PHILADELPHIA – Over five weeks of testimony, Philadelphia prosecutors have painted Dr. Kermit Gosnell as an eccentric, detached boss who relied on untrained staff to perform abortions at his outdated, inner-city clinic.
Trial witnesses have described an abortion clinic, and perhaps a man, growing increasingly chaotic over the years.
One woman who died after a 2009 abortion had gone to several clinics near her Virginia home, starting when she was about 15 weeks pregnant. But each time, she was referred elsewhere, until she arrived at Gosnell’s clinic in her 19th week. Bhutanese refugee Karnamaya Mongar, 41, died of a Demerol overdose the next day.
Gosnell’s “nursing” staff included several women who were trained at a career school to be medical assistants, but were quickly shown how to perform ultrasounds and give anesthesia. To make the latter job easier, a 15-year-old worker used markers to draw up a color-coded chart that showed which drug cocktails should be given to which patients. Sometimes, it depended on how much they could pay, witnesses have said.
Prosecutors have filled the courtroom with Gosnell’s office equipment, including a seemingly ancient ultrasound machine, a busted defibrillator and a ripped, aging examining table.
The 546 exhibits also include dozens of patient files, one of which was handled with latex gloves because of a still-odorous stain. And an FBI agent recalled Gosnell, on the night of the 2010 law enforcement raid, eating dinner while they interviewed him.
“He was still wearing his bloody latex gloves. They had some holes in them,” Agent Jason Huff testified.
At the time of the raid, Gosnell had 47 fetuses stored in the freezer, authorities said, apparently because of a billing dispute with his medical waste company. The recovered bodies gave investigators a wealth of evidence to test, and prosecutors said in opening statements they could prove that at least seven babies were born alive.
Unlicensed doctor Stephen Massof and other staff members testified that Gosnell taught them to “snip” babies in the top of the spine after the abortion procedure.
“If you cut off the brain, the body will die. It’s that simple,” Massof testified.
Massof has pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree murder.
“I trusted him. I believed he knew what he was talking about,” said Massof, a Caribbean medical school graduate who could not get a U.S. residency. “I should have Googled.”
Medical assistant Kareema Cross said she saw babies move even after their spines were severed. McMahon disputed that account.
McMahon is also expected to challenge prosecutors’ claims that the autopsies of two of the recovered fetuses show they had taken a breath. The Philadelphia medical examiner stopped short of confirming that when he testified.
And only two of the 47 were arguably past the 24-week limit for abortions in Pennsylvania, McMahon has noted, attacking charges that Gosnell routinely performed illegal, late abortions.
Eight clinic employees have pleaded guilty in the case. The only remaining co-defendant, medical school graduate Eileen O’Neill, is fighting racketeering and false-billing charges, for allegedly billing as a licensed doctor.
72 Members of Congress Demand Media Coverage of Gosnell Trial
Some 72 members of Congress have signed on to a letter demanding that the mainstream media provide coverage of the murder trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell.
Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) were joined by 70 of their House colleagues late Wednesday demanding national broadcast news channels ABC, NBC, and CBS stop blacking out coverage on high-profile abortion controversies.
Their letters specifically reference two instances where the media has covered up the story of Planned Parenthood lobbying in support of infanticide in the Florida State Legislature and in the ongoing murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia. By many accounts, the Gosnell murder trial has become one of the most notorious cases of patient abuse of mothers and children in our nation’s history, they said.
“The broadcasters’ blackout of the Planned Parenthood infanticide lobbying scandal and the Gosnell ‘House of Horrors’ murder trial are the biggest and most politically-motivated media cover-ups in our nation’s history,” said Blackburn. “Censorship and media bias allows the corrupt abortion industry to profit at the expense of innocent women and children. The mainstream media has a responsibility to report the truth, not turn a blind eye to the biggest civil rights issue of our time.”
“If someone went into a hospital and shot seven babies and a mother with an AK-47, the media coverage surrounding the trial would rival a natural disaster,” Scalise said. “Yet seven babies and a mother are dead at the hands of an abortion doctor using a scalpel, and the mainstream media’s silence on this story is deafening. By failing to cover this story and turning their backs on the culture of abortion in this country, the media has failed in their duty to provide unbiased coverage of this horrific tragedy.”