by Larry Miller
Special to the NNPA from the Philadelphia Tribune
The case against Kermit Gosnell was, initially, an investigation into a prescription pill mill. Eventually, that escalated to one of the most grisly and horrific murder cases in Philadelphia history.
From the beginning, when the results of the grand jury’s investigation were released in 2011 to Gosnell’s conviction and sentencing this week, prosecutors said repeatedly that the case was not about the moral or legal ramifications of abortion. The Gosnell case was about murder, a physician who was accused of killing live, viable infants. It was a case against a trusted doctor who was ultimately found guilty of contributing to the death of a female patient.
Yet the children Gosnell was found guilty of murdering were slain because he was performing illegal, late-term abortions. Karnamaya Mongar, the woman who died under Gosnell’s care, died because she went to the Women’s Medical Society seeking an abortion and the other poor women who were patients there were all seeking to end unwanted pregnancies.
And, most gruesome, the corpses of dead fetuses and their body parts were all the result of abortion procedures. In short, the trial of Kermit Gosnell has added fuel to an already controversial fire — and at a time when the legal, moral, emotional and spiritual consequences of abortion are being strenuously debated from coast to coast.
Gosnell made $1.8 million per year performing late-term abortions, according to District Attorney Seth Williams. He operated for decades and kept sparse records. The Pennsylvania Department of Health hadn’t inspected the facility for 17 years, raising questions about how abortion facilities should be regulated and how often they should be inspected. Most of Gosnell’s patients were poor minority women. Investigators learned from his employees that white women were always taken to the second floor where he personally handled their care.
“There really is no need to resort to far-flung conspiracy theories. Behind virtually every abortion is an unintended pregnancy. And because women of color are much more likely to experience unintended pregnancies than any other group, they are also more likely to seek and obtain abortions than any other group,” said Susan Cohen, director of government affairs for the Guttmacher Institute. “Fundamentally, the question policymakers should be asking is not why women of color have high abortion rates, but rather what can be done to help them have fewer, unintended pregnancies and achieve better health outcomes more generally.”
Pro-life advocates see the Gosnell case as indicative of the need to narrow the time frame as to when an abortion can be performed or to eventually overturn Roe v. Wade altogether.
“Some abortionists may have cleaner sheets than Gosnell and better sterilized equipment and better trained accomplices, but what they do — what Gosnell did — kill babies and hurt women — is the same,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, who co-chairs the House Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus in a published report.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said anti-choice lawmakers could use the case as a springboard to deny women access to safe reproductive care.
“Justice was served to Kermit Gosnell, and he will pay the price for the atrocities he committed,” Hogue said in a published report. “We hope that the lessons of the trial do not fade with the verdict. Anti-choice politicians, and their unrelenting efforts to deny women access to safe and legal abortion care, will only drive more women to back-alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell.”
Anna Higgins, J.D., director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council said that in her mind the Gosnell case highlights two key problems with legalized abortion in America; the disregard for the health and safety of women and the inhumanity of abortion and late term abortion in particular.
“The Gosnell case serves to highlight two major problems with the abortion industry in this country — its callous disregard for the health and safety of women and the inhumanity of abortion, especially late-term abortion,” Higgins said in a press release. “The murders of babies and of at least one woman at the hands of Gosnell could have been prevented had the Pennsylvania health department inspected the Gosnell facility immediately after receiving numerous complaints. The lack of concern for both unborn babies and babies that survive an abortion is not an attitude isolated to Kermit Gosnell.
More recent reports show other abortionists have no respect for human life and are willing to kill babies very late-term or even let babies who are born alive die. One report reveals LeRoy Carhart aborted an unborn baby at 33-weeks gestation in February, and sadly the mother later died from complications. Another report shows a Washington, D.C., abortion doctor named Cesare Santangelo admitting he would let a child who survives an abortion die.”