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“It would be the same as putting a pillow over the baby’s face”

by | Feb 23, 2011

Editor’s note.  Abortionist Kermit Gosnell  is charged with eight counts of murder and will be arraigned March 2. This latest excerpt from the Grand Jury’s 261-page report is very tough going, but necessary to understand the full scope of what he is charged with committing.

watch?v=7kNWotDyZO8Gosnell severed spinal cords and suctioned and crushed skulls after the babies were fully delivered.

[This except begins with questioning of Tina Baldwin, an employee of Gosnell]

Q. Did you ever see instances where the fetus was completely expelled from the mother’s body?
A: Oh, yeah, yeah.  That’s what we call precipitation.

Q: What do you mean by that?  Tell the members of the jury, what would happen?
A: That’s when a patient would precipitate.  Usually by the Cytotec [a prostaglandin to induce contractions] that was given to the patient and it just made the uterus so flimsy to where the baby just falls out and we had a lot of patients that was second-trimester, it would just fall whenever she was at. And it was picked up and it was put in a dish and it just traveled with the mother.  And then the person put the mother up on the table, the baby was put inside the – in the dish on the table and the doctor was called to come in.

Q: And then what would the doctor do when he came in?
A: Let me think back then.  Usually he would check and see, check on the fetus and then I think that’s when he used to go ahead and do the suction in the back of the neck.

Q: Even though the fetuses had already been removed from their mother?
A: Yeah, they had already been removed.  He would just go ahead and finish it.

Q: Would he explain to you why he did that?
A: No.

Q: Or why that was his practice?
A: No.

Q: Did you ever question it?
A: No.

Q: Okay, how many times would you say you’ve seen this?
A: Hundreds.  I’ve seen hundreds….

Kareema Cross testified that when she first started working at the clinic, in 2005, Gosnell slit the neck of every baby.  But he subsequently told the workers that the law changed so that he could not do that anymore.  (The law, in fact, never allowed him to cut necks of viable babies after they were fully expelled.)  Cross said that Gosnell then tried a few times to use a new procedure: he tried to inject a drug called digoxin into the fetus’s heart while it was in the womb.  This was supposed to cause fetal demise in utero.  But because Gosnell was not skillful enough to successfully administer digoxin, late-term babies continued to be born alive, and he continued to kill them by slitting their necks.

Cross testified:

So he tried to do the needle in the stomach and that’s what was supposed to have killed the baby before the baby came out, but if it didn’t, he’ll say, oh, well, the law says that I can do it.  I can still slit the baby’s neck because it didn’t work.  The needle didn’t work.

And according to his staff, the needle never worked.  So Gosnell stopped trying and reverted to his old system of killing babies after they were born.

Gosnell’s staff testified that he constantly tried to explain to them why what he was doing was legal – even though it clearly was not legal.  Severing the spinal cord of viable, live babies after they have been delivered is simply murder.  To then crush and suction their skulls defies medical explanation.  It can only be understood as an attempt to conceal the true and only purpose of the neat scissor incision at the back of the neck: to kill the babies.

The clinic’s employees used the term “snip” to describe the severing of the spinal cord, but this is misleading.  Our neonatal expert testified that, because of the bony vertebrae surrounding the spinal cord, it would actually take a bit of pressure to cut all the way through the spinal cord and the bone – even at 23 or 24 weeks gestation.  At 29 weeks, on babies such as Baby Boy A, the expert said, “it would be really hard.”  The baby, we were told, would feel “tremendous pain.”

When we asked our medical experts if there could be any legitimate, medical purpose behind Gosnell’s practice, one said: “it would be the same as putting a pillow over the baby’s face, that the intention would be to kill the baby.”  Another likened the practice of severing babies’ spinal cords to pithing frogs in biology class.

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