Editor’s note. My family is on vacation. While we are gone I’ll be running articles from the past 12 months that you enjoyed and/or stirred your interest. This excerpt is from the shocking report by a Philadelphia Grand Jury. Abortionist Kermit Gosnell is charged with eight counts of murder.
Section IV: The Intentional Killing of Viable Babies
Gosnell left dozens of damaged women in his wake. His reckless treatment left them infected, sterilized, permanently maimed, close to death, and, in at least two cases, dead. Their injuries and deaths resulted directly from Gosnell’s utter disregard for their health and safety. However, if their fate was entirely foreseeable, it was not necessarily the product of specific intent to kill. The same cannot be said of untold numbers of babies – not fetuses in the womb, but live babies, born outside their mothers – whose brief lives ended in Gosnell’s filthy facility. The doctor, or his employees acting at his direction, deliberately killed them as part of the normal course of business.
Gosnell and his staff severed the spinal cords of viable, moving, breathing babies who were born alive.
Surgical abortions in Pennsylvania, performed up to 24 weeks of gestational age, are legal. Killing living babies outside the womb in not. The neonatologist who testified before the Grand Jury defined “born alive.” According to his expert witness, the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act defines a human as “somebody who’s been completely expelled from the mother and has either a heartbeat, pulsating cord, or is moving.” Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act defines “born alive” similarly, but adds breathing and brain wave activity as indicators of life. 18 Pa.C.S. § 3203.
Gosnell’s staff testified about scores of gruesome killings of such born-alive infants carried out mainly by Gosnell, but also by employees Steve Massof, Lynda Williams, and Adrienne Moton. Theses killings became so routine that no one could put an exact number on them. They were considered “standard procedure.” Yet some of the slaughtered were so fully formed, so much like babies that should be dressed and taken home, that even clinic employees who were accustomed to the practice were shocked.
Baby Boy A
One such baby was a boy born in July 2008 to 17-year-old we will call “Sue.” Sue first met Gosnell at the Atlantic Women’s Medical Services, an abortion clinic in Wilmington, Delaware, where Gosnell worked one day a week. The girl was accompanied by her great aunt, who had agreed to pay for the procedure, and who testified before the Grand Jury.
After an ultrasound was performed on Sue, Gosnell told the aunt that the girl’s pregnancy was further along than she had originally told him, and that, therefore, the procedure would cost more than the $1,500 that had been agreed upon; it would now cost $2,500. (Gosnell normally charged $1,625 for 23-24 week abortions.) The aunt paid Gosnell in cash at the Delaware clinic. He inserted laminaria, gave Sue pills to begin labor, and instructed her to be at the Women’s medical Center in Philadelphia at 9:00 the next morning.
She arrived with her aunt at 9:00 a.m. and did not leave the clinic until almost 11:00 that night. An ultrasound conducted by Kareema Cross recorded a gestational age of 29.4 weeks. Cross testified that the girl appeared to be seven or eight months pregnant. Cross said that, during 13 plus hours, the girl was given a large amount of Cytotec to induce labor and delivery. Sue complained of pain and was heavily sedated. According to Cross, the girl was left to labor for hours and hours. Eventually, she gave birth to a large baby boy. Cross estimated that the baby was 18 to 19 inches long. She said he was nearly the size of her own six pound, six ounce, newborn daughter.
After the baby was expelled, Cross noticed that he was breathing, though not for long. After about 10 to 20 seconds, while the mother was asleep, “the doctor just slit the neck,” said Cross. Gosnell put the boy’s body in a shoebox. Cross described the baby as so big that his feet and arms hung over the sides of the container.
Cross said that she saw the baby move after his neck was cut, and after the doctor placed it in the shoebox.
Gosnell told her, “it’s the baby’s reflexes. It’s not really moving.”
The neonatologist testified that what Gosnell told his people was absolutely false. If a baby moves, it is alive.
Equally troubling, it feels a “tremendous amount of pain” when its spinal cord is severed. So, the fact that Baby Boy A. continued to move after his spinal cord was cut with scissors means that he did not die instantly. Maybe the cord was not completely severed. In any case, his few moments of life were spent in excruciating pain.
Cross was not the only one startled by the size and maturity of Baby Boy A. Adrienne Moton and Ashley Baldwin, along with Cross, took photographs because they knew this was a baby that could and should have lived. Cross explained:
Q. Why did you all take a photograph of this baby?
A. Because it was big and it was wrong and we knew it.
We knew something was wrong.
* * *
I’m not sure who took the picture first, but when we seen this baby, it was – it was a shock to us because I never seen a baby that big that he had done. So it was – I knew something was wrong because everything, like you can see everything, the hair, eyes, everything. And I never seen for any other procedure that he did, I never seen any like that.
The neonatologist viewed a photograph of Baby Boy A. Based on the boy’s size, hairline, muscle mass, subcutaneous tissue, well-developed scrotum, and other characteristics, the doctor opined that the boy was at least 32 weeks, if not more, in gestational age.
Gosnell simply noted the baby boy’s size by joking, as he often did after delivering a large baby. According to Cross, the doctor said: “This baby is big enough to walk around with me or walk me to the bus stop.”
The doctor released Sue to go home 13 or 14 hours after she arrived. Her aunt described her condition: “She was moaning. She was standing up. She was like holding her stomach, doubled over.” She remained in pain for days and could barely eat. When she developed a fever, her aunt called Gosnell. He instructed the aunt to take her temperature and asked if she was taking pain medicine he had given her – which she was.
But he did not have her come in to be checked out. And he did not suggest that she go to a hospital. When Sue started throwing up a few days later, her grandmother contacted a different doctor, who told her to go to a hospital right away.
Sue was admitted to Crozier-Chester hospital. Doctors there found that she had a severe infection and blood clots that had travelled to her lungs. According to Kareema Cross, who spoke to the aunt, Sue almost died. The teen stayed at the hospital for a week and a half. She became extremely thin and took months to recover, according to her aunt.