A powerful confluence of stories, speeches, and videos today helped remind me why the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell is so very, very important.
A number of pro-life Members of the U.S. House of Representatives took to the floor today to lament the tragedies that took place at Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” and to criticize the media for the near-total absence of coverage of a case where both sides have now rested.
The speeches, though brief, were powerful. There are a lot of people who watch the House on C-SPAN and my guess is that a lot of them heard about Gosnell’s murder trial for the first time. As one Member put it, she rose to “raise awareness about the atrocities.”
Most of the sparse media coverage dealt with the murders of seven unborn babies who were aborted alive and then allegedly killed when their spinal cords were split. (The judge threw out three of the first-degree charges, but four remain for the jury of 7 women and 5 men to ponder.)
But there is also 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar who died, according to prosecutors, when Gosnell’s unqualified staff gave her an overdose of Demerol and other pain killers in 2009. Gosnell is charged with third degree murder in her death.
If you hadn’t read the Grand Jury report (and kept up with the coverage in NRL News Today), you wouldn’t know that the Grand Jury that excoriated Gosnell and the Health Bureaucracy in Pennsylvania wrote extensively about another woman who died at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society.
Yesterday and today we ran excerpts from the Grand Jury’s report that deal with the death of 22-year-old Semika Shaw. “On October 9, 2002, the Professional Underwriters Liability Insurance Company reported to the State Board of Medicine that it had paid a $400,000 settlement to the family of Semika Shaw, the 22-year-old mother of two who died following an abortion procedure at Gosnell’s clinic in March 2000.” More specifically, she “died from infection and sepsis two days after Gosnell perforated her uterus and cervix during an abortion procedure,” according to the report. “
If you read today’s and yesterday’s excerpts, it’s obvious that those who should have investigated her death hardly took a glance. The headline of a section in the report reprinted today ties Ms. Shaw’s death together with what the Grand Jury called Gosnell’s “crime spree that he called a medical practice”: “Before Department of State prosecutors decided not to investigate the 22-year-old patient’s death, they had been told of Gosnell’s many illegal practices.”
As I was looking for something else today, I saw for the first time the statement Pennsylvania State Rep. Margo Davidson made. She was the only African-America to vote in favor of HB 574, a long-overdue bill to require that abortion clinics meet the same safety standards as ambulatory surgical facilities.
She explained she was supporting HB 574 on behalf of her cousin, Semika Shaw, “who was killed at the Gosnell clinic.” She learned of her death when Davidson was asked to eulogize Ms. Shaw.
After her voted in favor, voice breaking, Davidson began by saying, “I believe that I am the only member of this house that was directly touched by the tragedy at the Gosnell clinic.” She ended her brief remarks this way:
“Today I honor her memory by voting yes on this legislation, that seeks to safeguard the health of women, that is long overdue, so that never again will a woman walk into a licensed health care facility in the State of Pennsylvania and be butchered as she was–with her uterus perforated and her death of sepsis and infection, permeating in her body, till she writhed in pain on the floor of her home, to her ultimate death.
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“Today I thank the members of this House that supported this legislation for the safety of women.”
As I listened to Rep. Davidson, I thought back to the comments earlier this week of Gosnell’s attorney. Jack McMahon said Gosnell could not be convicted of third degree murder in the death of Mrs. Mongar because that requires malice, or “conscious disregard” for her particular life.
McMahon said, “She wasn’t treated any differently than any of the other thousands of other people who went through there.”
Truer words were never spoken.
LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. He writes NRL News Today — an online column on pro-life issues.