National Abortion Federation Rejected Gosnell in Pennsylvania, Not Delaware

State   |   Warren Throckmorton   |   Jan 28, 2011   |   1:16PM   |   Washington, DC

By now the primary facts about the Philadelphia massacre are becoming well known. Kermit Gosnell and several of his staff were charged last week in connection with the deaths of a former patient via a botched abortion and seven infants who were born alive and then murdered at Women’s Medical Society, his West Philadelphia clinic.

According to the grand jury report of the investigation, Gosnell frequently delivered viable babies and then snipped their spinal cords with scissors, leaving them to die. Prosecutors think there may have been many more than seven since records of other cases were destroyed.

Gosnell even collected body parts in jars which were displayed openly when police raided the clinic to secure evidence of illegal prescription drug dealing. What makes the situation all the more stunning is that state Department of Health regulators deliberately avoided inspecting abortion clinics during the administrations of pro-choice Governors Ridge and Rendell to avoid putting up barriers to abortion.

Less publicized is the fact that Women’s Medical Society in Philadelphia was not the only place where Kermit Gosnell performed abortions. Until last year, Gosnell worked one day a week at Atlantic Women’s Medical Services in Wilmington, Delaware. In fact, one of the abortions resulting in infant death began in that Delaware clinic. According to the grand jury report, a 17 year old girl came to Atlantic Women’s Medical Services with her great aunt and requested a late term abortion.

Gosnell gave her medication to start labor and instructed her to come to his clinic in Philadephia the next day. When she arrived, she began a 14 hour ordeal that resulted in the birth of “Baby Boy A” as named by the grand jury report. After the 18 to 19 inch infant was delivered, Gosnell “slit the neck” of Baby Boy A and placed him in a shoebox. A few days after Gosnell dismissed the teen, she was taken to a hospital with a serious infection and blood clots in her lungs, nearly resulting in death.

According to the grand jury report, at least 6 similar situations began at the Atlantic Women’s Medical Services and ended up in the Philadelphia clinic for illegal late-term abortions. The Atlantic clinic was paid for the abortions and then they were performed in Philadelphia. One of Gosnell’s staff at the Philadelphia clinic, Lynda Williams, worked at the Wilmington clinic and is also charged with murder.

Atlantic Women’s Medical Services is a member of the National Abortion Federation, an organization that certifies abortion clinics. In 2009, Gosnell applied for membership in the NAF for his West Philadelphia clinic but for many reasons was denied. However, he was working at Atlantic at the same time, and had been for years. Despite the collaboration between the two clinics, the NAF continues to recommend Atlantic to potential clients.

Due to questions about the relationship between the two clinics, the Gosnell grand jury recommended that the NAF “reassess the membership of Atlantic Women’s Medical Services.” At present, there is no indication that NAF plans to do this. Despite repeated calls over the past two days, the National Abortion Federation has not responded to my questions about Atlantic and the grand jury’s recommendation. Atlantic Women’s Medical Services referred me to attorney Nino Ntanari, who has not provided comment.
On the NAF website, executive director Vicki Saporta issued an open statement about the Philadelphia tragedy, correctly saying, “The doctor in question, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was NOT a NAF member. As the Grand Jury Report in this case notes, Gosnell applied for NAF membership in late 2009, but his application was rejected because his facility did not meet NAF’s standards for quality care.”

Although accurate as far as it goes, what this statement fails to disclose is that until recently, Gosnell and staffer, Lynda Williams were employed at a NAF member clinic and that this clinic collaborated with Gosnell’s Philadelphia office. While Saporta’s statement refers to the grand jury report, she also fails to disclose that the grand jury recommended that the NAF reassess the membership of the NAF approved Wilmington clinic.

To NAF’s credit, they did not admit Gosnell’s Philadelphia operation as a member organization. However, there are now questions that deserve answers about Kermit Gosnell’s other clinic. Note: Warren Throckmorton, PhD is an associate professor of psychology at Grove City College and fellow for psychology and public policy with the Center for Vision & Values.