By Cheryl Sullenger
Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s capital murder trial continues this week in a courtroom packed with worn, bloody furniture and outdated equipment seized from his dilapidated abortion clinic, which has come to be known as the “House of Horrors.” Gosnell is charged with seven counts of first degree murder for killing newborn babies born alive after abortions by snipping their spinal cords with scissors. He also faces one count of third degree murder in the overdose death of a patient, Karnamaya Monger.
But are the conditions described last week by two clinic workers and a Crime Scene Unit Officer really so different than what can be found at abortion clinics across America?
Fighting to Keep Abortion Unsafe
CSU Officer John Taggart carefully photographed the narrow maze of hallways, stairs, and claustrophobic rooms filled with clutter — so much so that in some cases, one would have had to scoot sideways down the hallway past rows of chairs, empty water jugs, and other items to get from one part of the clinic to another.
Meanwhile, the abortion lobby continues to fight clinic regulations that would ensure emergency workers have gurney access to procedure rooms as if such rules are an outrageous demand meant to deny women their Constitutional rights. But the truth is that if Gosnell’s clinic had complied with such rules that have since been enacted in Pennsylvania, Karamaya Mongar — the immigrant that he is accused of killing during a second trimester abortion procedure — might still be alive today.
Photos shown in court showed the only “handicapped” exit to the clinic down a hallway crammed full of broken office furniture and other debris. On the night Mongar died, the door was locked with a key that frantic clinic workers could not find as firemen sought a way to get their Code Blue patient out of the facility and to an awaiting ambulance.
“Most abortion clinics endanger the lives of their patients by doing abortion in substandard facilities,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. “We have seen it over and over.”
In fact, when Pennsylvania began inspecting clinics in that state, they found massive deficiencies. Two abortion clinics immediately closed rather than clean up and others have since followed suit.
Certainly Pennsylvania isn’t alone. Just last year in Birmingham, Alabama, pro-life activists photographed emergency responders hand-carrying two abortion patients out of the New Women All Women abortion clinic, down broken stairs and into a trash-strewn alley. An inspection by the Alabama Department of Public Health discovered 76 pages of clinic deficiencies, including medical tasks that were done by untrained, unqualified staff. The state forced the abortion clinic, a repeat offender, to close.
No License? No Problem.
Untrained, unqualified staffing is a major problem that can be found in almost every abortion clinic across the country. None of the employees at Gosnell’s abortion clinic were properly qualified for their jobs — including at least two, Eileen O’Neill and Steven Massof, who held themselves out to be licensed physicians when they were not. In fact, Massof testified that his first experience with patients was at Gosnell’s clinic, where he was seeing patients alone and prescribing drugs just two weeks after he started working there.
In Southern California, at least two unlicensed workers were caught illegally doing abortions at the now defunct Clinica Medica Para La Mujer De Hoy abortion clinic chain in 2009. A third abortionist, Laurence Reich, had his medical license revoked in 2006 for sexually molesting his abortion patients, only to be found a year later still doing abortions when police raided his abortion clinic.
“All over the country we have affidavits and other documentation of unqualified workers performing tasks that the laws say should only be done by licensed individuals that included everything from starting IVs to helping with the surgeries,” said Newman. “In 2009, we had four of former employees of late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart come forward and relate very much the same story as told by Gosnell’s workers of drug violations, unqualified medical practices, dirty conditions, falsified ultrasounds, and other abortion abuses.”
During an undercover investigation conducted by Operation Rescue, a Kansas clinic where Carhart worked was caught falsifying fetal ages through manipulated ultrasounds in order to avoid compliance with the Kansas late-term abortion limits. Carhart’s Nebraska clinic employee who blew the whistle on his illegal practices confirmed the ultrasound manipulation.
Massof testified of such manipulation of the ultrasound scans in detail during his testimony against Gosnell last week. He demonstrated with hand motions how he would raise the abdominal ultrasound transducer to a higher plane than it should be in order to make the baby in the womb appear smaller.
Filthy conditions and reuse of dirty surgical equipment at Gosnell’s clinic shocked the public when it was first reported. Gosnell was accused of spreading sexually transmitted diseases from one patient to another because he did not clean surgical instruments between patients. However, similar conditions are well documented throughout the abortion industry.
A former Kansas City abortionist, Krishna Rajanna, lost his medical license after photos surfaced that showed blood-stained carpets in procedure rooms, reused surgical equipment, and the storage of employee’s lunches in the same refrigerator as the aborted baby remains – the same conditions found at Gosnell’s clinic.
A Wichita abortion clinic bought and closed by Operation Rescue revealed dirty, roach-infested conditions, a leaky roof, moldy ceilings and walls, and a blood-spattered wash room where the contents of the abortion suction machine bottles were dumped down a sink and ground up in an industrial garbage disposal — conditions nearly identical to those identified in Gosnell’s clinic by CSU officer Taggart and clinic employee Eileen Hampton.
In Muskegon, Michigan, earlier this year, police responding to a call of broken glass at an abortion clinic operated by Robert Alexander discovered such filthy conditions, including filthy surgical instruments, that the clinic was closed immediately by the Fire Marshall. This clinic would still be operating today had it not been for the police’s discovery.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Numerous documents of abortion clinic deficiencies have been compiled by Operation Rescue and can be read at AbortionDocs.org.
“House of Horrors”
But perhaps most disturbing are the allegations that earned Gosnell’s abortion clinic the “House of Horrors” moniker. Inside the clinic were found the remains of viable babies that had allegedly been murdered after being born alive. Their spinal cords had been cut with scissors in what Massof described as a literal beheading where the brain was separated from the babies’ bodies.
The conclusion drawn by the few media outlets that have bothered to cover the grisly Gosnell case is that this never happens elsewhere. Not according to Alisa LaPolt Snow, a lobbyist representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, who made headlines just last week with her testimony in opposition to a bill before the Florida legislature that would protect infants born alive during abortions.
Florida State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, had asked Snow, “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”
Snow’s shocking response was that at Planned Parenthood, “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”
“It may be news to Planned Parenthood, but killing newborn babies is murder, no matter how or where they are born in this country,” Newman said. “Gosnell made that decision to murder these babies over and over under the same circumstance described by Rep. Bradenton. That’s why he now faces the potential of the death penalty if convicted. So are newborns murdered at other abortion clinics in America? The answer to that would have to be ‘Yes.'”
The Rule, Not the Exception
The primary difference between Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” abortion clinic and so many others around the country seems to be that he was caught. Americans can only wonder with dread how many other Gosnell-like clinics continue to operate under the protection of political climates, like those described in the Gosnell Grand Jury report, that ignore abortion abuses in order to protect abortion businesses at nearly any cost.
Last week, CSU Officer Taggart described the condition of Gosnell’s abortion building, where metal poles held up a leaky roof and the stench of death and cat urine lingered. Those conditions have only continued to deteriorate as the clinic has stood idle over the past two years. The leaks in the roof have expanded. The ceiling and drywall is moldy and coming down. Exposed electrical wires create a safety hazard. It has become so unhealthful to enter the building that Prosecutor Joanne Pescatore told the judge that she got sick the last two times she was there. Taggart said he expects the building to fall in soon.
So deteriorated are conditions at the building today that it was decided that the jury members could not tour the facility because their safety could not be ensured. But what Pescatore and Taggart have done by documenting the conditions of the clinic and displaying the outdated and filthy furnishings and equipment is give us all a glimpse in to nearly every abortion clinic in America, where profit comes first and the lives and safety of women come in a distant second.
In Gosnell’s home, authorities discovered $250,000 in cash stuffed under his mattress. Safes inside his clinic were found to contain envelopes stuffed with twenty-dollar bills. Gosnell was said to own at least six properties, including a home on the bay with a large boat and private boat dock.
This is the nature of abortion in America today. Women, especially the poor urban women of color that dominated Gosnell’s abortion business, are preyed upon by shoddy abortionists who profit financially while the women are rushed to emergency rooms in droves around the country.
“Abortion continues only because Americans have been denied the truth about the abuses that go on every day in our country’s abortion clinics,” said Newman. “When something negative does come out about an abortionist or clinic, the pro-abortion liberal media either refuses to cover it or acts as if it is an anomalous incident.
“Abortion lobbyists cry about health and safety laws as if they hurt women, when in reality, those laws are necessary to protect women from harm and exploitation by those who pretend to champion the rights of women. The only real way to protect women from the abuse inflicted upon them by those like Gosnell is to close every abortion clinic and relegate the barbaric practice to the dustbin of history where it belongs.”
Cheryl Sullenger is the Senior Policy Adviser for Operation Rescue. This article is reprinted with permission from OperationRescue.org.
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