Inside the mind of abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell: Part One of Four

By Dave Andrusko

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell

I never wrote this, but after abortionist Kermit Gosnell was sentenced I KNEW we had not heard the last of a man convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter. Why? Simply because I had read the interview he had given March 22, 2010, to David Gambacorta of the Philadelphia Daily News long before the trial began (“DOCTOR FROM HELL . . . OR GODSEND?”), the excusatory comments of Jack McMahon, his defense attorney during and after the trial, and what the Grand Jury report said about a man who operated a “House of Horrors.”

So why would that add up to a second act for a man who had been convicted of murdering three babies he’d deliberated aborted alive and then severed their spinal cords and whose untrained, uneducated staff had over-medicated a 41-year-old refugee? Because Gosnell—hard as this is to believe, let alone stomach—clearly sees himself as a victim. Indeed he sees himself as a misunderstood…hero.

Today a friend was kind enough to send along a story written by Kevin Dolak of ABC News which is a preview of a story that will appear in the “Philadelphia Magazine” tomorrow. The curious title of Philadelphia reporter Steve Volk profile? “Gosnell’s Babies.”

When you read that Volk “spoke with Gosnell in exclusive interviews from prison where he is serving three life sentences,” alas, you know what’s coming next, given the access. Volk told Dolak he’d concluded that “Gosnell is an ‘intelligent’ and ‘charismatic’ man,” who “insists that he is not a ‘monster.’”

Until I read the article tomorrow I can’t know for sure whether what comes across clearly in the prequel is true: that Volk has bought Gosnell’s self-portrait as a kind of civil rights martyr hook, line, and sinker. A few examples, each more incredible than the one before.

“He believes himself to be innocent … in this larger spiritual sense. He believes he was performing a service for people that asked him,” said Volt. … “He believes he was a soldier in a war against poverty.” To which Volt adds, “He has a sense of righteousness, that whatever rule he broke, it was worth it.”

“It’s not as if he feels guilty about what he did. He sees the world is [as?] a dark place. He sees himself as having performed a noble function in society. For him, in a perfect, idealized world, it wouldn’t be necessary,” Volk said.

“He believes that he gained insight into what it’s like to be pushed into the system, without the capacity to explain himself,” Volk said. “He believes if he could have spoken about his rationale for doing things, he wouldn’t be in jail … There is no anger, no desperation [in his voice.] He believes he was in a war, and that ‘they’ won.”

Where to begin? Let’s see. He sure fought to make sure HE was never in poverty. Prosecutors said he would make $10,000-$15,000 a night performing late, late abortions on (almost entirely) women of color.

Gosnell performed abortions so late in pregnancy– “the really big ones”– that “even he was afraid to perform in front of others. These abortions were scheduled for Sundays, a day when the clinic was closed and none of the regular employees were present.” No doubt he made even more money for those abortions.

And that doesn’t even address the gobs of money he made writing illegal drug prescriptions, a charge that he pled guilty to after his first trial.

And so long as the “world is a dark place”—one that is not ideal—well, you know somebody has to murder hundreds of viable babies (the conclusion reached by the Philadelphia Grand Jury. He destroyed the records, making prosecution for all those babies’ deaths impossible).

The Grand Jury provided an overview of his “noble function.” Gosnell ran a “medical practice” that was “a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.”

Finally, to portray himself as some helpless, voiceless victim, steamrolled by “The System” is audacious, even by Gosnell’s standards. He chose not to testify because he knew whatever small chance he had of beating the charges was not to allow himself to be cross-examined. And to make the indefensible sound semi-plausible defensible, he hired a pricey attorney, after first pleading poverty and asking for a public defender.

“They won”? “They” certainly were not the thousands of babies Gosnell aborted in his long career. Nor the women he routinely maimed.

“They” was the American public both because this murderer was put behind bars to serve three consecutive life prison terms plus 2-1/2 to 5 years and because people saw a glimpse into the seedy underbelly of a trade that attracts people just like Kermit Gosnell.

We will talk more tomorrow after I read “Gosnell’s babies.”