By Maria Gallagher
Editor’s note. This appeared on page 13 in the February digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please read the entire 39-page edition and pass it along using your social networks to pro-life family and friends.
I will never forget my first introduction to mass murderer Kermit Gosnell.
The introduction did not come by means of a face-to-face meeting, but rather via cyberspace, where I learned of a drug raid at the abortionist’s “Women’s Medical Society,” which the Philadelphia District Attorney would come to describe as a “House of Horrors.”
I recall printing out the shocking story, bringing it to the attention of my boss and saying, “This is something you need to know about.”
Despite the fact that a grand jury believed he may have killed hundreds of full-term or near-full-term babies in cold blood, Gosnell is not necessarily a household name—even within the confines of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where he plied his grisly trade for decades.
The latest effort to inform the public about the despicable deeds of the disgraced abortionist is the best-selling book, Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.
The book is the brainchild of investigative journalists Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, a husband-and-wife team who have also produced a forthcoming movie about the sordid tale of Gosnell’s horrific killing spree.
Gosnell ultimately was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for killing three full-term babies by delivering them alive and then “snipping” their spinal cords. He also was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a female immigrant patient, Karnamaya Mongar.
Investigators believed that he had killed hundreds—if not thousands—of viable babies with the “snipping” method and had slain multiple women through botched abortions. But criminal charges could be brought in only a handful of cases because Gosnell destroyed so many records.
He is now in prison serving consecutive life sentences for his monstrous crimes.
As someone who lives in Pennsylvania, had read the grand jury report, and who had followed the trial, I thought I knew everything relevant about the ghastly case.
That was—until I read the book Gosnell.
For instance, I did not realize that a Pennsylvania Health Department official actually permitted Gosnell to perform an abortion while his facility was undergoing a raid! (It was an investigation into prescription drug-dealing that led to the discovery of the deplorable conditions inside the 3801 Lancaster Ave. abortion center.)
Apparently, nothing could stop his bloody business—even the people taxpayers pay to protect us.
According to the authors, following the abortion, Gosnell “comes back with torn surgical gloves, his hands covered in blood and proceeds to eat teriyaki salmon with chopsticks” in front of those conducting the raid.
And yes—it gets worse.
While Gosnell was dining, a cat came in, drawn by the smell of food. Gosnell told the detective, “See that cat? He’s killed two hundred mice in this clinic.”
Despite his bizarre dining habits and the atrocious conditions within his abortion facility (there were women everyone, moaning in pain), the writers note that Gosnell received patient referrals from several nearby states—and “from as far away as Florida, Georgia, and Puerto Rico.”
That was because he was willing to do late-term abortions—as it turns out, even later than Pennsylvania law allows. (The legal limit for abortions in the state is 24 weeks’ gestation—a bill just approved by the state Senate would lower the limit to 20 weeks.)
Strange too—chilling, really—is the fact that numerous state bureaucrats had been informed of deficiencies and even deaths at the hands of Gosnell and “had decided to do absolutely nothing.”
The grand jury noted that because of the pro-abortion political stands of former Governors Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell, abortion facilities went uninspected in Pennsylvania for more than 15 years. Hair and nail salons received more scrupulous attention than abortion centers in the Keystone State during those dark years.
Speaking of darkness, few film villains could top Gosnell in the category of eccentricity.
During a subsequent police search of his filthy and flea-ridden West Philadelphia house, Gosnell played Chopin on the piano surrounded by police who had donned hazmat suits.
In his 15-year-old daughter’s room, police found a trunk with a semi-automatic pistol and more than $240,000 in cash.
But the book Gosnell is not simply an unvarnished portrait of a crazy killer. It also deftly explores the impact of the Gosnell case on those who had front-row seats to the horror show as it was being played out in real time.
By McElhinney’s and McAleer’s account, the investigation and subsequent trial left an indelible mark on police and prosecutors alike. As they sought justice for those who had fallen victim to Gosnell’s viciousness and violence, they ended up forming an unbreakable bond.
Two of the female prosecutors who were comrades in the fight for justice for Gosnell’s victims became close friends. Ironically, one of them was pregnant with her fourth child when she was required to examine evidence which included the tiny bodies of the “forty-seven babies recovered from Gosnell’s freezer.”
The revolting revelations from Gosnell’s abortion factory also led to an eye-opening epiphany for one officer.
“For (Philadelphia police officer John)Taggart, learning the reality of abortion for the first time was shocking. ‘Even if it’s done right, it’s barbaric,’ he told us. ‘I’m no holy roller, but if you see the way they actually have to do it, it’s barbaric.’”
And then there is the courage of those who survived Gosnell’s “snippings” to tell the tale to the grand jury. One of the most incredible moments during the grand jury probe occurred when a woman whom the authors call “Sandy” gave her testimony.
Sandy went to Gosnell for a second-trimester abortion, which was anticipated to be a two- or three-day process. On what would have been the first day of the procedure, Gosnell inserted the luminaria—pieces of seaweed to expand the cervix. At one point, Sandy asked Gosnell what would happen to the babies he aborted, and he said, “We burn them.”
After she went home, Sandy became increasingly uneasy. Her cousin learned of her feelings and called Gosnell, telling him Sandy did not want to go through with the abortion
“Gosnell became very angry,” the authors tell us. Gosnell said didn’t do “reversals” and he was not going to give Sandy back the $1,300 she had already paid in cash.
Sandy ended up going to the hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. An assistant district attorney asked her what transpired after that.
She said, “Oh, my baby started kindergarten today.”
The authors note, “The grand jury burst into applause. The prosecutors believe that was the first time a Philadelphia grand jury had ever applauded testimony.”