(Warning: This article contains graphic details concerning abortions and may disturb some readers.)
PHILADELPHIA – Testimony by a former worker at Kermit Gosnell’s abortion business in Philadelphia hasn’t exactly been helpful in his defense against eight counts of murder – one for a woman who died during an abortion and seven more for babies who, against odds, allegedly were born alive and then killed.
That’s because although it’s a gruesome and technical point, babies are supposed to be killed before they are removed from the mother’s body to qualify as an abortion.
But today, Gosnell’s defense counsel was unable to shake the testimony of a worker who said she saw the babies breathing after they were born.
The prosecution in the case rested after their final witness today, and the defense arguments are expected to take the stage next week.
Today, defense attorney Jack McMahon cross -examined witness Kareema Cross, trying to undermine her testimony from a day earlier. Cross said she “saw their chests were moving up and down” after the infants were born.
Witnesses testified that Gosnell or other clinic workers would use a scissors to snip the baby’s spinal column to make certain they were dead.
Under McMahon’s cross-examination, Cross continued to say that she heard the babies whine and saw their chests rise and fall.
“Yes, I saw their chests move up and down,” Cross said, shakily at times under McMahon’s suggestion that Cross wasn’t sure.
McMahon asked Cross about a statement that Gosnell was alleged to have made to her about the impact the medications have on the unborn babies.
Cross testified, “He said that either way, I was told that with or without the new medications, the baby is going to die.”
Cross said Gosnell referred to the unborn child as a “baby,” not a “fetus.”
McMahon asked Cross about the Pennsylvania law mandating that no abortions be done after 24 weeks. Cross repeated her previous testimony.
“Abortions were routinely done at 24 to 25 weeks,” she said.
The issue turned to partial birth abortions. Cross said, “On occasion, Gosnell would do a partial birth abortion on a baby who was still breathing.”
McMahon asked about a baby born into a toilet and a baby born to Shaquanna Abrams.
“In the grand jury testimony you said you didn’t know if the baby was moving, or swimming around, in the toilet,” McMahon said.
“I said I wasn’t sure,” Cross said.
Then after McMahon sat down, Cross said, “I saw the baby move in the toilet.”
“You told the grand jury that you didn’t know what happened to the baby born to Ms. Abrams,” McMahon challenged.
Cross maintained her testimony.
“The baby boy from Abrams breathed and moved in the container. The baby did not die right away,” she said.
Operation Rescue Senior Policy Adviser Cheryl Sullenger was at the trial, and she said she believes that Cross was courageous in coming forward.
“It does take courage to do that, because a lot of clinic workers when they see conditions like that … they’re afraid they’re going to lose their jobs, they’re wondering about their next paycheck,” Sullenger said.
Sullenger said she’s also grateful for Cross having the will to take the photographs to document the clinic’s filthy condition.
“She was very courageous to come forward and take those pictures. I just wish that anyone would have paid attention to her when she complained,” Sullenger said.
What bothers most, she said, is “the fact that it’s so many babies were killed after they were born in the filthy conditions that were at the abortion clinic. There were literally hundreds over the years – hundreds and hundreds.”
She said the workers did wrong, too, and they knew it, but she said Gosnell chose a type of person to employ for that reason.
“I believe Dr. Gosnell sought out women for hire who were, that were low income, low education. They were in financial crises and were desperate for employment,” she said. “So he would hire people like that and exert control over them so they felt like they couldn’t leave.
“There’s no doubt that he’s the kingpin in all of this and has the responsibility for all of the stuff that took place,” Sullenger said.
She said hearing the details about the abortion business “was painful; it was brutal.”
“It was barbaric. It was cold-hearted the way that he joked about the babies being big enough to walk him to the bus stop or to walk him home.”
Even as the prosecution was wrapping up its case, 72 members of Congress signed a letter demanding that major news outlets end their blackout of the abortion trial.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., joined Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise in enlisting 70 of their colleagues to sign the letter.
“The broadcasters’ blackout of the Planned Parenthood infanticide lobbying scandal and the Gosnell ‘House of Horrors’ murder trial are the biggest and most politically motivated media cover-ups in our nation’s history,” Blackburn said in a statement.
“Censorship and media bias allows the corrupt abortion industry to profit at the expense of innocent women and children. The mainstream media has a responsibility to report the truth, not turn a blind eye to the biggest civil rights issue of our time,” Blackburn said.
“If someone went into a hospital and shot seven babies and a mother with an AK-47, the media coverage surrounding the trial would rival a natural disaster,” Scalise told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
“Yet seven babies and a mother are dead at the hands of an abortion doctor using a scalpel, and the mainstream media’s silence on this story is deafening. By failing to cover this story and turning their backs on the culture of abortion in this country, the media has failed in their duty to provide unbiased coverage of this horrific tragedy,” Scalise said.
New York Times’ editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal was unrepentant about his company’s effort to ignore the horrors of the Gosnell case.
“There’s no rule that a newspaper, or that paper’s editorial page, has to run one piece about a bad clinic for every piece celebrating a good one,” he wrote. He referenced the Times’ editorializing about the reopening of a “women’s health clinic” in Wichita, Kan. The last clinic there shut when George Tiller, the abortionist who specialized in late-term abortions and was charged for allegedly doing illegal procedures, was murdered.
“Dr. Tiller was performing safe and legal abortions when he was gunned down in the foyer of his own church. The reopening of his clinic, which will not perform late-term abortions, is an act of courage on the part of Julie Burkhart, a former colleague of Dr. Tiller, and others. She is already receiving death threats from people who believe that murder is an acceptable way of protesting legal, constitutionally protected abortions,” wrote Rosenthal.
He said the real issue isn’t Gosnell’s actions in snipping the spinal cords of born-alive infants but attempts to restrict “women’s access to reproductive health services, including birth control, cancer screening and other services.”
A day earlier, Cross had told of babies breathing after they were born, even crying out and flinching when Gosnell used a scissors to cut their necks.
And there was testimony from Cross about one photo of a cabinet.
“This picture is a bunch of jars in a cabinet,” Cross said.
The prosecutor asked, “What was in the jars?”
“The jars had babies’ feet in them.”
Another photograph, an enlargement, showed a baby’s foot in a plastic specimen bag.
At one point, Cross testified about a patient named Shaquanna Abrams who came for a second-trimester abortion.
“Did you ever see those babies move?” asked prosecutor Joanne Pescatore.
“Yes, once in the toilet,” said Cross.
“It was swimming a bit,” she said, “basically, trying to get out of the toilet.”
“Dr. Gosnell took the box from the room. Dr. Gosnell took pictures of the baby, then he snapped the baby’s neck,” Cross said.
She added, “Dr. Gosnell said that this baby was so big he could have walked me to the bus stop.”
Sullenger’s organization has been monitoring the weeks of testimony already in the case:
- Rusty and filthy abortion equipment has been brought into the courtroom to document unsanitary conditions.
- Medical records appear to have blood and other stains on them.
- Gosnell’s staff acted as though they were doctors, even though some had little or no medical training.
- Medications, including anesthetics, found in the office had expired years earlier.
- A defense attorney blamed the woman, Bhutan immigrant Karnamaya Mongar, for her own death, since she left several blanks on her medical form. Prosecutors said she spoke little English and likely was unaware she needed to provide information.
- Patients appeared to repeatedly get overdoses of drugs for their abortion procedures, including Mongar.
- Photographs of the bodies of babies, revealed gaping wounds in the back of their necks. According to testimony, Gosnell or staff members routinely snipped their spinal cords to make sure they were dead. Operation Rescue said: “The babies were all intact and had the appearance of being partially mummified or dried. The brownish-black skin had shrunk as it dried, revealing the upper spinal column that authorities say was pierced with scissors in order to snip the spinal cords of newborn babies born alive during abortions by Gosnell.”
- Photographs were introduced of babies’ feet, or even whole legs, Gosnell had preserved in jars.
- Testimony revealed Gosnell was reusing plastic tubes for abortions.
- Crime scene investigator John Taggart testified about retrieving a large garbage disposal that was under the sink in the wash room. Operation Rescue president Troy Newman explained the significance: “I had seen it before in the abortion clinic in Wichita, Kan., that Operation Rescue bought and closed, then renovated into a usable pro-life office. Aborted baby remains were likely ground up in the disposal then flushed down the sink.”
- A former Gosnell employee, Steven Massof, testified the abortion business was chaotic and that he saw more than 100 babies born alive who had their necks snipped in what he described as “a beheading.”
- He also testified at times “it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place.”
The outrage began when the grand jury, prompted by allegations of drug misuse, looked into Gosnell’s operations and activities.
When the FBI raided the location, the grand jury report stated, “There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs.”
The grand jury asked: “How did this go on so long? Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers.”
Report author Dave Andursko noted the list of unethical practices is extensive.
“The callous killing of babies outside the womb, the routinely performed third trimester abortions, the deaths of at least two patients, and the grievous health risks inflicted on countless other women by Gosnell and his unlicensed staff are not the only shocking things that this grand jury investigation uncovered. What surprised the jurors even more is the official neglect that allowed these crimes and conditions to persist for years in a Philadelphia medical facility,” Andursko wrote.
“The Philly Angel of Death” by Ted Nugent
“‘Dr.’ Gosnell and Obama’s heart of stone” by Alan Keyes