NRL News

Kermit Gosnell’s “Mother’s Day Massacre”

by | May 11, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

Gosnell50Thanks to the always thoughtful Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, a senior editor at The Federalist, for her post today, “Planned Parenthood and Kermit Gosnell’s Grisly Mother’s Day Celebration.”

Mollie begins by outlining the impossible task Planned Parenthood has when Mother’s Day rolls around. “The fact is you’re in the business of taking the mothers of live, unborn babies and turning them into the mothers of dead unborn children. How do you spin that on Mother’s Day in a way that won’t make people recoil in disgust?”

They spun it as you would expect: “To all who fought for our right to be moms when we’re ready: Happy #MothersDay.”

But Mollie’s column turns to the intersection between Mother’s Day and the upcoming second anniversary of the murder convictions of abortionist Kermit Gosnell May 13).

At NRL News and NRL News Today we’ve written many times about what was–even by Gosnell’s nightmarish standards–macabre. [See and ].

“The Mother’s Day Massacre” took place in Chicago 43 years ago–in other words, before Roe v. Wade was handed down–and has never, ever gotten the attention it deserves.

The following is very tough going. It is excerpted from the exhaustive 261-page report from the Philadelphia Grand Jury whose meticulous investigation of Gosnell’s incredible practice was the impetus for charges being brought against Gosnell and nine of his employees.


Gosnell’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. . . .

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