By Dave Andrusko
Periodically—usually when an abortionist has maimed, or even killed a woman—the name of West Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell comes up. So it was last week when abortionist Robert Rho pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the 2016 death of Jamie Lee Morales. Rho aborted her at 25 weeks.
There are many similarities to Gosnell, the owner of an abortion clinic which the Philadelphia district attorney aptly dubbed a “House of Horrors.” To name just two, both performed massive numbers of abortions. In Rho’s case, 40,000 abortions over his career. Gosnell’s death toll was never calculated but he often aborted babies seven days a week for decades.
Women died at their abortion clinics. Ms. Morales died at Rho’s Liberty Women’s Health of Queens. Karnamaya Mongar died in 2009 at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society, for which Gosnell was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
But another woman died nine years before at Gosnell’s abortion clinic. The death of 22-year-old Semika Shaw rarely received any attention.
According to the Grand Jury report, “On October 9, 2002, the Professional Underwriters Liability Insurance Company reported to the State Board of Medicine that it had paid a $400,000 settlement to the family of Semika Shaw, the 22-year-old mother of two who died following an abortion procedure at Gosnell’s clinic in March 2000.” More specifically, she “died from infection and sepsis two days after Gosnell perforated her uterus and cervix during an abortion procedure.”
But to this day, knowledgeable people insist that Gosnell is serving three consecutive life sentences for “botched” abortions. He is not. Those babies died after they were deliberately delivered alive.
Here’s what the Grand Jury wrote
When you perform late-term “abortions” by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies. By 24 weeks, most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care. But that was not what the Women’s Medical Society was about. Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them. He didn’t call it that. He called it “ensuring fetal demise.” The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that “snipping.”
Over the years, there were hundreds of “snippings.” Sometimes, if Gosnell was unavailable, the “snipping” was done by one of his fake doctors, or even by one of the administrative staff.
But all the employees of the Women’s Medical Society knew. Everyone there acted as if it wasn’t murder at all. 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 A. 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 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.” Another, Baby Boy B, whose body was found at the clinic frozen in a one-gallon spring-water bottle, was at least 28 weeks of gestational age when he was killed. Baby C was moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an assistant came in and cut the spinal cord, just the way she had seen Gosnell do it so many times. And these were not even the worst cases.
There are numerous theories why Gosnell delivered the babies alive before killing them. For starters, sheer incompetence. Aborting a late-late term baby is very dangerous…to the mother. His staff said Gosnell stopped using Digoxin to attempt to poison the child in utero, because he was so incompetent.
Reporter Steve Volk turned a story he’d written for “Philadelphia” magazine– “Kermit Gosnell’s Babies”– into a small e-book. Volk was the first reporter Gosnell talked to.
Volk offers his own bevy of explanations which begins with Gosnell’s insistence that he was looking for more “merciful” ways to abort. What’s Gosnell’s explanation?
According to Volk, Gosnell had convinced himself that the babies weren’t really alive. Why was that important to Gosnell?
“He said he’d never actually seen a baby move, beyond a ‘reflex’ when the scissors snipped the spinal cord. He snipped the necks of dead babies, he claimed, merely to prevent any possible pain reception—as if dead babies feel any pain at all.”
Volk chased him down but Gosnell continued to bob and weave.
“I pressed him on this, explaining that it simply didn’t seem credible for a medical doctor to be worrying about the pain experienced by a fetus he felt sure was dead. …He could never explain himself. And his answers seemed carefully couched: ‘I never saw anything I took as fetal movement.’”
The piece comes to a preliminary climax when Volk provided Gosnell with a rationale for what he had done in a direct and more eloquent way than Gosnell could articulate.
In an email, Gosnell tells him, in effect, you got it, buddy, only to double-back and tell Volk, “No, I’m innocent.”
Conclusion? Gosnell wasn’t, isn’t, and never will be an outlier. And he didn’t “botch” late-term abortions, he murdered these huge babies after they were born which is why he is in a state prison in Huntington, Pennsylvania.