gosnell’s lawyer.
His passing went unnoticed and undocumented, but on Monday, prosecution and defense lawyers struggled to get Philadelphia’s chief medical examiner to say whether he was stillborn or killed by Gosnell after being born alive during an abortion.
“Based on the totality of the evidence . . . you cannot testify to anyone that this fetus was born alive?” Gosnell lawyer Jack McMahon asked Medical Examiner Sam Gulino.
“No I cannot,” replied Gulino.
Then Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron flipped around McMahon’s question: “Can you think of any reason why the neck was severed if that baby was not born alive?”
Again, Gulino agreed. McMahon tried to salvage his first answer, only to be interrupted by Cameron.
McMahon exploded in anger, but was topped by Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart.
“Mr. McMahon, behave yourself!” yelled Minehart. “Act like a lawyer.”
McMahon, who once worked with Minehart and Cameron in the District Attorney’s Office, sat down, seething, and said nothing more.
Gulino testified about the difficult task of examining the remains of 47 frozen fetuses discovered in Gosnell’s clinic during a Feb. 18, 2010, raid by a federal-state prescription drug-abuse task force.
Gulino called it “unprecedented.”
“This was something that in 15 to 16 years . . . I had never been asked to do,” Gulino testified.
“There was no guidance on how to proceed,” Gulino testified, adding that he asked fellow coroners, medical examiners, and forensic pathologists, who were as stumped as he.
Gulino said he finally opened the red and blue plastic bags from Gosnell’s freezer, tagged the remains, and slowly let them thaw, to minimize decomposition.
The 47 aborted fetuses ranged in age from 12 weeks – the end of the first trimester – to late second trimester, and included two that looked beyond the 24-week limit for legal abortions in Pennsylvania.
With these kinds of horrors, why would the mainstream media take so long to report on the Gosnell murder trial? The editors at National Review have an answer: because reporters are not pro-life and don’t appreciate the gravity of the situation.
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“Television networks and major newspapers have been slow to cover this case; they are turning to it only now, after having been browbeaten by pro-life critics. The defense some journalists are making for ignoring the story — that conservative media outlets have paid it little attention either — is both false (we have given it plenty of coverage) and rather damning (the Washington Post may not be what it once was, but surely it has a few more resources to deploy than does NR),” they write. “Another defense, that the story is too disgusting for reporters or the news-consuming public, would have weight if nobody had covered, for example, the Sandusky crimes.”
“One obvious explanation for the media’s silence is that most reporters favor legal abortion, and this story is uncomfortable for that side of the abortion debate. People who are “pro-choice,” especially, don’t want to think about it. The unconvincing spin from the most devoted supporters of the abortion license is that the Gosnell case shows that abortion law needs to be liberalized further: If Pennsylvania not only refrained from enforcing its late-term abortion law but also took it off the books, none of this would have happened,” they add.
But most reporters fall in line with the position taken by President Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood — abortion legal for any reason throughout pregnancy.
In 1995, Stanley Rothman and Amy Black polled the news media elite – nearly all of the media elite (97 percent) agreed that “it is a woman’s right to decide whether or not to have an abortion,” and five out of six (84 percent) agreed strongly.
A 1992 Media Studies Journal poll found more than half of journalists (51%) said abortion should be “legal under any circumstances,” compared to just 4 percent who thought abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances.”
Back to the trial, another abortion practitioner that even his horrific “snipping” procedure for killing babies in abortions/infanticides didn’t necessarily end their lives.
Gosnell’s defense lawyer, Jack McMahon, claims none of the babies were born alive but were dead before birth due to a lethal drug injection and that Gosnell and his staff “snipped” their necks after “birth.” McMahon claims no babies were ever killed in the gruesome abortion process, which involved “snipping” the spinal cords of the children by jabbing medical scissors into the backs of their necks, because the babies were supposedly already dead.
That’s not what two staffers for Gosnell admitted in court — with one saying she heard a baby scream and another saying the baby “jumped” when the newborn was stabbed in the neck with the scissors.
McMahon is attempting to get the jury to buy a story that Gosnell used a drug called Digoxin to kill the baby in utero and then to deliver a dead child. He claims Gosnell just wanted to “snip” the spinal cords to ensure the baby was dead already. The Gosnell staffer admitted that’s what the abortion practitioner told her he was doing.
Although the defense attorney claimed the babies were dead and that jabbing them in the neck with scissors was needed to make sure that was the case, Gosnell staffers also told the court one at least two occasions that the babies were not dead when their necks were stabbed.
However expert witnesses testified there was no medical reason for Gosnell to cut the spines of aborted fetuses.
Determining if the children were alive or dead at the time their spinal cords were “snipped” is crucial to prosecuting Gosnell and his staff.
Gosnell faces 43 criminal counts, including eight counts of murder in the death of one patient, Karnamaya Monger, and seven newborn infants. Additional charges include conspiracy, drug delivery resulting in death, infanticide, corruption of minors, evidence tampering, theft by deception, abuse of corpse, and corruption. Gosnell could face the death penalty if convicted and he faces a mandatory minimum 20 years.
The trial of the abortion practitioner has been so gruesome and vivid in its accounts of the late-term and live-birth abortions that it has shocked the conscience of the nation, despite a relative lack of media coverage outside of local media and conservative and pro-life news outlets.
Gosnell, whose squalid “house of horrors” abortion clinic has surprised even investigative officials, has had almost flippant attitude toward his macabre abortion practices shocked the nation.
“The Gosnell case is a watershed moment for the issue of abortion,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “The discovery of his horrific practices helped shed light on an abortion industry that has run amok without oversight or accountability for decades, and has prompted significant changes in abortion laws and attitudes toward enforcement in several states.”
Previously, Gosnell’s wife Pearl pleaded guilty to assisting her husband at his Philadelphia abortion center where he killed a woman in a botched abortion and has killed hundreds of babies in abortion-infanticides.
Pearl Gosnell was considering a plea deal similar to the one several of Gosnell’s former abortion center employees have made where they have pleaded guilty to receive a lesser sentence in exchange for testifying against Gosnell. Pearl also worked at the abortion center Gosnell ran that had him kill and injure women in failed abortions and kill perhaps hundreds of babies in grisly infanticides by birthing them and “snipping” their spinal cords.
She worked at the Women’s Medical Society abortion business her husband ran as a full-time medical assistant from 1982 until she married Kermit Gosnell in 1990, when she switched to only working on Sundays. At that time, the abortion business was officially closed but would do its latest-term abortions possible.
The grand jury report indicates Pearl Gosnell testified that she alone helped Kermit do abortions on Sundays when she would “help do the instruments” in the operating room despite no medical training.
Previously, Judge Lerner ruled two other former employees, Eileen O’Neill and Madeline Joe, are not allowed to have their cases separated from that of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Neither O’Neill nor Joe are charged with killing babies in infanticides and, although their attorneys argued the horrifying allegations against Gosnell could unfairly taint their cases, they were not allowed to plead guilty in deals as was the case with six other former employees.
The murder charges also came in connection with the botched abortion death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died at Gosnell’s abortion clinic after a failed abortion. Mongar died November 20, 2009, after overdosing on anesthetics prescribed by the doctor. Mongar’s family filed a lawsuit against Gosnell’s abortion business seeking damages.
Gosnell and several staffers at his abortion center, including Pearl, were arrested in January after a grand jury indicted them on multiple charges after officials raided his abortion business following a woman’s death and discovered a “shop of horrors” filled with bags of bodies and body parts of deceased unborn children and babies killed in infanticides. Pearl Gosnell, Kermit’s 49-year-old wife who has no medical license, faces a charge of providing an abortion at 24 or more weeks and conspiracy and other charges.
Authorities searching the facility last year found bags and bottles holding aborted babies scattered around the building, jars containing babies’ severed feet lining a shelf, as well as filthy, unsanitary furniture and equipment.
Gosnell’s abortion center was inspected only after a federal drug raid in 2010. It was the first time the facility had been inspected in 17 years because state officials ignored complaints and failed to visit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society for years.
The abortion industry has been forced to suspend two abortion businesses that employed embattled abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who has been the subject of national controversy over his abortion business in Philadelphia.
Following revelations that Gosnell is associated with two other abortion centers in Louisiana and Delaware, the National Abortion Federation made the decision to suspend the memberships of both. Atlantic Women’s Medical Services, the Delaware abortion business that employed Gosnell one day a week to do abortions, and the Delta Clinic abortion center of Baton Rouge, have both had their memberships suspended. Leroy Brinkley owns both abortion businesses. Atlantic operates abortion centers in Wilmington and Dover.