Gosnell trial: Location, location, location

The main difference between Gosnell and other abortion doctors is that he couldn’t get the job done before the baby came out.  He tried doing it like his peers at Planned Parenthood --the industry leader which is worthy of half a billion dollars annually in tax-payer funds.  Standard practice for later-term abortions at Planned Parenthood is to inject the drug Digoxin into the baby’s heart, while it’s still inside the mother, inducing fetal demise before the procedure begins.  Or the D&E (dilation and evacuation) method, which is the in-utero dismemberment of the fetus (done “gently,” thank goodness).  

Baby killed inside the mother – legal abortion.  Very same baby killed seconds later on the other side of the birth canal – murder.  In abortion, as in real estate, it’s location, location, location.

Dr. Gosnell tried the legal methods, but he failed at pinpointing the baby’s heart – it requires skill he doesn’t have to delicately guide the needle through a pregnant woman’s belly into the stubbornly beating heart of the unborn baby.  

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He apparently also tried the industry approved D&E method (as the severed baby feet found in the jar would indicate).  With this method, as a doctor at Family Planning Associates of Phoenix explained to a woman 23 weeks pregnant, “it comes out in pieces.”    

Why single out his client, the defense attorney argued, since “Gosnell is not the only one doing abortions in Philadelphia.”  No, he isn’t.  Ten minutes away from Gosnell’s clinic is the Philadelphia Women’s Center, where they advertise dismemberment abortions through 24 weeks and 6 days, right at the edge of Pennsylvania’s 24 -week age limit.

The grand jury report said that most of Gosnell’s victims were under Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit.  But some were older.  Again though, the problem is merely one of real estate.  Gosnell could have moved his clinic 15 minutes away, across the river to New Jersey, which doesn’t have those pesky limits on late-term abortions (limits opposed by pro-choice groups).  Just over the Ben Franklin Bridge, a quick Google search reveals seven New Jersey clinics that do late-term abortions.

Oh, the injustice of it all.  Doctor in Pennsylvania is charged with a crime for aborting a 25-week baby; doctor in New Jersey gets a good fee for aborting a 25-week fetus.  Location, location, location.

So why did Gosnell resort to the “illegal” abortion method which resulted in murder charges?  With standard techniques, he inflicted uterine and bowel perforations on his patients.  Gosnell didn’t want to risk provoking an investigation after a messy malpractice suit, a dead woman, and several more maimed.  (No worries there – his clinic went an incredible 17 years without inspection by the health department.)

That’s when he shifted to the post-birth abortion “snipping” method.  Fewer complications.  Simply induce labor, and when the baby comes out alive, snip the spinal cord.  Voila.  But really, what’s the difference, Gosnell’s attorney argued, “Abortion isn’t pretty … it’s not.  It’s bloody and it’s real.”

Turns out Gosnell is not alone in the live-birth abortion-infanticides either.  A sting operation from LiveAction has shown several other women’s health clinics are willing to let babies die if they accidentally come out alive.  Former employees at other clinics have come forward to say they witnessed Gosnell-like practices where they worked, and no one is investigating or prosecuting them.  

You were so close to being off the hook, Dr. Gosnell!  No murder charges if you had located across the river and did the deed before the actual birth.  No problem that your late-term abortions were performed on healthy women carrying healthy babies – that’s an industry standard too.  And besides, even the pristine Planned Parenthood has problems with unsanitary and unsafe abortions at their clinics, so let’s not judge too harshly.

One thing tripped him up, though.  Kermit Gosnell also dealt in illegal prescription drugs – which is the only reason he got snagged for the abortion-infanticides. Thankfully the Drug Enforcement Agency does it’s job better than the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  Because if he didn’t get busted for the drug dealing, no authority would likely have stumbled upon the heartbreaking scene inside his clinic.  He’d still be snipping away at his helpless victims and maiming women at his Women’s Medical Society in West Philly.  

Maureen Ferguson is senior policy advisor for The Catholic Association and frequently speaks and writes on the Catholic faith, religious liberty and conscience rights, and right-to-life issues.  Previously, Maureen was the Congressional Liaison and spokeswoman for the National Right to Life Committee.  She serves on the Executive Committee of the Susan B. Anthony List, a political action committee that works to elect pro-life women.