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Gosnell attorney says “regular inspections” would have kept Gosnell “from going so far astray”

by | Mar 25, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

Jack McMahon, Kermit Gosnell's defense attorney

Jack McMahon, Kermit Gosnell’s defense attorney

It’s always dicey to base a post exclusively on a story from a single news outlet, doubly so when the topic is convicted murderer/abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

But the Associated Press story author MaryClaire Dale, has done some fine work on Gosnell, who operated the infamous West Philadelphia Women’s Medical Society, so we have reason to trust her account of a panel meeting on high-publicity trials held last Friday at Widener University School of Law.

Two of the principles of the Gosnell murder trial were there as member of the law school panel: His ultra-flamboyant attorney, Jack McMahon, and the trial judge, Jeffrey Minehart, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge. (Except for the last couple of sentences, Dale only quoted McMahon.)

What can we glean from Dale’s account? Several important considerations, which we’ll list and then work our way through. Dale’s lead sentence is

“The lawyer for an abortion provider convicted of killing babies who were born alive said he thinks regular inspections at his client’s Philadelphia clinic would’ve kept him from going so far astray.”

Why is that so, according to McMahon? Because Gosnell was “not a stupid man.” And

“He may not have been at the Mayo Clinic (level), but he would have risen to a higher level of competence … to remain open.”

What else about those inspections, or lack thereof? Dale writes

“Authorities in Pennsylvania had failed to conduct routine inspections of all its abortion clinics for 15 years by the time Gosnell’s facility was raided as part of a prescription drug investigation. …

Okay, but why?

“McMahon said he believes that regulators turned a blind eye to Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic because it was providing ‘a cheap service’ to poor, minority women.”

There was nothing “cheap” about Gosnell’s services. Moreover what came through repeatedly in the Grand Jury report, that Gosnell never treated the rare Caucasian woman who came to his abortion clinic with the kind of malevolent indifference he dished out to women of color.

Before I list the third item of particular interest mentioned in Dale’s story, recall exactly what Gosnell was convicted of and the setting in which these poor women of color gave up their babies’ lives.

He is serving three consecutive life sentences for deliberating aborting viable babies in a manner that they would be born alive and then slitting their necks. Additional years were added for his conviction of second-degree involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, whose treatment by woefully under-qualified staff virtually guaranteed that something like this would happen. (The Grand Jury concluded that another woman had “died of sepsis after Gosnell perforated her uterus,” but there were no records that would prove what they were sure was true.)

So what was that third consideration in Dale’s story?

“Gosnell’s biggest transgression may have been hiring high school dropouts and other unqualified people to act as doctors, McMahon said. The employees performed abortions, administered anesthesia and monitored high-risk patients.”

I don’t know how you quantify the level of “transgressions” of a man who (according to the Grand Jury report) was responsible for the following–and thought absolutely nothing about it:

“One woman, for example, was left lying in place for hours after Gosnell tore her cervix and colon while trying, unsuccessfully, to extract the fetus. Relatives who came to pick her up were refused entry into the building; they had to threaten to call the police. They eventually found her inside, bleeding and incoherent, and transported her to the hospital, where doctors had to remove almost half a foot of her intestines.

“On another occasion, Gosnell simply sent a patient home, after keeping her mother waiting for hours, without telling either of them that she still had fetal parts inside her. Gosnell insisted she was fine, even after signs of serious infection set in over the next several days. By the time her mother got her to the emergency room, she was unconscious and near death.

“A nineteen-year-old girl was held for several hours after Gosnell punctured her uterus. As a result of the delay, she fell into shock from blood loss, and had to undergo a hysterectomy. One patient went into convulsions during an abortion, fell off the procedure table, and hit her head on the floor. Gosnell wouldn’t call an ambulance, and wouldn’t let the woman’s companion leave the building so that he could call an ambulance.

Click here to read the February/March issue of
National Right to Life News,
the “pro-life newspaper of record.”

None of that fell on the shoulders of his underpaid, unlicensed staff. That was Gosnell at his most cavalier, as indifferent to these women’s health as he was obsessed with making millions and millions and millions of dollars.

It is true the Grand Jury report then immediately adds

“Undoubtedly there were many similar incidents, but even they do not demonstrate Gosnell at his most dangerous.

“Day in and day out, the greatest risks came when the doctor wasn’t even there. Gosnell set up his practice to rely entirely on the untrained actions of his unqualified employees.”

But just so we’re clear, was it ultimately the fault of the staff—which was, like almost all of the women who came in, poor and uneducated? Of course not.

What exactly was Gosnell’s “transgression,” in his attorney’s eyes? Was it greed that blinded him to the humanity not only of the hundreds of viable babies he aborted alive, according to the Grand Jury report, but of his patients as well?

Of course. But the invincible conviction that he was on the side of the angels which McMahon also managed to miss, during the trial and since, played a major role in blinding Gosnell to the horror of what he was routinely doing.

As part of the one post-conviction interview Gosnell gave, reporter Steve Volk walked Gosnell through what he had admitted to. Volk wrote

“’Dr. Gosnell,’ I told him, ‘you’ve admitted, on all the major charges, you’re guilty.’

“He was quiet for a long time before saying in a slow, weary voice: ‘No, I’m innocent.’

A moment later

“In an ideal world,” he responded, “We’d have no need for abortion. But bringing a child into the world when it cannot be provided for, that there are not sufficient systems to support, is a greater sin. I consider myself to be in a war against poverty, and I feel comfortable with the things I did and the decisions I made.”

So, Gosnell confessed to everything, denied everything, and rationalized everything away.

Let’s end by returning to McMahon’s comment that, because Gosnell was not stupid (Gosnell himself clearly thinks he is brilliant), “regular inspections” at his abortion clinic ”would’ve kept him from going so far astray.”

Then why do pro-abortionists fight clinic regulation measures with every resource at their disposal? Maybe for the same reason that the clinic regulations that were on the books (weak as they were) were not enforced. Here’s what the Grand Jury concluded

…[T]he Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety. Without regular inspections, providers like Gosnell continue to operate; unlawful and dangerous third-trimester abortions go undetected; and many women, especially poor women, suffer.”

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Categories: Gosnell