NRL News

Semika Shaw: the other woman who died at Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic

by | May 30, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. This first ran in April 2013. I re-run it today because Planned Parenthood’s political arm was unable to defeat a pro-choice Pennsylvania state Rep. who refused to look the other way: Rep. Margo Davidson, a Democrat, voted in favor of a law to require abortion clinics to meet the same safety standards as ambulatory surgical facilities. As the story below explains, she had a particularly powerful motive to vote on behalf of woman and against the advice of Planned Parenthood: Semika Shaw was her cousin.

Pennsylvania State Rep. Margo Davidson

Pennsylvania State Rep. Margo Davidson

A powerful confluence of stories, speeches, and videos today helped remind me why the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell is so very, very important.

A number of pro-life Members of the U.S. House of Representatives took to the floor today to lament the tragedies that took place at Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” and to criticize the media for the near-total absence of coverage of a case where both sides have now rested.

The speeches, though brief, were powerful. There are a lot of people who watch the House on C-SPAN and my guess is that many/most of them heard about Gosnell’s murder trial for the first time. As one Member put it, she rose to “raise awareness about the atrocities.”

Most of the sparse media coverage dealt with the murders of seven unborn babies who were aborted alive and then allegedly killed when their spinal cords were split. (The judge threw out three of the first-degree charges, but four remain for the jury of 7 women and 5 men to ponder.)

But there is also 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar who died, according to prosecutors, when Gosnell’s unqualified staff gave her an overdose of Demerol and other pain killers in 2009. Gosnell is charged with third degree murder in her death. [Editor’s note. Gosnell was eventually found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies and one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Mrs. Mongar.]

If you hadn’t read the Grand Jury report (and kept up with the coverage in NRL News Today), you wouldn’t know that the Grand Jury that excoriated Gosnell and the Health Bureaucracy in Pennsylvania wrote extensively about another woman who died at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society.

The Philadelphia Grand Jury that investigated abortionist Kermit Gosnell wanted to know why "Pennsylvania Department of State attorneys failed to investigate a 22-year-old patient’s death caused by Gosnell’s recklessness." That 22-year-old was Semika Shaw.

The Philadelphia Grand Jury that investigated abortionist Kermit Gosnell wanted to know why “Pennsylvania Department of State attorneys failed to investigate a 22-year-old patient’s death caused by Gosnell’s recklessness.” That 22-year-old was Semika Shaw.

Yesterday and today we ran excerpts from the Grand Jury’s report that deal with the death of 22-year-old Semika Shaw. “On October 9, 2002, the Professional Underwriters Liability Insurance Company reported to the State Board of Medicine that it had paid a $400,000 settlement to the family of Semika Shaw, the 22-year-old mother of two who died following an abortion procedure at Gosnell’s clinic in March 2000.” More specifically, she “died from infection and sepsis two days after Gosnell perforated her uterus and cervix during an abortion procedure,” according to the report. “

If you read today’s and yesterday’s excerpts, it’s obvious that those who should have investigated her death hardly took a glance. The headline of a section in the report reprinted ties Ms. Shaw’s death together with what the Grand Jury called Gosnell’s “crime spree that he called a medical practice”: “Before Department of State prosecutors decided not to investigate the 22-year-old patient’s death, they had been told of Gosnell’s many illegal practices.”

As I was looking for something else today, I saw for the first time the statement Pennsylvania State Rep. Margo Davidson made. She was the only African-American to vote in favor of HB 574, a long-overdue bill to require that abortion clinics meet the same safety standards as ambulatory surgical facilities.

She explained she was supporting HB 574 on behalf of her cousin, Semika Shaw, “who was killed at the Gosnell clinic.” She learned of her death when Davidson was asked to eulogize Ms. Shaw.

After her voted in favor, voice breaking, Davidson began by saying, “I believe that I am the only member of this house that was directly touched by the tragedy at the Gosnell clinic.” She ended her brief remarks this way:

“Today I honor her memory by voting yes on this legislation, that seeks to safeguard the health of women, that is long overdue, 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–with her uterus perforated and her death of sepsis and infection, permeating in her body, till she writhed in pain on the floor of her home, to her ultimate death.

“Today I thank the members of this House that supported this legislation for the safety of women.”

As I listened to Rep. Davidson, I thought back to the comments made earlier this week by Gosnell’s attorney. Jack McMahon said Gosnell could not be convicted of third degree murder in the death of Mrs. Mongar because that requires malice, or “conscious disregard” for her particular life.

McMahon said, “She wasn’t treated any differently than any of the other thousands of other people who went through there.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Categories: Gosnell