Alveda King: Philadelphia Board of Health Wants to Kill More Poor Babies!

Alveda King
Alveda King

The same Philadelphia Board of Health that ignored Gosnell’s House of Horrors is at it again! After ignoring several demands from local citizens and outraged pro-life civil rights leaders calling to end the terrors of abortion in their city, the Board of Health passed a new resolution on  Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 calling for the federal government and the state of Pennsylvania to fund all abortions for poor women.

Haven’t they harmed enough women already? Now they want to go back for more killing.

They want you to forget that they turned a blind eye to Kermit Gosnell’s abortion killing center until the whistle blew so loudly in 2011 that they had to take action on Gosnell. The doctor's abortion clinic was a filthy, foul-smelling “house of horrors” that was overlooked by regulators for years. Gosnell was finally charged with murder, accused of delivering seven babies alive and then using scissors to kill them. At least one mother’s death by abortion has also been linked to Gosnell’s clinic.

According to Brenda Green, executive director of CHOICE, a nonprofit that connects the underinsured and uninsured with health services, The Pennsylvania Department of Health did nothing when they became aware of the death of Karnamaya Mongar a woman whose gruesome abortion at Gosnell’s hands resulted in the gruesome death of Ms. Mongar.

Ms. Green tried to report complaints from clients, but the health department wouldn’t accept complaints from a third party. Instead, the patients had to fill out a daunting five-page form, available only in English, that required them to reveal their identities upfront and be available to testify in Harrisburg. Even with CHOICE staffers there to help, only two women agreed to fill out the form, and both decided not to submit it. The Department of State and the Philadelphia Public Health Department also had ample warning of dire conditions and took no action.

Now this same process of ignoring the problems associated with abortionists in their town is prompting the Philadelphia Board of Health to go back and kill more babies, and put the health and livelihood of more mothers in jeopardy.

Hundreds of other babies likely died in the squalid clinic Gosnell ran from 1979 to 2010, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said at a news conference.

Even though Pennsylvania law prohibits abortion after 24 weeks except to save the life of the mother or avoid serious health risk to her, Gosnell was charged with murder, infanticide, conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks and other charges. The Board of Health ignored these facts as long as they could. They want you to forget that they were in league with Gosnell’s deeds, guilty by association and by looking the other way.

In a nearly 300-page grand jury report filled with ghastly, stomach-turning detail, prosecutors said Pennsylvania regulators ignored complaints of barbaric conditions at Gosnell’s clinic, which catered to poor, immigrant and minority women in the city’s impoverished West Philadelphia section. Prosecutors called the gruesome Gosnell case a “complete regulatory collapse.” What do you call their audacity to push more abortions on poor women and their unsuspecting babies now? Definitely not hope.

“Pennsylvania is not a third-world country,” the district attorney’s office declared in the report. “There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago.” Now in 2013, they want to abort more poor babies, and kill more mothers?

At least two women died from the procedures, while scores more were injured from perforated bowels, cervixes and uteruses, authorities said.

In a typical late-term abortion, the baby is chopped apart in the uterus and then removed in pieces. That is more common than the procedure opponents call “partial-birth abortion,” in which the baby is only partially extracted before being destroyed. Prosecutors said Gosnell instead delivered many of the babies alive.

He “induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord,” District Attorney Seth Williams said.

Gosnell referred to the practice as “snipping,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors estimated Gosnell ended hundreds of pregnancies by cutting the spinal cords, but they said they couldn’t prosecute more cases because he destroyed files.

“These killings became so routine that no one could put an exact number on them,” the grand jury report said. “They were considered ‘standard procedure.’”

Authorities raided Gosnell’s clinic in search of controlled drug violations and stumbled upon “a house of horrors.” Bags and bottles holding aborted babies “were scattered throughout the building. There were jars, lining shelves, with severed feet that he kept for no medical purpose.

Prosecutors said the place reeked of cat urine because of the animals that were allowed to roam freely, instruments were not properly sterilized, and disposable medical supplies were used over and over.

White women from the suburbs were ushered into a separate, slightly cleaner area because Gosnell believed they were more likely to file complaints, Williams said.

Few, if any, of the unconscious patients knew their babies had been born alive and then killed, prosecutors said. Many were first-time mothers who were told they were 24 weeks pregnant, even if they were much further along, authorities said.

According to authorities, state regulators ignored complaints about Gosnell and the 46 lawsuits filed against him, and made just five annual inspections, most registered as satisfactory, since the clinic opened in 1979. The inspections stopped completely in 1993 because of what prosecutors said was the pro-abortion rights attitude that set in after Democratic Gov. Robert Casey, an abortion foe, left office.
Williams accused the state health department officials of “utter disregard” for the safety of women undergoing abortion, and said the testimony of agency officials “enraged” the grand jury. But he said he could find no criminal offenses with which they could be charged, in part because too much time had elapsed.

“These officials were far more protective of themselves when they testified before the grand jury. Even (Health Department) lawyers, including the chief counsel, brought private attorneys with them—presumably at government expense,” the report said.

The state’s reluctance to investigate, under several administrations, may stem partly from the sensitivity of the abortion debate, Williams said. Nonetheless, he called Gosnell’s case a clear case of murder.

“A doctor who, with scissors, cuts into the necks, severing the spinal cords of living, breathing babies who would survive with proper medical attention commits murder under the law,” he said. “Regardless of one’s feelings about abortion, whatever one’s beliefs, that is the law.”

Four clinic employees were also charged with murder, and five more, including Gosnell’s wife, Pearl, with conspiracy, drug-related and other crimes. All were arrested. Gosnell’s wife performed extremely late-term abortions on Sundays, the report said.

One of the murder charges against Gosnell involves a woman seeking an abortion, Karnamaya Mongar, who authorities said died in 2009 because she was given too much of the painkiller Demerol and other drugs.

Gosnell wasn’t at the clinic at the time. His staff administered the drugs repeatedly as they waited for him to arrive at night, as was his custom, the grand jury found.

The malpractice suits filed against Gosnell include one over the death of a 22-year-old Philadelphia woman, a mother of two, who died of a bloodstream infection and a perforated uterus in 2000. Gosnell sometimes sewed up such injuries without telling the women about the complications, prosecutors said.

It was indicated that Gosnell had previously insisted he was innocent of any crimes and predicted he would be acquitted if he was charged. After pressure was applied by leaders from across the nation, Philadelphia gatekeepers finally took some cursory action against Kermit Gosnell for running an abortion nightmare on the “poor side” of town.

It can only be expected that regulators will try to gloss over the Gosnell chapter and try a hard sell on abortions that are “safe, legal and rare.” Don’t buy the pitch. RECALL ABORTION!

Alveda C. King is the daughter of the late slain civil rights activist the Rev. A.D. King, and niece of Martin Luther King Jr. She is also a civil rights and pro-life activist, as well as director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life. Click here to visit her blog.

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