Several staff members of Americans United for Life traveled to Philadelphia on April 28th to remember the tens of thousands of children who were butchered within the blood-red brick walls of the “Women’s Medical Society”, aka Kermit Gosnell’s infamous “House of Horrors”, and to attend the closing arguments of the trial of Dr. Gosnell the following day.
We began by visiting the “House of Horrors” itself.
What did we see? Collapsed ceiling tiles, trash, and moldy water are just a few of the remnants of the atrocities scattered throughout the waiting room.
Even the dark green chairs lining the far wall are visible, leaving a chilling image of what the room looked like where women sat awaiting their procedure at the hands of the late-term abortionist. The soiled fish tank and rusted can of fish food mentioned in the sickening Grand Jury report are still visible through the front windows— bringing forth the reality of the former workers’ testimony of “a mix of smells emanating from the cloudy fish tank where the turtles were fed crushed clams and baby formula” that immediately struck one upon entering the clinic (pg. 45 of Grand Jury report).
One of the most nauseating finds was a document that reads “Notice of Plumbing Defect Water Supply System.” That could have been in response to what maintenance man James Johnson recounted in his testimony: ‘Sometimes patients “miscarried or whatever it was” into the toilet and clogged it.’ (30).
The grand jury report contains grisly details of severed infant feet in jars and evidence of babies kept in bags in the freezer. But perhaps the most troubling fact was that while we stood on the quiet street corner of 38th and Lancaster, people were going about their day, jogging along the sidewalk lining the Women’s Medical Society, oblivious to the House of Horrors.
For how many years did Dr. Gosnell’s actions similarly go unnoticed? How many people would drive by on a regular basis not knowing about the horrific acts callously committed against women and infants within the walls of the narrow building? Even further, how many other Gosnell’s are currently practicing “women’s health” in similar conditions throughout the United States?
What we are continually discovering is that Dr. Gosnell’s clinic is not an aberration.
In fact, this last month, after a series of emergency calls and multiple visits by the EMS, a Delaware Planned Parenthood facility is currently under investigation for similar unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Since January 4th of this year, five women have reportedly left that facility in an ambulance.
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“I couldn’t tell you how ridiculously unsafe it was” said Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich, a former nurse for the Delaware Planned Parenthood. “He (the doctor) didn’t wear gloves.” She also commented on the cleanliness of the operating tables. “It’s not washed down, it’s not even cleaned off. It has bloody drainage on it” she recounted, as they would quickly move women in and out of the room in a meat-market style of assembly-line abortions.
A second former employee, Joyce Vasikonis, claimed, “They were using instruments on patients that were not sterile. [They] could be at risk of getting hepatitis, even AIDS.”
Like Dr. Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society, the Delaware Planned Parenthood facility is not subject to routine inspections; in fact, the only time the state steps in is when they receive a patient complaint.
When questioned about the lack of inspections, Mary Peterson of the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services admitted, “I am not going to lie to you, we don’t have the manpower to do routine inspections.”
In February of this year, another abortion clinic in Northeast Ohio was prohibited from performing any medical services after dozens of violations similar to Gosnell’s were found. The Capital Care Network clinic was cited for untrained or unqualified staff, unsafe and unsanitary environments, improper use of patients’ blood without their consent, failure to perform required staff tuberculosis screening, and practicing with expired licenses.
What we saw in Philadelphia and heard at closing arguments sickened us. But even worse, such grotesque abuse is not limited to the House of Horrors, but can be found from Delaware to Ohio and beyond. Americans United for Life strongly urges our nation’s lawmakers to adopt clinic regulations and protections to ensure women’s health and safety is a top priority. The abortion industry is in denial of the fact that mere access to abortion does not equate to women’s health. Clinics like Gosnell’s in Philadelphia, Planned Parenthood’s in Delaware, and Capital Care Network in Ohio prove that these are the true “back-alley” businesses that operate without effective outside oversight to ensure the health and safety of the patients.
There is hope however. In 2013 alone, 17 states are considering measures to regulate both the facilities and the individuals performing abortions. It’s time to protect women in all 50.
To learn more about Americans United for Life’s model legislation, click here.