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The Grand Jury’s findings on abortionist Kermit Gosnell and his “grotesquely unsuccessful experiment, which seriously and permanently maimed several women”

by | Mar 28, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

The following excerpt from the Grand Jury’s investigation of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, currently on trial on eight counts of murder, may be the roughest going in the entire 261 gruesome pages. It details what Gosnell did using a horrific variation on his already ghastly practice and how he continually escaped charges.

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Gosnell’s contemptuous disregard for the health, safety, and dignity of his patients continued for 40 years

Page1re-216x300Gosnell’s disregard for his patients’ safety was nothing new. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has records as far back as the 1980s documenting Gosnell’s dangerous practices. For decades, Gosnell did not staff his facility with licensed or qualified employees. He never properly monitored women under sedation. He botched surgeries and then failed to summon emergency help when it was needed. His entire practice showed nothing but a callous disdain for the lives of his patients. As far back as 1972, he was notorious for his mistreatment of the women who came to him for treatment.

Randy Hutchins testified that Gosnell told him about what has been called the “Mother’s Day Massacre.” According to a February 25, 2010, article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gosnell offered to perform abortions on 15 poor women who were bused to his clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972, in their second trimester of pregnancy. Unbeknownst to the women, Gosnell planned to use an experimental device called a “super coil” developed by a California man named Harvey Karman, who had run an underground abortion service in the 1950s. Hutchins related what Gosnell explained to him:

At the time that he agreed to do this, there was a device that he and a psychologist were working on that was supposed to be plastic – basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball. All right. They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman’s uterus. And after several hours of body temperature, it would then – the gel would melt and these 97 things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus, and the fetus would be expelled. 

The problem was that they never tested it. They didn’t test it on any animals. They never did any – any – any other human trials. This was not something that was sanctioned by the FDA. This was just something that he decided – he and this guy decided they were going to use on these women.

Hutchins actually was mistaken in his belief that no other human trials been conducted. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer article, Karman had tested his device on hundreds of Bangladeshi women who had been raped by Pakistani soldiers. Those women suffered a high rate of complications. Nonetheless, Karman brought his “super coil” to Philadelphia, where he found an ally in Gosnell. Gosnell, according to Hutchins, inserted the super coils into the women’s uteruses. The event was filmed and later shown on a New York City educational television program. The Inquirer reported the results of this human experimentation as follows:

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health subsequently did an investigation that detailed serious complications suffered by nine of the 15 women, including one who needed a hysterectomy. 

The complications included a punctured uterus,hemorrhage, infections, and retained fetal remains.

The CDC researchers recommended strict controls on any future testing of the device. . . .

Karman spent two years in court battles in Philadelphia. He was convicted of practicing medicine without a license, but a Common Pleas Court judge overturned the conviction in 1974, saying then-District Attorney Arlen Specter had failed to show which women Karman had treated. 98 

Gosnell – who testified that Karman had done an “innocuous” part of the procedures but not fetal extractions – was not charged with anything.

According to Hutchins, Gosnell told him that he left Pennsylvania for an extended period after the super coil incident. First he went to the Bahamas, and then to New York. Hutchins explained Gosnell’s reasoning: If the State Board of Medicine hadn’t brought any charges against you, all right, and you were away long enough, you could come back and your license was still considered to be in good standing.

Gosnell was apparently correct. The Pennsylvania Board of Medicine ignored his role in this grotesquely unsuccessful experiment, which seriously and permanently maimed several women. The Board overlooked Gosnell’s unprofessional conduct not only in the 1970s but for the next three decades, as he continued to employ unlicensed workers to practice medicine at his clinic, and as his patients continued to suffer serious injuries or worse during abortion procedures.

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