Last night I stumbled across a bombshell: Verification of my suspicion that the similarity of technique was not mere coincidence. Gosnell himself, in an interview, said that he had attended that presentation and adapted his own variation of Haskell's technique.
My discovery began on YouTube, of all places, where I'd been looking for fresh approaches to the Gosnell story. I found this video, "Steve Volk Discusses his Interview With Dr. Kermit Gosnell."
Learning that Volk, a writer for Philadelphia Magazine, had access to Gosnell was an exciting development. Learning that an e-book was available about what he had learned from speaking to Gosnell whetted my appetite. I went straightway to Amazon.com, bought Gosnell's Babies,* and read it cover to cover. In its electronic pages, I found what I'd been looking for.
Gosnell, then, never questioned whether he should continue providing abortions. But after The Silent Scream, he did feel obligated to reduce the pain he caused. And he carried this thought around with him until 1992, when he saw Martin Haskell deliver one of the most controversial medical presentations in history, at a Dallas conference of abortion providers.
Martin Haskell's presentation paper from the NAF seminar
....Gosnell then took Haskell's procedure and modified it to fit his own practice.
.... Haskell described a procedure in which the surgeon reaches into the uterus with a grasping forceps and pulls the fetus, limb by limb, into the vagina, until only the skull has yet to pass the cervix. As Haskell wrote: "The surgeon then forces ... scissors into the base of the skill," "spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening," and uses a suction cannula to "evacuate the skull contents." In layman's terms, the doctor stabs the fetus in the back of the neck at the base of the skull and uses a Karman cannula or catheter to suck out its brains
... Gosnell looked at this procedure in 1992 and saw an opportunity for mercy. In a technique he evolved over the years, he brought the tips of the scissors together, like a knife, to puncture the base of the fetus's neck. He widened the scissors to open the wound he created, revealing the spinal cord. And he severed that cord, believing this would end every sensation of the fetus, quickly and in the most humane manner possible.Gosnell told Volk more about his use of the "snipping" technique. Just as Gosnell's staff reported to the Grand Jury, Gosnell reported to Volk that in response to the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, Gosnell tried to comply, as other abortionists were doing, by injecting digoxin into the unborn baby's heart.
But even guided by ultrasound, he often seemed to miss. Sometimes, afterward, the fetus emerged, and...During Gosnell's trial, the prosecutor asked a reputable abortion practitioner if other late-term doctors sometimes had a mishap with the lethal injection, leading to the birth of a live baby. She testified that yes, that does happen sometimes, and when it does the baby is provided with "comfort care." It is wrapped in a blanket, she said, and kept warm until it dies.
The arm just jumped. Didn't it? The leg jerked. Isn't that baby ... breathing? And sometimes, one of his assistants asked: Is that baby alive?
No, he assured them. That wasn't a real movement.
|Illustration of the logistical difference|
between an extraction abortion, promoted
by the National Abortion Federation, and
Gosnell's practice of "snipping."
Even with babies at the legal point of viability, 24 weeks, if Gosnell had simply provided "comfort care" instead of snipping their necks, he would have faced nothing more than third-degree felony charges, potential seven-year sentences. The scissors he used because he took them to be "more merciful" are what made him a murderer.
For him, for us, the difference between being a doctor just doing his job and first-degree homicide was, first, a matter of geography: Did he kill the baby in utero, or outside the womb? And, second, a matter of execution: a 5.5-inch-long pair of surgical scissors, or a blanket and time?Gosnell insisted to Volk, as his lawyer had insisted during the trial, that the babies were already dead before "snipping."And try as he might, Volk never got a satisfactory answer from Gosnell as to why, if the baby was already dead, any further action on his part was necessary.
He snipped the necks of dead babies, he claimed, merely to prevent any possible pain reception -- as if dead babies feel any pain at all.In the end, the rationale for anything Kermit Gosnell did strikes one less as rationale than as rationalization. Running the pill mill was, in Gosnell's mind, providing poor people in the neighborhood with the chance to earn a living as drug dealers, thus stimulating the local economy. Operating a filthy facility was simply catering to an underprivileged clientele. A law banning outpatient abortions at or beyond 24 weeks, and mandating that any abortion at or beyond 24 weeks be justified with a "health" claim, was complied with fully by charting advanced pregnancies as exactly 24.5 weeks, mentally "rounding down" to 24 weeks, and reflecting that he'd want his own daughter to be able to obtain such an abortion. As for thrusting surgical scissors into the neck of a freshly-delivered baby, that was a merciful means of preventing pain.
I pressed him on this, explaining that it simply didn't seem credible for a medical doctor to be worrying about the pain experienced by a fetus he felt sure was dead. But Gosnell put me off, saying, "It will take me some time to articulate my answer." He never could explain himself. And his answers seemed carefully couched: "I never saw anything I took as fetal movement," he said.
As crazy as Gosnell's rationalizations sound, how different are they from the rationalizations that abortion apologists make? Far from being horrified at the idea of stabbing a nearly-delivered, living, moving baby in the back of the neck with scissors, the participants who watched a video of Haskell performing the procedure responded by giving him a standing ovation. And lest there be any doubt that the baby in question was moving, Haskell even joked that the baby often "helps" by wrapping its little arms and legs around the hand of the doctor that is about to kill it.
The abortion lobby went to bat big time in favor of the National Abortion Federation and its fully endorsed and enthusiastically promoted practice of stabbing the baby in the back of the neck just prior to completing a vaginal delivery. How can any of us pretend that a man who worked at a NAF clinic was doing something entirely different when he stabbed the baby in the back of the neck just after completing a vaginal delivery?
This schizophrenic rationalization needs to be exposed. Filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney are in the process of crowdfunding a TV movie that will bring the reality of abortion in America -- as exemplified in the practice of Kermit Gosnell -- to the largest possible audience. Go to Gosnell Movie and send a message. It need only cost you $1, less than the cup of a bottle of water or a cup of coffee. Tell the world that we're tired of letting this sort of thing go on utterly unexamined. Pray and spread the word. Support the Gosnell movie. End the silence.
For more about why it's vital that this movie be made, read:
- Gosnell Clinic Even Nastier than Grand Jury Reported
- The Gosnell Patient Who Barely Escaped With Her Life
- Kermit Gosnell and the Milgram Experiment
- Gosnell: The One That Got Away, and Hope for Others
- Gosnell and Viability: Where's the Line?
- Gosnell and Post-Viability Abortions
- Gosnell: Location Can Mean Misdemeanor vs. Murder
- Gosnell: The Grand Jury Convened
- Why "Gosnell" Must be Told: The Compton-Carr Effect
- Why the Left must Censor us on Gosnell: The "Outlier" Lie
- Semika Shaw and Why the Gosnell Story Must be Told