Pennsylvania’s experience with Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” shows that abortion facilities cannot or will not police themselves

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Never again.

That was the rallying cry for Pennsylvania lawmakers who were incensed by the tragic events that unfolded in West Philadelphia, where abortionist Kermit Gosnell was suspected of killing hundreds of newborn babies and responsible for the deaths of at least two female patients.

Because Gosnell destroyed so many records, a relatively small number of criminal charges could be brought against him. But they were enough to ensure that Gosnell was ultimately convicted of murdering three newborn babies and of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of patient Karnamaya Mongar.

The man who operated what then Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams described as a “House of Horror” is serving three consecutive life terms at the State Correctional Institution-Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

PA legislators wanted to ensure that Gosnell’s crimes would never be repeated. Consequently, they passed a trailblazing abortion center regulation law in 2011 which ensured regular, unannounced inspections of abortion facilities.

Eight years later, the evidence is clear that the law is working incredibly well. When the legislature passed the measure, five abortion facilities closed their doors because they either could not or would not meet basic health and safety violations.

The public is now able to see the results of the state Health Department inspections online. And it was that transparency that led to the closure of the state capital’s long-standing abortion facility, Hillcrest, a couple of years ago.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, during a routine check of inspection reports, found that Hillcrest had some 46 pages worth of health and safety violations. Pennsylvania Pro-Life informed the news media and a reporter-led investigations ensued. A trio of state Senators demanded the immediate closure of the abortion operation, and operators of the run-down facility eventually gave up their license.

Within the past few weeks, Pennsylvania Pro-Life discovered two additional Philadelphia abortion centers have relinquished their licenses as well. One, known as Berger & Benjamin, was run by an abortionist who casually admitted during testimony at the Gosnell murder trial of having performed some 40,000 abortions during his “career.”

Inspection reports showed numerous violations by Berger & Benjamin, including a failure to secure medication properly. But such inspections would have not occurred, had it not been for the diligent efforts of Pennsylvania Pro-Life to close a giant loophole in the original abortion center regulation legislation.

Thanks to Pennsylvania Pro-Life’s diligence, abortion centers throughout Pennsylvania are subject to unannounced inspections—an important safeguard for the women of the Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania’s experience with Gosnell shows that abortion facilities simply cannot police themselves. That is why laws such as the Keystone State’s are so critical to ensuring the health and safety of patients.

Were it not for the perseverance of National Right to Life affiliates such as the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, such groundbreaking, life-saving, and life-changing legislation simply would not happen.