By Dave Andrusko
Tuesday was the official release date of the much anticipated book, Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer, written by the husband and wife team of Phelim McAteer and Ann McElhinney. I received a copy over the weekend and had time to read just the first 54 pages. I will offer a full review later next week.
What immediately stood out is although I had intensely followed the trial (and the pre-and post-trial) coverage and had devoured the 261-page report of “The County Investigating Grand Jury XXlll” at least twice, there was a great deal I did not know about West Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
Like you, I was aware that Gosnell is serving three consecutive life terms for murdering three late-term babies whom he consciously delivered alive and then plunged surgical scissors into their necks and severed their spinal cords.
I knew he was serving an additional lesser term for having been convicted of one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Karnamaya Mongar who died in 2009 from a massive overdose of drugs administered by Gosnell’s unlicensed, untrained staff.
And, like you, I knew Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society was filthy almost beyond imagination.
But even I was shocked when I read
“When the investigators saw the inside of the abortion clinic, they couldn’t understand how anyone could work in the place, much less eat in there [which Gosnell calmly did as the raid proceeded, his hands covered in blood]. Even though Tosha Lewis had told them about the clinic’s appalling conditions, nothing could prepare them for the stench. As soon as the investigators entered the building they were assaulted with the rank odor of cat feces, formaldehyde, and human urine.”
What I didn’t know, and learned in those first few chapters of the new book, is that after police raided his abortion clinic in search of illegally prescribed drugs, Gosnell was allowed to complete an abortion!
According to McAteer and McElhinney, the Health Department nurse who accompanied them on the raid called her boss who called her boss who said, “The Health Department had no jurisdiction to stop Gosnell from doing the abortion–he should be allowed to perform the procedure”–in the middle of a raid!
And while I understood Gosnell is incased in an invincible armor of self-righteousness and fervently believes he is a kind of bizarre civil rights martyr, I didn’t know, and learned from a story that appeared today in the Daily Mail he is absolutely convinced he will get out of jail.
Quoted and paraphrasing from the book, Martin Gould writes
He is so certain he will be released that he stays in shape because he wants to compete in triathlons once he is out.
‘As a boy I always promised myself I would never look like the before pictures in the Atlas fitness ads. So I am working a lot on my upper body,’ he told authors Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAteer.
Part of that wholly unreasonable assurance is Gosnell’s almost preternatural calm.
‘When you talk to Gosnell, either by phone or in person, the first thing that strikes you is his calmness,’ the authors write. ‘The first time he called, he sounded like a man coming in from playing eighteen holes of golf and ready for the nineteenth-hole cocktail, not someone serving three consecutive life terms who knows he will die in prison.’
So why did Gosnell agree to meet with McAteer and McElhinney? Clearly because he wants his “side” of the story told; to convince the reader that surely no guilty man would agree to a “tell-all” interview ; and because Gosnell, while incompetent as a physician and morally stunted as a man, has street smarts. He has plenty of reason to believe he could pull the wool over the authors’ eyes.
Judge Renee Cardwell-Hughes, who oversaw the grand jury proceedings, told McAteer and McElhinney that Gosnell had convinced what she described as “blue-blood African American Philadelphians” that he was a “good man; he was really smart, dedicated to this practice and the community.”
More next week.