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NPR Covers Gosnell murder trial—not particularly well—but at least it doesn’t completely ignore the trial

by | Apr 2, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

NPRHeadline030213At the same time we’ve written Gosnellclinic54reextensively about the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, we’ve not neglected to mention that the major media—heavy hitting newspapers and the networks—have neglected the trial. With the exception of the local newspaper stories and some stories from the Associated Press, it’s as if the trial of a man charged with seven counts of first degree murder and one of third degree murder vanished down a memory hole.

So when I found that National Public Radio (NPR) did a piece last week, at the same time I was grateful my expectations were (shall we say) not high. While no one who has covered the trial—and the three years leading up to it—will confuse Jeff Brady’s story with tough reporting, it would be unfair not to give, if not one thumb up, at least a couple of metacarpals.

First, the bad news—the horrible first two sentences:

“The Kermit Gosnell story is about more than abortion, it’s also about class and race. For nearly four decades, Doctor Gosnell offered services to a mostly poor and African-American population in West Philadelphia.”

This is taken directly from the playbook of Gosnell’s flamboyant attorney, Jack McMahon. Turn a man who prosecutors say made millions off of illegal abortions into a kind of intercity David Livingston—and inject race into the equation to take the spotlight off of Gosnell. (And never mind that most of the women whom Gosnell aborted were poor women of color; McMahon would have you believe that the prosecution’s case is motivated by a kind of racism. Ugh!)

But the story picks up from there, even though the full horror never makes its way into Brady’s story:

“When authorities raided Gosnell’s clinic three years back, they said there was blood on the floor, a stench of urine in the air and a flea-infested cat wandering through the facility.”

True—but how about the severed feet of aborted babies preserved in dozens of specimen jars that investigator found? Or the women about to have abortions who were not being monitored? Or the fact that the raid had nothing to do with abortion but suspicions that Gosnell was illegally dispensing powerful pills, particularly Oxytocin?

Okay, enough with the bad news. The bright side is that Brady interviewed several pro-lifers, including Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, and State Representative Matt Baker. More significantly is that Brady interviewed someone who is “pro-choice” but voted for the bill that required abortion facilities to be licensed as outpatient surgical facilities and subject to regular inspections. Here’s what Brady said:

“And abortion opponents were not the only ones supporting stricter regulations. State Representative Margo Davidson says her 22-year-old cousin died of sepsis and infection after an abortion at Gosnell’s clinic. Davidson delivered an emotional speech on the State House floor.”

We then hear Davidson saying, “I honor her memory by voting yes on this legislation,” and later  “So that never again will a woman walk into a licensed health care facility, in the State of Pennsylvania, and be butchered as she was.”

The report could’ve been much better but it also could have been much worse. And at least Brady (and NPR) addressed the reason there IS a Gosnell murder trial.

You can hear the report at

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Categories: Gosnell