By Dave Andrusko
If I were able to squeeze out a month or two, I would move heaven and earth to attend the murder trial of West Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. But that is not possible, so I will have to rely on news accounts which included these three incredible comments from or about today’s opening arguments.
The Guttmacher Institute is the in-house think tank for the abortion movement. Here’s an observation only the monumentally tone-deaf could make. Writing for the AP, MaryClaire Dale notes
“The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights and tracks women’s health laws, believes abortion foes are capitalizing on the Gosnell case. Pennsylvania’s 2012 changes to the law came under Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who opposes abortion.
“’They’re using the Gosnell example in the argument to promote clinic regulations,” policy analyst Elizabeth Nash said. ‘But in the past couple of years, the heat has been turned up under abortion restrictions in general.’”
So, if a man stands accused of eight counts of murder, we should ignore what Gosnell allegedly did to seven viable babies and Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old refugee woman, because to point out the horrors would be “capitalizing” on the case?
Would we be, say, exploiting the case if we remind the public that the Philadelphia District Attorney called Gosnell’s abortion clinic a “House of Horrors”?
Or grasping if we run excerpts from the Grand Jury report that document how Gosnell made jokes as he slit the necks of huge babies, or reserved Sundays for killing the “’the really big ones,’ that even he was afraid to perform in front of others.”
And then there is Gosnell’s attorney, Jack McMahon, who, predictably tried to put the prosecution on trial. According to the AP
“This is a targeted, elitist and racist prosecution of a doctor who’s done nothing but give (back) to the poor and the people of West Philadelphia,” the fiery McMahon insisted to the predominantly black jury, as Gosnell sat serenely taking notes. “It’s a prosecutorial lynching of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.”
“Racist”? According to the same Grand Jury report, Gosnell made no bones about treating suburban white women with money differently than inner city women of color, who were poor.
A few weeks ago Tara Murtha of the Philadelphia Weekly ran a piece that channeled McMahon’s demagoguery. But even Murtha conceded
“As a former worker in Gosnell’s clinic told the grand jury, Gosnell, a rich black man, treated poor brown and black patients differently than middle-class white patients. From the [Grand Jury] report: ‘Like if a girl — the black population was — African population was big here. So he didn’t mind [having clinic workers] medicating your African-American girls, your Indian girl, but if you had a white girl from the suburbs, oh, you better not medicate her. You better wait until he go in and talk to her first.’”
How about “giving back” to the community? There is no evidence he did, but Gosnell certainly had plenty if he had so chosen. The prosecution says he made millions aborting babies, many of whom were well past the point of viability. (Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore told jurors that police found $250,000 in cash during a 2010 search of Gosnell’s home.)
There is one other quote from the opening day, this one also from McMahon. The AP reports that
“He conceded the case will be emotional and upsetting for jurors and everyone else involved ‘because we all love babies.’
“’It strikes a chord in all of us,’ he said.”
“We all love babies.” That’s what McMahon said. I don’t think I have to add anything to that. Or could.
Based on the initial accounts, the defense for Gosnell (who has pleaded not guilty) is that Karnamaya Mongar did not die of a lethal dose of anesthesia and painkillers during an abortion but from complications unrelated to her 2009 abortion.
What about the seven unborn babies aborted alive and then killed?
“And he [McMahon] said the government cannot prove the seven babies were born alive. There is no physical evidence on five of the deaths; the murder charge is instead based on staff testimony that the babies cried or moved.
“Authorities have a photograph of the sixth baby, who allegedly had a gestational age of 30 weeks, and the body of the seventh. But McMahon argued that neither took a breath or was otherwise born alive.”
One might ask, if that were the case, why would the Grand Jury say Gosnell bothered snipping the back of the babies’ necks?
It has been assumed since Day One, although not by me, that Gosnell would be convicted. Why have I entertained doubts?
For exactly the reasons we see in McMahon’s tactics. Forget that most of Gosnell’s victims were poor women of color; make this a trial motivated by racism.
Forget that the Grand Jury concluded that there were hundreds of “snippings.” As the 261-page report reluctantly concluded, “Most of these acts cannot be prosecuted, because Gosnell destroyed the files.”
“Among the relatively few cases that could be specifically documented, one was Baby Boy. His 17-year-old mother was almost 30 weeks pregnant – seven and a half months – when labor was induced. An employee estimated his birth weight as approaching six pounds. He was breathing and moving when Dr. Gosnell severed his spine and put the body in a plastic shoebox for disposal. The doctor joked that this baby was so big he could ‘walk me to the bus stop.’”
It will be Gosnell’s word against that of members of his untrained, unlicensed staff.
I desperately hope that I am wrong. We will keep you abreast as the trial proceeds. It could go as long as two months.
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