(Embedded links are mine.)
The ultimate non-partisan body – a criminal grand jury – has supplied us with the graphic, 261-page horror story of Kermit Gosnell, M.D., who stands accused of butchering seven babies – yes, after they were born alive -- and fatally doping a refugee from Nepal with Demerol in a clinic that smelled of cat urine, where the furniture was stained with blood and the doctor kept a collection of severed baby feet.
This is a very important thing to keep in mind when reading the Grand Jury Report. This isn't a report by prolife activists. It's a report written by a group of citizens pulled from an eligible juror pool. As the Grand Jurors themselves said: We ourselves cover a spectrum of personal beliefs about the morality of abortion. For us as a criminal grand jury, however, the case is not about that controversy; it is about disregard of the law and disdain for the lives and health of mothers and infants. We find common ground in exposing what happened here, and in recommending measures to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.
Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.
Not even, I might note, prolifers who should have known better than to trust government agencies and prochoice organizations to look out for the well-being of abortion-vulnerable women.
So too with the National Abortion Federation. NAF is an association of abortion providers that upholds the strictest health and legal standards for its members.
Or at least they say they do. More on that as I address the next paragraph:
Despite his various efforts to fool her, the evaluator from NAF readily noted that records were not properly kept, that risks were not explained, that patients were not monitored, that equipment was not available, that anesthesia was misused.
*When NAF member Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health was inspected after the death of patient K.B., her chart listed her post-operative condition as "pink, responsive, alert," even though she had gone into full cardio-respiratory arrest by the time indicated on the assessment. Inspectors learned that the note had been entered into the chart before the abortion was even performed.
*After Christi Stile was left in a vegetative state during an abortion at the Mayfair NAF member in Aurora, Colorado, an inspection found the clinic had no record of Christi's vital signs being recorded during the abortion.
*Multiple patients who underwent abortions at NAF member Eastern Women's Center reported that the were not given informed consent. J.R., age 30, alleged lack of informed consent, lack of information about alternatives, and injury from abortion and IUD removal performed on March 23, 1984 by Dr. Jeng at Eastern in Manhatten. Jeng failed to diagnose J.R.'s ectopic pregnancy even though her pathology report indicated no products of conception and a subsequent pregnancy test was positive. The ectopic ruptured, causing shock, leading to hospital admission and removal of J.R.'s right tube. Settled for $ 190,000.
*The family of Deanna Bell, who died of a Brivitol overdose at a NAF member clinic, alleged lack of informed consent.
*The parents of Denise Montoya, who died after an abortion at a NAF clinic, said that the risks had never been explained to the, and they had never been asked to sign a consent form.
*CRASH, where K.B. died, "did not employ proper monitoring equipment or procedures".
*The family of Kimberly Neil, who died after an abortion at NAF flagship Family Planning Associates, noted that she was not properly monitored.
*Shytaura G., age 14, alleged that she underwent an abortion at Albany Medical Surgical Center by Steve Lichtenberg on February 23, 1989. Her attorney faulted Lichtenberg for using "incompetent and unskilled personnel", and failure to take an adequate medical history and determine an accurate gestational age. She suffered a lacerated uterus and cervix. Then Lichtenberg failed to to monitor her condition and stop her extreme bleeding. Shytaura wound up needing a hysterectomy. (Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 94L06529)
*After Dawn Mack's death, NAF member Eastern Women's Center was found to be lacking in necessary equpiment.
*After Regina Johnson died at member Abraham Alberto Hodari's clinic, an inspection found that though Hodari's recovery room was equipped with a stethescope, oxygen bag/valve mask, and digital blood pressure cuff, it was not equipped with an EKG monitor, pulse oximeter, or automatic blood pressure/pulse monitor with alarm for monitoring patients, or with oxygen, a defibrillator, or other resuscitation equipment.
*Deanna Bell died of a massive Brevitol overdose while undergoing an abortion by frequent NAF presenter Steve Lichtenberg.
*After the death of Catherine Pierce at a NAF facility, inspectors cited Atlanta Surgi-Center for administering "the same anesthesia dosages" to patients whose weights ranges from 107 to 167 pounds, inadequate record keeping, and inadequate supervision of patients.
Those are just some examples.
[Gosnell's clinic] was the worst abortion clinic [the NAF inspector] had ever inspected. Of course, she rejected Gosnell's application. She just never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen.
Not only did she fail to report it, a NAF clinic in Delaware still had Gosnell working there -- and apparently taking their patients to Philadelphia -- after the inspection, up until the time his Pennsylvania license was suspended.
"...[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.
Barbara Radford, then-president of the National Abortion Federation, defended the head-in-the-sand attitude the organization took toward safety issues by saying, "We want to make sure that women have choices when it comes to abortion services, and if you regulate it too strictly, you then deny women access to the service."
And a case that made the news 20 years ago now involved New York's Abu Hayat, whom the tabloids dubbed "The Butcher of Avenue A." As it happened, I knew Hayat by sight – and talk about the banality of evil -- because he lived in my building, where I frequently wound up sharing a lap lane with him in the pool.
Neighbor Hayat was a member of NAF.
In 2002, a piece of legislation called the "Born-Alive Infant Protection Act'' began requiring doctors to treat children born alive during abortions the same way they treat other newborns. Initially, advocates for choice adamantly opposed that legislation, too, as an assault on Roe v. Wade.
Gosnell has expressed bewilderment that he's being charged with murder for doing what he was paid to do -- "ensure fetal demise". Would he have felt this great confidence in the rightness of killing live-born infants if there hadn't been so much high-profile prochoice opposition (including that of Barack Obama) to the BAIPA?
On Saturday, President Obama affirmed his support for Roe v. Wade by saying that "government should not intrude on private family matters." But it's a hands-off lack of oversight that allowed Kermit Gosnell to do so much damage before he was finally stopped – by accident, by authorities investigating him for over-prescribing OxyContin.
Perhaps Gosnell himself best summed up the underlying problem at his arraignment, where he reportedly seemed confused by the proceedings: "I understand the one count, because a patient died,'' he told the court, "but I didn't understand the seven counts.'' It apparently never occurred to him that the dead infants – one of them photographed in a plastic shoe box, another kept frozen in a gallon of spring water – were people, too.
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