Baby Boy A... was a boy born in July 2008 to a 17-year-old we will call "Sue." Sue first met Gosnell at the Atlantic Women's Medical Services, an abortion clinic in Wilmington, Delaware, where Gosnell worked one day a week.
Note: This Delaware clinic was, and remains, a National Abortion Federation member.
The girl was accompanied by her great aunt, who had agreed to pay for the procedure, and who testified before the Grand Jury.
After an ultrasound was performed on Sue, Gosnell told the aunt that the girl's pregnancy was further along than she had originally told him, and that, therefore, the procedure would cost more than the $1,500 that had been agreed upon; it would now cost $2,500. (Gosnell normally charged $1,625 for 23-24 week abortions.) The aunt paid Gosnell in cash at the Delaware clinic. He inserted laminaria, gave Sue pills to begin labor, and instructed her to be at the Women's Medical Center in Philadelphia at 9:00 the next morning.
Again, this all took place in a clinic that a careful prospective patient, wanting to avoid quacks like Gosnell, would be referred to by the National Abortion Federation, or other prochoice organizations, with the assurance that it was a top-rate clinic, with only the best and most professional physicians, providing only the best of care.
Sue arrived with her aunt at 9:00 a.m. and did not leave the clinic until almost 11:00 that night. An ultrasound conducted by Kareema Cross recorded a gestational age of 29.4 weeks. Cross testified that the girl appeared to be seven or eight months pregnant. Cross said that, during 13-plus hours, the girl was given a large amount of Cytotec to induce labor and delivery. Sue complained of pain and was heavily sedated. According to Cross, the girl was left to labor for hours and hours. Eventually, she gave birth to a large baby boy. Cross estimated that the baby was 18 to 19 inches long. She said he was nearly the size of her own six pound, six ounce, newborn daughter.
After the baby was expelled, Cross noticed that he was breathing, though not for long. After about 10 to 20 seconds, while the mother was asleep, "the doctor just slit the neck," said Cross. Gosnell put the boy's body in a shoebox. Cross described the baby as so big that his feet and arms hung out over the sides of the container. Cross said that she saw the baby move after his neck was cut, and after the doctor placed it in the shoebox. Gosnell told her, "it's the baby's reflexes. It's not really moving."
The neonatologist [who testified to the Grand Jury] testified that what Gosnell told his people was absolutely false. If a baby moves, it is alive. Equally troubling, it feels a "tremendous amount of pain" when its spinal cord is severed. So, the fact that Baby Boy A continued to move after his spinal cord was cut with scissors means that he did not die instantly. Maybe the cord was not quite completely severed. In any case, his few moments of life were spent in excruciating pain.
Cross was not the only one startled by the size and maturity of Baby Boy A. Adrienne Moton and Ashley Baldwin, along with Cross, took photographs because they knew this was a baby that could and should have lived. Cross explained:Q. Why did you all take a photograph of this baby?
A. Because it was big and it was wrong and we knew it. We knew something was wrong.
* * *
I'm not sure who took the picture first, but when we seen this baby, it was -- it was a shock to us because I never seen a baby that big that he had done. So it was -- I knew something was wrong because everything, like you can see everything, the hair, eyes, everything. And I never seen for any other procedure that he did, I never seen any like that.
The neonatologist viewed a photograph of Baby Boy A. Based on the baby's size, hairline, muscle mass, subcutaneous tissue, well-developed scrotum, and other characteristics, the doctor opined that the boy was at least 32 weeks, if not more, in gestational age.
Gosnell simply noted the baby boy's size by joking, as he often did after delivering a large baby. According to Cross, the doctor said: "This baby is big enough to walk around with me or walk me to the bus stop."
The doctor released Sue to go home 13 or 14 hours after she arrived. Her aunt described her condition: "She was moaning. She was standing up. She was like holding her stomach, doubled over." She remained in pain for days and could barely eat. When she developed a fever, her aunt called Gosnell. He instructed the aunt to take her temperature and asked if she was taking pain medicine he had given her -- which she was. But he did not have her come in to be checked out. And he did not suggest that she go to a hospital. When Sue started throwing up a few days later, her grandmother contacted a different doctor, who told her to get to a hospital right away.
Sue was admitted to Crozier-Chester Hospital. Doctors there found that she had a severe infection and blood clots that had traveled to her lungs. According to Kareema Cross, who spoke to the aunt, Sue almost died. The teen stayed at the hospital for a week and a half. She became extremely thin and took months to recover, according to her aunt.
You can read here about the National Abortion Federation and the empty promises they make patients. In particular, on their web site, they promise:
NAF believes in setting the highest standards of quality abortion care. NAF's Clinical Policy Guidelines (CPGs) serve as a convenient and readily usable set of systematically developed statements that assist practitioners in their efforts to provide quality, patient-centered care. ....
.... The CPGs strive to allow for individual practitioner choices, patient care concerns, and provide a baseline of quality abortion care.
NAF's Clinical Services Department works with NAF's more than 400 institutional members to ensure compliance with the Clinical Policy Guidelines by conducting Quality Assurance and Improvement (QAI) site visits during which each guideline is addressed. Members who have completed the site visit process receive a certificate of compliance. Members also complete self-evaluations annually and receive a window decal signifying their compliance.
The standards in the CPGs for hiring physicians seem a bit ambiguous:
Standard 1: Abortion must be performed by licensed physicians ....
Standard 2:: All personnel performing abortions must receive training in the performance of abortions and in the prevention, recognition, and management of complications.
They're not very specific, are they?
Then there's something that they only recommend, but don't set as a standard: "Appropriate referrals should be available for patients who cannot be cared for at your facility." Does letting Kermit Gosnell take Sue to his filthy mill count as an appropriate referral?
Nothing else in the Guidelines really applies to Gosnell, I suppose. He was good enough to work at a NAF facility, and what he did under his own roof with NAF patients was, I presume, up to his individual judgment.
The Grand Jury noted that Gosnell's reputation as a dangerous practitioner who ran a seedy, unsanitary clinic was known to "community groups" who had helped some women try to file complaints. Evidently NAF never checked -- or required their member clinic to check -- Gosnell's reputation. The member clinic evidently never checked the facility to which they were allowing Gosnell to treat their patients. And even after the NAF inspector had seen it for herself, and found it appalling, the organization showed no concern for the affiliation between their member clinic and Kermit Gosnell.
The Grand Jury noted that "at least six patients were referred from Atlantic to Gosnell's clinic in Philadelphia for illegal late-term abortions. These patients paid Atlantic for late-term procedures performed by Gosnell in his Lancaster Avenue clinic. We heard evidence that Gosnell would insert laminaria in patients in Delaware and then have them come to his Philadelphia office for the abortion procedure itself.
Note that this behavior is similar to the behavior NAF found so reprehensible in Steven Chase Brigham.
The director of Atlantic Women's Medical Services, Leroy Brinkley, was unconcerned. He did not properly supervise the doctors he hired as "independent contractors" to assure that they were complying with the law. Remarkably, despite Gosnell's long time association with Atlantic, Brinkley only produced three files for patients seen by Gosnell at Brinkley's clinic.
But it's no surprise to me that NAF turned such a blind eye to the way Brinkley ran his clinics, if all he was doing was letting Gosnell troll for illegal late-abortion patients there. Brinkley had nothing on other NAF members, who over the years have included:
Either NAF's standards are pretty low, or they're not very good at enforcing them. Just look at how these women who trusted NAF died.
Yes, I realize that there is also a pretty big story in the way public officials dropped the ball again and again. But the National Abortion Federation insists that these organizations really aren't needed, that regulations and government oversight just make abortion services less "accessible", and "limit choices", and aren't really necessary for safety.