Grand Jury to Probe Abortion Practitioner Who Killed Woman in Failed Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 11, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Grand Jury to Probe Abortion Practitioner Who Killed Woman in Failed Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 11
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — A grand jury will probe Pennsylvania-based abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who is responsible for killing a woman in a botched legal abortion last November. Authorities have been probing the Women’s Medical Society after an abortion patient died in what is the latest problem at Gosnell’s facility.

Last week, a representative of the District Attorney’s office confirmed that a grand jury has begun to investigate the 69-year-old abortion center owner.

His medical license was suspended after officials investigating the November abortion-related death of Karnamay Mongar found a virtual "shop of horrors" at Gosnell’s West Philadelphia abortion business.

Authorities found filthy and deplorable conditions along with a collection of aborted babies dating back 30 years.

The grand jury investigation means criminal charges could soon be filed against Gosnell related to illegal distribution of controlled substances, having unlicensed employees, not following the law when doing abortions, and other charges.

Massive amounts of drugs found in the victim’s system led authorities to suspect Gosnell was illegally prescribing pain-killers. He temporarily lost his medical license in both Pennsylvania and neighboring Delaware.

But William Brennan, Gosnell’s attorney, told the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper that a grand jury’s involvement with a case "usually means the commonwealth doesn’t feel they have strong enough evidence to proceed."

Yet, Gosnell faces other discipline for his part in the abortion death.

On May 20, he will face a disciplinary hearing before the state Board of Medicine, which will decide whether to permanently revoke his medical license and close his abortion center for good.

Since the Gosnell case became public, other women who suffered horrific abortion experiences with Gosnell have come forward to tell their stories.

Operation Rescue president Troy Newman told today that Gosnell is not the exception but the rule when it comes to problems at abortion facilities.

"As shocking as the Gosnell case is, it should be remembered that he is not the exception to the rule, but is an example of what one can expect to find at abortion clinics across the country. A lack of willingness to enforce the law is the biggest obstacle to insuring that the public is protected from unscrupulous and dangerous abortionists," he said.

"The Gosnell case is also an example of what can be done when the authorities are motivated to enforce the law," Newman added.

"Suspending Gosnell’s medical license has likely saved other women from suffering perhaps the same fate as Karnamay Mongar. This should motivate authorities to investigate abortion clinics in every state," he said.

In March, the Pennsylvania Department of Health found the abortion center had violated more than a dozen health and safety laws ranging from a lack of equipment and drugs for emergency resuscitation to not having a way to get patients to a hospital or a backup physician.

The Philadelphia Inquirer indicates Gosnell also delayed the report to the state concerning the woman who died in the failed abortion. He had until April 12 to respond to the charges but has failed to do so, and missed an extension taking him to April 30.

As a result, the state health department has asked a judge to declare Gosnell guilty by default.

Last month, federal agents from the FBI raided Gosnell’s home and seized boxes of documents and removed them. Also, FBI agents executed a second search warrant at the now-closed Women’s Medical Society abortion center.

That was the second time officials raided his abortion business — and they did so first on February 18.

They found what amounted to a "house of horrors" — including collection jars containing the remains of pre-born babies dating back 30 years along with filthy and unsafe conditions and evidence that unlicensed workers had been illegally treating patients.

The office has no access for a stretcher in the case of an emergency. In previous emergencies, care was delayed because exit doors were padlocked shut or blocked with debris from the clinic.

A deficiency report noted that the only source of suction for patients with airway tubes was the same suction machine used for abortions. Filthy and unsanitary conditions were also cited.

Gosnell has a long history of dangerous abortion practices.

He was responsible for the death of Semika Shirelle Shaw in 2000, who died from a perforated uterus sustained during an abortion. Gosnell has been sued over 40 times for numerous botched abortions and other troubles.

"The story of Gosnell’s appalling abortion operation makes us wonder how many other abortionists like him are out there preying on vulnerable women," Operation Rescue president Troy Newman told "From our own investigations into the abortion industry, we have yet to find an abortionist who is in full compliance with the law."

"Because the abortion business draws practitioners from the bottom of the barrel, abortion presents a serious danger to women in this country. If the laws currently on the books were enforced, most abortion clinics in this country would be forced to close. The Gosnell story is a case in point," he said.

When Gosnell lost his Delaware license, he also agreed to stop distributing controlled substances and he waived his right to a board hearing normally scheduled for within 60 days.

"Based upon the severity of the violations alleged in the complaint, and based upon the suspension of Dr. Gosnell’s license in the state of Pennsylvania, we have concluded that the suspension of Dr. Gosnell’s license to practice medicine in Delaware is necessary to protect the public until we can fully hear the matter," Raymond L. Moore Sr., the president of the Board of Medical Practice, said according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Pennsylvania officials suspect Karnamaya Mongar died from the botched abortion in part because she had been treated by unlicensed personnel.

The State Board of Medicine says Gosnell had the unlicensed staff member give vaginal exams and administer the drugs Demerol, Promethazine and Diazepam. He was eventually fined $1,000 for the violations.

Records from 1995 show Gosnell was publicly reprimanded by the State Licensing Board which found he ”employed a physician’s assistant that was not certified … saw at least one patient and treated him."

Yet, Gosnell told a local television station recently, "I haven’t seen a negative comment that a patient has been dissatisfied with the services that I have provided."

But former patient Dayna Haynes, who suffered a botched, incomplete abortion and had to wait hours for proper medical care, had something else to say about that on camera.

"I really felt like he was just going to let me die," she said.

After a report showed Gosnell a stack of 40 lawsuits against him over the years, he responded: "If you’re not making mistakes, you are not really attempting to do something."

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