Neglect of West Philly Abortion Victims Was 'By Design'

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 12 | Posted Feb. 2, 2011

Share this Story:

Not every story has two sides and the truth. The case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia physician charged with murdering babies for decades uninterrupted in a wide-open darkness of institutional failure, offers many lessons and no simple solutions. A year-long investigation that included interviewing 58 witnesses culminated in a 281-page grand jury report published Jan. 19. The report relentlessly documents not only Gosnell’s crimes, but how he got away with it for so long.

It’s all much worse than can be summarized.

The grand jury believes that at least hundreds of children were killed inside Gosnell’s West Philly medical practice. They concluded the death toll was “literally incalculable.”

But the District Attorney’s Office can only assemble enough evidence to charge for eight murders. Seven of those victims were babies.

According to the grand jury, “Baby Boy A” was born to a 17-year-old who was almost 30 weeks pregnant. The infant was “breathing and moving when Dr. Gosnell severed his spine and put the body in a plastic shoe box for disposal.” The report includes a graphic photo of the dead baby. In it, his splayed arms and legs hang over the edge of the makeshift coffin.

“Baby Boy B,” at least 28 weeks of gestational age, was found frozen inside a 1-gallon spring-water bottle.

“‘Baby C’ moved and breathed for 20 minutes before an assistant came in and cut the spinal cord.”

The jury found that Gosnell’s typical method of killing was to use scissors to cut into the back of a baby’s neck, severing the spinal cord. The report includes a photo of one such baby with a rectangular chunk missing from the back of its neck.

“And these were not even the worst cases,” according to the report.

Gosnell is also charged with killing 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died during the abortion. Little is known about the mother of three except that she and her husband fled her native Bhutan and spent nearly 20 years in camps in Nepal before arriving in America about four months before she was killed by an overdose of Demerol and other drugs in November 2009.

As the report states, Mongar wasn’t the first woman killed inside Gosnell’s practice and, except for the accidental discovery of the abortion mill by the DEA agents looking for proof of Gosnell’s sideline prescription-drug-trafficking operation, she surely would not have been the last. 

The Raid

On the evening of Feb. 18, 2010, the FBI, Philadelphia’s D.A.’s Office, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philadelphia Police Department raided the Women’s Medical Society at 3801 Lancaster Ave.

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of State were invited to tag along by DEA Agent Stephen Dougherty after a colleague expressed concern over the strange circumstances of Mongar’s death.

The team raided the clinic after Gosnell arrived around 8:30 p.m.

According to the report, “semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets.” Blood was splattered all over the dirty floor. It stank of urine, cat feces and the fetid turtle tank kept in the waiting room.

The only functioning medical equipment was a single pressure cuff. The emergency exit was padlocked shut.

Embryos, fetuses and, as the medical examiner would determine after autopsies, corpses of viable babies were stashed “haphazardly” in milk jugs, spring water bottles and cat food containers; more were bundled in red and yellow plastic bags stacked high on the dirt-floor basement and packed into the freezer. It’s been widely reported that Gosnell kept a collection of small jars containing the severed feet of fetuses.

“All in all,” the report states, “the remains of 45 fetuses were recovered at the clinic that evening.”

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 |Next
Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend


Comments 1 - 12 of 12
Report Violation

1. Anonymous said... on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:35AM

“inspecting clinics is a barrier to women? wow, how did that end up working out”

Report Violation

2. Allen said... on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:37AM

“I think that public employees investigating or otherwise overseeing professionals of any type and decide to cover-up violations OR "let them slide" should share in the punishment by being sublect to TRIPLE DAMAGES at their sentencing.”

Report Violation

3. Anonymous said... on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:38AM

“I don't see how not inspecting abortion clinics was supposed to give women better access to abortion. The DoH should be inspecting the cleanliness, file-keeping and quality of care given at every medical facility in the state once a year regardless of whether its an abortion clinic, a pediatricians office or even a bloodbank. The way to make abortions safer in Pennsylvania is to make sure that all insurances, particularly CHIP and AdultBasic, cover abortions. These women who went to Gosnells clinic went there because they had no choice. Because they went to Planned Parenthood and were told "you're more than 15 weeks along, we can't do it here, you have to go the Philadelphia Womens Center." When they get to the womens center they're told that their insurance doesn't cover abortion and that the procedure will cost about $1000. What if they don't have that much money? Well they can have some time to try and get the money together, but they need to be aware that if they wait more.....”

Report Violation

4. Anonymous said... on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:54AM

“....than a few days the fetus will be bigger, which means it will be a more complicated procedure and will cost even more. And if the girl seeking the abortion is a minor who can't involve her parents, she'll have to obtain a judicial bypass, which can take almost a week sometimes, forcing her to be pregnant even longer and driving up the costs and possible dangers of the procedure. Our current laws are forcing the poor to either have a child which they might not be able to support or end up in a clinic like Gosnell's. Also, if there was better funding for sex ed and better access to the simple things like birth control we wouldn't have such a large population of girls who are too young and financially unstable to be thinking about starting a family ending up needing abortions. My question to those who say " I don't want my tax dollars funding abortions through CHIP and AdultBasic" would be what do want then? That these women who simply cannot get the money in time give birth....”

Report Violation

5. Anonymous said... on Feb 2, 2011 at 12:09PM

“... to these children for whom you will now have to fund WIC, foodstamps, free school lunches, CHIP and a whole host of other things right on up to when they become adults, and if they make it to college you'll be funding their Pell Grants and their PHEAA grants and if they don't you'll be funding their Adultbasic care and foodstamps and on and off unemployment checks. I really hope that this case serves to show the dangers of restricting womens access to safe, affordable and early abortions, and reminds people that with easy access to and information about birth control many of these younger women would not be in this situation to begin with.”

Report Violation

6. cooke said... on Feb 2, 2011 at 04:10PM

“this is a horrific story and it occurred in Philly and Wilmington. You have done a significant effort in identifying institutional neglect by these agencies. If there is a hell this guy is going and god bless those born/unborn children who were murdered by this satanic f*ck. I really have a hard time reading this and I imagine it was difficult to research and write - kudos to you Tara Murtha!”

Report Violation

7. pete hoge said... on Feb 2, 2011 at 07:31PM

“We can only pray now. There can't be any blame or
revenge. A situation like this is in God's hands.,
because the secular state failed to protect mother's
and their children. God did not permit this, it is the
will of selfish people that made this happen and now
God will make something beautiful out of all this as
He always does.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is
the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary mother of
God, pray for us sinners, ( all who are involved in
the abortion clinic tragedy), now and at the hour of
our death.


Report Violation

8. Amary said... on Feb 4, 2011 at 04:40AM

“Situations like this are a result of the push to have abortion as common and accessible as possible, rather than a result of not having enough abortion providers. In fact, just this week Planned Parenthood was exposed as actively encouraging underage prostitution by advising undercover 'pimps' how to get around federal regulations designed to protect 13-14 year old girls from being exploited.

So a more 'mainstream' clinic that still chooses to place unfettered access to abortions higher than the welfare of the women (and girls) they are supposed to protect still doesn't seem like that great of an option.”

Report Violation

9. brendancalling said... on Feb 7, 2011 at 11:28AM

“amary is lying about planned parenthood. that was a "sting" set up by pro-life zealots and it failed miserably.
stop lying. You're bearing false witness.”

Report Violation

10. backwoodsterrorist said... on Feb 15, 2011 at 11:05PM

“im one hundred percent pro-choice, but would never seek one. i really believe that and am not a church goer. there is no god, but there is the act of murdering a child. thats what it is. call a spade a spade already. im only pro choice in the sense that i don't think its my job to tell other people their business. im sure there are instances that make this a complicated topic, but i cant believe how lightly some people take it. all women should have the best access to contraceptives and quality medical care. but once you have a kid in the womb, thats what you have. if a few months is the difference between doing it early or waiting til it comes out and sticking a pillow over its head i think we're splitting hairs”

Report Violation

11. What is the object of this reporting? said... on Mar 3, 2011 at 11:59PM

“It's disturbing to me that there is so much graphic detail in articles about this case. The descriptions are written as if they were literature. I hope people do not take pleasure in reading these passages. A few sentences that state the offenses matter-of-factly should be enough to make anyone sick.

A taste for violence and a tolerance for horror are things that are developed.”

Report Violation

12. Anonymous said... on Mar 9, 2011 at 04:06PM

“To commenter #11...

I think the details in this case, though very gruesome, were necessary. I'm sure many people who are against abortion clinics also read the Philly Weekly, and they need to see the horror of what was certainly NOT a REAL abortion clinic! So many people think that all abortions are the same as murdering babies. This was not an abortion clinic--this was a clinic committing infanticide and practicing sickening disregard for the lives of women who thought they were protecting themselves by going in for an abortion.

Abortion is so stigmatized in our culture that some people probably expect to walk into a horror movie if they enter an abortion clinic. This case needs to be made an example to show that abortions themselves are safe, but clinical conditions, as well as the mental conditions of providers need to be monitored.

This case is as back-alley as it gets.”


(HTML and URLs prohibited)

Related Content

Abortion Bill 732 Is Bad Medicine
By Tara Murtha

Journalist Steve Lopez once wrote that Philadelphia is a city without pretense in a state without shame—and that was long before Harrisburg legislators stooped low enough to exploit murdered babies to push a bill into law that would result in what critics call a “back-door ban” on abortion in Pennsylvania.

Related Content

Guerilla Artists Install Renegade Project on Roof of Kermit Gosnell's Abortion Clinic
By Tara Murtha

Nine months after a grand jury concluded that the number of babies and women who died in Kermit Gosnell's women's health services clinic is “literally incalculable,” a pair of guerilla artists sent out invitations to a renegade art installation titled Regard, to be showcased by lights tonight at the former site.

RELATED: Gosnell's Lawyer No Stranger to Scandal; Judge Bypasses Preliminary Hearing

Related Content

Anti-Abortion Radicals Coming to Philly
By Tara Murtha

Under the leadership of 44-year-old Troy Newman, Operation Rescue has become known for zeroing in on defined areas and then pressuring individual clinics and practitioners until operating becomes unreasonable or impossible.

Related Content

A History of Neglect at West Philly Abortion Factory
By Tara Murtha

A timeline of events in the case against Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

RELATED: The Gosnell Case Shows Abortion Isn't a Red or Blue Issue—It's Pink

Related Content

Anti-Abortion Group Operation Rescue Takes Its Terror Tactics to the Web
By Tara Murtha

Last year, in the wake of the arrest of Kermit Gosnell, Operation Rescue came to town. They met in the basement of St. Agnes Church in West Chester. As PW reported in March, the militant anti-abortion organization was there recruiting volunteers to gather doctors’ names and schedules by pretending to be mothers of daughters who were seeking abortions.