Pennsylvania: City, State Officials Debate Abortion-Kermit Gosnell

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 2, 2011   |   5:17PM   |   Philadelphia, PA

Who failed to do their duty when it came to failing to oversee the problems associated with the abortion business run by Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today, city and state officials each claimed the other didn’t do their job.

Gosnell and several staffers at his abortion center, including his wife 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.

Gosnell, who used a method of live birth abortion to birth babies and snap their spinal cords with scissors, was arraigned and held without bail. 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.

During a public forum today, two city officials told a state Senate committee investigating the problems that the state health department was at fault for not exercising its proper oversight on abortion clinics in the state, according to a WPVI report. But state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., a Republican who chairs the Senate’s local government committee, said the city should share the responsibility because the city health department deals with the issues, too.

“Local oversight must have a prominent role,” Eichelberger said at the hearing at Drexel University. “Local health departments have power to regulate,” adding that the city and state share “joint responsibility.”

But the television station indicates City Solicitor Shelley Smith and Health Commissioner Donald Schwarz said the city’s power to investigate abortion centers in limited and said the state health department has the most oversight. The city officials said they are working on a better process for people to make complaints to the state.

“I can’t pull someone’s license,” Schwarz said. “The state has the authority and the state has the ability to regulate health care facilities.”

Last 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. In the raid, officials found 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.

But, the grand jury investigation also shows state officials did nothing when reports came in about problems at Gosnell’s abortion center, which has upset incoming pro-life Governor Tom Corbett who fired several state employees.

During the hearing, Marsha L. Napper, a case manager for People’s Emergency Center, a medical center for the homeless, said abortion centers should be monitored in the same manner as legitimate health care facilities.

“It should be the same procedure,” Napper said. “We have to make sure people do their jobs.”

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 associatedwith 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.