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Roe at 40: the imperative to watch the documentary on Kermit Gosnell’s grisly abortion clinic

by | Jan 22, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Page1re-216x300It would an egregious oversight if, on the 40th anniversary of the wretched Roe v. Wade decision, I did not at least mention, however briefly, the amazing new documentary “3801 Lancaster,” which we wrote about last week. The title is the address of West Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell who is scheduled to go on trial in March. 

Gosnell is charged with eight counts of murder: first degree murder in the cases of seven “late-term” babies he is said to have deliberately aborted alive and then used surgical scissors to sever their spinal cords; and third-degree murder in the case of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died from a drug overdose reportedly prescribed by Gosnell.

Although I went into the 21 minute, 11 second video is some detail, I barely scratched the surface. There seems to be almost no depths to which Gosnell did not allegedly sink in what the Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams aptly described as a “House of Horrors.”

To put the documentary in perspective, the lead paragraph to Melinda Henneberger’s 2011 profile—“Kermit Gosnell’s Pro-Choice Enablers (Is This What an Industry That Self-Regulates Looks Like?)”—cannot be topped.

“The ultimate non-partisan body – a criminal grand jury – has supplied us with the graphic, 261-page horror story of Kermit Gosnell, M.D., who stands accused of butchering seven babies – yes, after they were born alive — and fatally doping a refugee from Nepal with Demerol  in a clinic that smelled of cat urine, where the furniture was stained with blood and the doctor kept a collection of severed baby feet. As often as possible, the report says, Gosnell induced labor for women so pregnant that, as he joked on one occasion, the baby was so big he could ‘walk me to the bus stop’” Then, hundreds of times over the years, he slit their little necks, according to the grand jury report.”

Pro-abortionists dismiss Gosnell as out-on-control, an “outlier” who is by no means representative of any “legitimate abortion provider.” He may be almost one of the kind in the limited sense that there are probably few abortionists who deliberately deliver the aborted baby alive and then kill the child by “snipping” their spinal cords.

But Gosnell is perfectly representative of an industry that demands to be protected from outsiders, including health department types, whose job it is to be sure abortionists at least go through the motions of adhering to standard medical procedure. Making what happened there even worse is the absolute indifference of the state medical bureaucracy to what was taking place.

You can compare the over-the-top resistance to any laws to require inspection to a two-sided coin.

On one side is an adolescent insistence that they will go their own way; adult supervision is NOT required. On the other side is a tacit acknowledgement  that an industry that trades in the blood of unborn children and the misery of desperate women is likely to attract more than its fair share of unsavory characters.

Knowing that Kermit Gosnell and his disdain for women is hardly unique in the abortion trade also helps explain why they attribute the worst motives to pro-lifers. In a sense—without directly saying so—it is an attempt to level the moral playing field. They have their Kermit Gosnells, we have our….what, exactly?

There is something deeply embedded in the pro-abortion advocate’s psyche which requires that they see the speck in the pro-lifer’s eye but blind to the log—or, in this case, surgical scissors—in the abortionist’s.

which brings us back to the online video documentary “3801 Lancaster” (found at The video is 21 minutes and 11 seconds long.

It begins with Katie Couric  seated at the news anchor’s desk. She cautions her audience, “Now this next story comes with a strong word of caution. The details are gruesome. You won’t want young children to watch.” My question would be how often, how rigorously has the news media (other than the Philadelphia Inquirer) covered this case since that day Williams indicted Gosnell, Gosnell’s wife, and a bevy of his ill-equipped staff?

For example, I’m pretty clued in. But not until I saw “3801 Lancaster” did I ever witness the testimony of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and Assistant District Attorney Ann Ponterio before a Pennsylvania state Senate committee.

While Williams is composed and restrained as he talked, Ponterio, seated to his right, looks like she is about to jump out of her chair. We see only a small clip of her testimony, but here it is in full:

“There was one baby that when it was born one of the workers was playing with it for several minutes before the worker did exactly what Dr. Gosnell did–snip the back of the neck.

“And when we use the word ‘snip,’ it is a scissors taking a bony part of a vertebra and cutting it. This is a very, very painful thing.

“Some of these babies did not die immediately. And they described their bodies as twitching and lifeless.” 

The documentary could have shown any number of gory, blood-stained pictures, but limited them to only a handful to illustrate two truths about Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic. 

First, Gosnell “specialized,” as the Grand Jury emphasized, “in patients who were well beyond 24 weeks.” He induced labor and delivered intact babies. “Thus, the birth of live, viable babies was a natural and predictable consequence.”

Second, “The subsequent slitting of spinal cords, without any consideration for the babies’ viability, was an integral part of what Gosnell’s employees called his ‘standard procedure.’”

There is only one shot taken of the back of a baby’s neck. You see a massive hole.

The makers of “3801 Lancaster” interviewed two women who were aborted at Gosnell’s clinic. One said she changed her mind when she saw several “half-dead” looking patients but was bullied into completing the abortion. The other woman says she was persuaded abortion was a trivial affair and as a consequence went on to have many, MANY abortions. Her guilt and remorse and sadness was transparent.

Both women were women of color. I mention that because the Grand Jury report make it clear that poor women were precisely the women that Gosnell preyed on. The grand jury said Gosnell is a millionaire.

I said that Gosnell is more representative of the abortion trade than the Abortion Establishment lets on. Let me end with this challenge from Henneberger:

Only, on the day of the annual marches marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I want to ask my pro-choice friends whether opposing all regulation is in fact in the best interest of the women I know you care about. Wherever you stand on this issue – and I am a liberal Catholic who is not pro-choice – we agree that what Gosnell is accused of doing exceeds all bounds of decency. But without regulation and enforcement, how can we be sure there aren’t other Gosnells out there?”

Of all days, today is when you should take the time to go to It is a 21 minute, 11 second experience you will never forget.

Categories: Gosnell