Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Safe and Legal Death from 1972

"Roxanne" is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a safe and legal abortion.

According to Life Dynamics, Roxanne was 17 years old when she decided to take advantage of New York's new abortion law, and traveled there from Michigan to have a first-trimester abortion in a doctor's office.

The doctor gave her sedatives and local anesthesia to begin the abortion on May 13, 1972. But before the abortion could be started, Roxanne started to have convulsions and went into cardiac arrest.

Roxanne was taken to an area hospital, but she was declared dead on arrival.

An investigation into the case revealed that the doctor had exceeded the recommended dose of the local anesthesetic.

Friday, May 09, 2014

1901: Husband and Doctor Arrested for Abortion Death

On May 9, 1901, Jessie Matteson, a homemaker, died from an illegal abortion in Chicago.

Jessie's husband, Guy, was arrested, as was Dr. J.B. Butts, who was held by Coroner's Inquest on May 16.

The charges were dropped by a judge in June.

Jessie's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Note, please, that with ordinary public health issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.
external image Illegals.png

Thursday, May 08, 2014

VERIFIED: Gosnell Got "Snipping" Idea at NAF Seminar

In an earlier post, "Snipping" and Why the Left Must Silence Us on Gosnell, I reiterated my theory that serial murderer / abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell got the idea of killing a baby by taking scissors to the back of its neck from Martin Haskell's D&X presentation paper to the National Abortion Federation.  In that presentation, Haskell taught this prestigious group of highly reputable providers how to use his new and improved abortion method. This method, like Gosnell's preferred method, involved getting the fetus out entirely in one piece. You might have heard this procedure referred to as "partial birth abortion."

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.
Highlighted copy of Martin Haskell's D&X presentation paper at the National Abortion Federation. Highlighted sections show how the scissors are to be inserted into the back of the baby's neck, and note the use of the term "fetal demise."
Martin Haskell's presentation paper from the NAF seminar
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.

.... 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 then took Haskell's procedure and modified it to fit his own practice.
... 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...

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.
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.

How much sense does this make? Baby almost out of the mother's body when killed = "reproductive health care." Baby entirely out of the mother's body when it's killed = first degree murder. Question abortion.
Illustration of the logistical difference
between an extraction abortion, promoted
by the National Abortion Federation, and
Gosnell's practice of "snipping."
A reality that became clear during the trial was difficult for Volk to come to grips with.
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.

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.
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.

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:
*Steve Volk, Gosnell's Babies: Inside the Mind of America's Most Notorious Abortion Doctor, a Philadelphia Magazine E-Book, Metro Corp. 2013

Gosnell Clinic: Even Nastier Than the Grand Jury Reported

After the trial of abortionist/serial murderer Kermit Gosnell was over, the judge lifted a gag order and for the first time allowed investigators to speak of what they found there.

Gosnell Grand Jury ReportThe Grand Jury's report was gruesome enough, including:
  • a flea-infested cat roaming the facility
  • cat feces on the stairs
  • dirty recliners where patients lay covered with blood-stained blankets
  • dusty and corroded medical equipment
  • crusted blood on the procedure room table
  • fetal remains stored in bags, orange juice cartons, and even cat-food containers
  • a row of specimen jars containing the severed feet of aborted babies
But what police officer John Taggart remembers is the stench of death -- and the sinks clogged with fetal remains. Taggart said that when they plunged the break-room sink, "an arm popped up on Lancaster Avenue.

Flushing fetal remains down the plumbing is not unique to Gosnell's "house of horrors."
  • A car dealership in Houston called the Health Department about fetal remains that had backed out of the sewer onto their lot from the abortion clinic next door.
  • A Delaware plumber reportedly told investigators that he installed an "industrial gauge" garbage disposal at Brandywine Valley Women's Center. Employees told investigators that they routinely flushed 8 - 20 week fetuses down the disposal. Director Eric Harrah was reportely fined $43,000 after amitting that he allowed fetuses to be flushed down the garbage disposal at Brandywine and its affiliated Delta Women's Clinic, a National Abortion Federation member facility. (Sources: Wilmington News Journal 12-3-94, 12-4-93, 12-15-93, 8-22-93, 4-16-94, Philadelphia Inquirer 7-11-93)
  • Abortionist Lawson Akpulonu got in trouble after, among other things, the Medical Board found: "Employees were trained to dump tissue jars into the sink and run the contents through the garbage disposal." (Source: Medical Board Accusation No. D-5286 OAH. No. L-63123)
  • An employee of William Malcom Knarr reported that she found a four-inch fetus in the garbage disposal at his clinic. (Source: Affidavit of S.M. dated 10-22-92)
  • Sidney Knight got in trouble when the Department of Public Works reported that fetuses were disposed of by grinding them and flushing them into the sanitary sewer system. (Source: - DPW letter 12-29-89)
Nastiest of all, abortionist Curtis Stover filed an affidavit stating that he vomited after observing abortionist James Park's method of disposing of aborted fetuses of 15 to 22 weeks gestation: he ground them up with a standard kitchen meat grinder and flushed the tissue down the sink. Stover said the fetuses came out "like multiple tubes of pink toothpaste." In a letter to the health department, Stover stated that Parks told him he had developed this method because the fetuses would "stop up" the toilet and because he did not want fetuses retrieved from the trash by pro-lifers. (Sources: letter by Stover dated 6-15-92, affidavit by Stover dated 6-15-92; Up The Creek 9-11-92; excerpt from Parks' deposition 2-4-91 Arapahoe County District Court Case No. 90CV432)

We need to awaken this country to the reality of what is done behind closed doors in the name of "reproductive health care." A contribution to GosnellMovie.com will help to make a TV movie about Gosnell's crimes -- and the complicity that allowed Gosnell to thrive while women and children suffered and died. This venue can present the story to the maximum number of people. Funding need not set you back any more than $1 -- less than the cost of a cup of coffee or a bottle of water. If you can't contribute, or have already contributed funding, keep in mind that both prayer and spreading the word about the project are also vital contributions to the efforts. Together we can wake up a sleeping nation.

For more about why it's vital that the Gosnell movie be made, read:

One Illegal, Three Safe and Legal, All Equally Dead

On May 8, 1928, 27-year-old Margaret Barnts died from a criminal abortion performed by Pauline Zickerman or Nickelman. (The name is given two different ways in the source, perhaps due to illegible handwriting on their original source documents.) The defendant was indicted for felony murder on May 15, 1928. Her profession is not mentioned.

Twenty-four-year-old Maura Morales was eight weeks pregnant when she went to Woman's Care Center for a safe and legal abortion on May 8, 1981. When she was in the recovery room, her heart went into spontaneous ventricular fibrillation -- irregular heartbeats not capable of effectively pumping blood. Maura was taken to a hospital, but died that day. Maura was the fourth woman to die at the same facility. The others were Shirley Payne, Myrta Baptiste, and Ruth Montero

Claudia Caventou, age 33, underwent a safe, legal first-trimester abortion at Mercy Medical Clinic in Los Angeles on May 8, 1986, performed by H. N. Fahmy. Claudia's boyfriend was in the waiting room during the procedure. Staff told him that everything was okay, and suggested that he leave and get something to eat. Since he'd heard Claudia screaming earlier, he decided to stay. Several hours later, he heard the doctor come out and tell his staff to call 911. Claudia was taken to a hospital where she underwent emergency surgery for what doctors thought was a perforated uterus. It turned out that Claudia's pregnancy had been in her fallopian tube, which had ruptured during the abortion. Efforts to save Claudia were futile, and she died later that day. Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually //more// likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners.

Antonesha Ross
On May 8, 2009, 18-year-old Antonesha Ross underwent a 13-week abortion Women's Aid Clinic of Lincolnwood, Illinois. Dr. Josephine Kamper performed the abortion, while CRNA Lawrence Hill administered anesthesia. During the abortion, Antonesha's blood oxygen saturation fell to between 80% and 90%, and she began to cough up blood through her mouth and nose. An employee gave her a bag to breathe into. Needless to say, this wasn't any help, and Antonesha went into cardio-respiratory arrest. She was not provided with proper resuscitation, and she died, leaving behind 1 1/2-year-old Antonio and 6-month-old Antwane. Her parents, Maria and Anthony Ross, sued on behalf of the children, and accepted the settlement of annuities offered by the defendants.

The Gosnell Patient Who Barely Escaped With Her Life

Kermit Gosnell
Kermit Gosnell
The story of how 38-year-old Dana Haynes nearly lost her life is taken from the Grand Jury Report on Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

Dana went to Gosnell for an abortion in November of 2006. She was nearly 17 weeks pregnant. She said that no one counseled her about the abortion – and that no one had counseled her before three other abortions performed at Gosnell’s clinic

This lack of counseling was a violation of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, which requires that a doctor give information about risks and alternatives to a woman at least 24 hours prior to her abortion. This is that she will have time to reflect on what that information means for her without the pressure of already being expected to follow through with the procedure that same day.

Gosnell inserted laminaria dilators into Dana's cervix on November 10, 2006. These dilators absorb fluid and expand overnight. 

Dana arrived at the clinic the next afternoon and was given some Valium and medicine to help her cervix to further dilate. At 7:45 p.m., when she was taken to the procedure room, she called a cousin to tell her that she would be ready to leave soon.

Torn procedure table and dirty, dusty equipment in Kermit Gosnell's procedure room
Medical equipment in Gosnell's
procedure room
In the procedure room, one of Gosnell’s sons inserted an IV and administered anesthesia. Dana said she remembered Gosnell entering the room and talking to his son, but after that, she said, "everything else is a blur." When she woke up, she was in the hospital with her family around her. 

What had happened?

Dana's cousins said that when they first arrived to pick her up at 8:00 p.m., they rang the buzzer on the clinic’s front door, but were told that Dana was not ready and that they could not come inside to wait. The cousins went across the street to get pizza and returned an hour later. Again, the clinic staff refused to admit them. This went on for several hours as the cousins watched a continuous flow of people enter and leave the building.

Finally, sometime after midnight, the cousins threatened to call the police if they were not allowed into the building. A clinic employee then told them to wait a minute and eventually let them in.

Once inside, the cousins demanded to see Dana right away rather than wait until Gosnell would be available to talk to them. The worker who had admitted them escorted them to the back of the building where they found Dana alone, lying on a recliner, with no supervision, no monitoring equipment, and no pants. She was covered with a throw blanket and there was blood on the floor around her. She was slumped over and was completely unresponsive when they tried to arouse her.

Custom: 75mg Dem - 12.5mg Prom. 10mg Diaz. Twilight: 75mg Dem - 12.5mg Prom 7.5mg Diazz. Heavy: 50mg Dem - 12.5mg Prom. 5mg Diaz. Local: 10nalb - 12.5mg Prom
Drug dosage chart created by 15-year-old
Ashley Baldwin for use by other staff
at Gosnell's clinic.
Gosnell appeared about five minutes later. He told them she was heavily sedated because she had just had the abortion – which they knew was false because she had called them at 7:45, when the procedure was about to start. He told them that there had been complications and that he had been unable to remove the entire fetus. He insisted there was no need to call an ambulance, but they demanded that he do so.

Gosnell employee Kareema Cross testified that, after having problems performing Dana's abortion, Gosnell had placed her in the recovery room while he performed abortions on other patients. He had kept Dana waiting for hours because he wanted to try to treat the complication himself. By the time Dana's cousins rescued her from the recovery room, Gosnell had tried at least twice, unsuccessfully, to complete the abortion.

Dana was transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. There, doctors discovered that Gosnell had left most of the fetus inside her uterus and had perforated her cervix and bowel. She required surgery to remove five inches of bowel, needed a large blood transfusion, and remained hospitalized for five days.

Karnamaya Mongar
Karnamaya Mongar
As horrible as Dana's experience was, she was fortunate. Semika Shaw had entrusted her life to Kermit Gosnell six years earlier and had died in agony after being sent home with untreated injuries. Three years after Dana's abortion, Karnamaya Mongar entrusted her life to Gosnell and instead of being just doped into a stupor, she was drugged to death.

The kind of butchery that went on in Gosnell's clinic went on for decades because people in authority, who could have closed the place down, made a political decision to turn a blind eye in the name of "abortion access."

We need to awaken this country to the reality of what is done behind closed doors in the name of "reproductive health care." A contribution to GosnellMovie.com will help to make a TV movie about Gosnell's crimes -- and the complicity that allowed Gosnell to thrive while women and children suffered and died. This venue can present the story to the maximum number of people.
Funding need not set you back any more than $1 -- less than the cost of a cup of coffee or a bottle of water. If you can't contribute, or have already contributed funding, keep in mind that both prayer and spreading the word about the project are also vital contributions to the efforts. Together we can wake up a sleeping nation.

For more about why it's vital that the Gosnell movie be made, read:

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Mystery Abortion, 1905; Safe and Legal, 1980

On May 7, 1905, Mrs. Hannah Calhoun died in Peoria, Illinois, from fever and blood poisoning attributed to an abortion. At first, Dr. J. W. Parker and his assistant, Dr. John Peattie, were held in the death. Then the Grand Jury held from Sophia Spellman, Hannah's mother. Her testimony, to the effect that Parker had only been called in to attend to Hannah after she had taken ill, was enough to lead the Grand Jury to exonerate the men, though they were reputed abortionists. Parker had been charged in another abortion, evidently not fatal, several years earlier. Hannah's mother would not concede that Hannah had aborted the pregnancy, but said that if there had been an abortion performed, Hannah must have done it herself.

Life Dynamics lists 34-year-old Marie Gibson on their "Blackmun Wall" of women killed by legal abortions. She died on May 7, 1980. LDI put together the following information on Marie's death:  She had been admitted to Anderson Memorial Hospital in Anderson, SC, because of an intestinal obstruction some time in 1980. She was pregnant at the time, so an abortion was performed in an effort to improve her condition for some rationale I don't understand. She developed adult respiratory distress syndrome and shock and died. Her doctor attributed the death to an amniotic fluid embolism. No autopsy was performed.

Kermit Gosnell and the Milgram Experiment

Mug shots of Kermit Gosnell and his employees
Kermit Gosnell, Pearl Gosnell, Elizabeth Hampton
Sherry West, Adrine Moton, Tina Baldwin
Steven Massof, Maddline Joe, Elleen O’Neil
Most people, when confronted with the Kermit Gosnell scandal, can not seem to wrap their minds around how Gosnell's employees could participate in such a barbaric practice as "snipping" the spinal cords of live-born babies. Certainly members of the Grand Jury expressed astonishment. The explanation, however, should be obvious to anybody familiar with the Milgram Experiment.

Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a series of experiments which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience. Participants were instructed to give what they believed were a series of increasingly painful electrical shocks to another person. More than half of the participants obeyed the experimenter to the end -- administering what they'd been made to believe were lethal shocks.

Millgram summed up his findings:

Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.

Kermit Gosnell's employees, fortunate to be have jobs in a city with an unemployment rate of nearly 11%, were being reassured by their boss that they were doing nothing wrong in "snipping" babies. Tina Baldwin testified that Gosnell had told her this was simply how such procedures were done, that this was “part of the demise.”
At one point in his Grand Jury testimony, Steve Massof tried to suggest that the clinic’s practice of cutting babies’ spinal cords was somehow part of a late-term procedure called intact dilation and extraction (IDX), commonly referred to as “partial birth abortion” and banned under federal law since 2007. In an intact dilation and extraction, which was used most often to abort pregnancies beyond 17 weeks, the fetus was removed from the uterus as a whole. In order for the head to pass through the cervix without damage to the mother, the doctor would collapse the fetal skull by making an incision at the base of the neck and suctioning the contents. This procedure was done while the baby was still inside the mother.
How much sense does this make? Baby almost out of the mother's body when killed = "reproductive health care." Baby entirely out of the mother's body when it's killed = first degree murder. Question abortion.
Illustration of the logistical difference
between an extraction abortion, promoted
by the National Abortion Federation, and
Gosnell's practice of "snipping."
Let's pause a moment and allow Martin Haskell, who popularized the D&X ("IDX" or "partial birth abortion") technique, describe the procedure. He presented a video of the procedure to his fellows at the National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar in Dallas in 1992, and received a standing ovation for his pioneering work in "reproductive health care." The following is taken verbatim from his presentation paper:
With a lower extremity in the vagina, the surgeon uses his fingers to deliver the opposite lower extremity, then the torso, the shoulders and the upper extremities. The skull lodges at the internal cervical os. Usually there is not enough dilation for it to pass through. The fetus is oriented ...spine up.

At this point, the right-handed surgeon slides the fingers of the left had along the back of the fetus and 'hooks' the shoulders of the fetus with the index and ring fingers (palm down). Next he slides the tip of the middle finger along the spine towards the skull while applying traction to the shoulders and lower extremities. ….

While maintaining this tension..., the surgeon takes a pair of blunt curved Metzenbaum scissors in the right hand. He carefully advances the tip, curved down, along the spine and under his middle finger until he feels it contact the base of the skull under the tip of his middle finger.

Reassessing proper placement …, the surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull.... The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents. With the catheter still in place, he applies traction to the fetus, removing it completely from the patient.

The surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull.How significant is the difference between the technique Haskell was teaching to a seminar of the most reputable abortion providers in the world and the technique Kermit Gosnell taught to his ragtag staff?

I believe that Massof was truly testifying as to what Gosnell had told his staff. Gosnell reassured them that this was all okay, just part of "ensuring fetal demise." And really, think about it: How significant is the difference between plunging scissors into the baby's neck just prior to completing the delivery and plunging scissors into the same baby's neck just after completing the delivery? It's the same baby, wriggling in your hands. 

Haskell, during his presentation, joked that the baby sometimes "helps" by wrapping her little arms and legs around his hand as he's steadying the child in preparation for the fatal plunge.How great a leap of conscience -- how great a distinction between "reproductive health care" versus capital murder -- if it's purely a matter of seconds and inches?

In their own descriptions of how they grow accustomed to the gruesome work at abortion, practitioners in perfectly ordinary legal abortion facilities describe what sounds very much like a real life example of the Millgram effect. Practitioners experience dismay, shock, horror, and moral revulsion about what they're doing to the unborn babies, and they train themselves to continue to do so anyway. Consider these admissions by practicing abortionists:
When performing a D&E abortion, the gynecologist is aware of being the active agent in the procedure. On the one hand, the doctor is sparing the patient the pain and emotional distress of the amnio abortion. On the other hand, he or she is the one who is crushing and dismembering the fetus in a D&E procedure, which can be emotionally disturbing… As the doctor tends to take responsibility and assume guilt for the procedure, she or he may have disturbing and recurrent ruminations or dreams. Doctors have found that these negative reactions decrease as they get used to the procedure....*
The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.Nobody wants to perform abortions after ten weeks because by then you see the features of the baby, hands, feet. It’s really barbaric. Abortions are very draining, exhausting, and heartrending. There are a lot of tears. …  The only way I can do an abortion is to consider only the woman as my patient and block out the baby.**
We have produced an unusual dilemma. A procedure is rapidly becoming recognized as the procedure of choice in late abortion, but those capable of performing or assisting with the procedure are having strong personal reservations about participating in an operation which they view as destructive and violent…We have reached a point in this particular technology where there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator. It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like electric current…***
Is it really that surprising that once people get used to working in an abortion clinic, once they can get accustomed to dismembering a living fetus at 12, 16, 20 weeks, people can become accustomed to "snipping" the spine of a live-born infant at 22, 24, 26 weeks? If wrenching the arms off a wriggling fetus while monitoring its heartbeat on an ultrasound machine is just a form of health care, how wrong can it be to do a quick "snip" to a tiny baby's neck?

It struck me that our tolerance of widespread abortion as a society has been a gigantic Milgram experiment. The majority of Americans indicate moral opposition to abortion -- with even 22% of self-identified "pro-choice" Americans consider abortion wrong most of the time. Yet we tolerate it, defend it, practice it, submit to it. Is it really because we believe it's not wrong? Or is it because the designated experts insist that it's necessary? The doctors, the counselors, the women themselves, all morally revolted by the act itself, but participating anyway. Why? well, as Milgram said:
Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.
In the Milgram experiment, it was Stanley Milgram telling the subjects to violate their own sense of right and wrong. For Gosnell's employees, it was their boss. Who is it telling the ordinary abortionists to do what they do? And why? And why do we tolerate it?

We need to awaken this country to the reality of what is done behind closed doors in the name of "reproductive health care." A contribution to GosnellMovie.com will help to make a TV movie about Gosnell's crimes and present the story to the maximum number of people.

Funding need not set you back any more than $1 -- less than the cost of a cup of coffee or a bottle of water. If you can't contribute, or have already contributed funding, keep in mind that both prayer and spreading the word about the project are also vital contributions to the efforts. Together we can wake up a sleeping nation.

For more about why it's vital that this movie be made, read:
* Goldsmith, et. al.; "2nd Trimester Abortion by Dilation and Extraction (D&E): Surgical Techniques and Psychological Reactions.", Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians in Atlanta, Georgia, 13 – 14. October 1977
** John Pekkanen. M.D.: Doctors Talk About Themselves (Delcorte Press: New York, 1988)
*** Dr. Warren Hern, “Meeting of American Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians” OB GYN News, page 196

Gosnell: The One that Got Away & Hope for Others

Ann McElhinney, one of the team currently crowdfunding a movie about serial killer Kermit Gosnell, lost her composure while reading part of the Grand Jury Report on his crimes.

But it wasn't the horror or the tragedy that left Ann so moved. It was the child that escaped, who didn't end up just another tiny body frozen in an empty orange juice carton.

Gosnell Grand Jury Report From the Grand Jury Report:
We learned of another illegal, third-trimester abortion only because the mother changed her mind. In 2004, a 27-year-old woman went to Gosnell, pregnant with her first child. She testified that she was surprised when Gosnell told her she was 21 weeks pregnant. On the first day of what was to be a two-day procedure, Gosnell inserted dilators in the woman’s cervix. After Gosnell had finished inserting the laminaria, the woman asked him what happened to the babies after they were aborted. She testified that Gosnell told her they were burned.

At home, thinking over how Gosnell disposed of the fetuses, the woman had a change of heart. She called her cousin and the cousin called Gosnell to tell him that they wanted him to take the laminaria out. Gosnell said that he could not do that once the procedure was started. And he did not want to return the $1,300 that the patient had already paid. The pregnant woman ended up going to the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania to have the laminaria removed. It was determined at the hospital that she was 29 weeks pregnant. A few days later, the 27-year-old delivered a premature baby girl. She was treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is today a healthy kindergartener.
It's not at all unusual for an abortionist to lie to a woman who changes her mind and wants the laminaria removed.

Abortion victim Tamiia Russell
Lied to: Tamiia Russell
Staff at Alberto "Licensed to Lie" Hodari's abortion clinic near Detroit told the family of 15-year-old statutory rape victim Tamiia Russell that she could not have the laminaria removed and the abortion halted. Hodari subsequently botched the abortion, and Tamiia bled to death.

Nicolette C changed her mind about a late abortion at Douglas Karpen's Houston abortion facility. Karpen not only refused to remove them, but lied to Nicolette and told her that it was impossible to remove them without endangering her life. After repeated scare tactics, Karpen finally sent Nicolette on her way with instructions to find an anti-abortion group in the Yellow Pages. Nicolette sought emergency care at a hospital, where she delivered a 1 lb. 13 oz. infant girl, who she named Ashley. Despite efforts by hospital staff, Ashley died six months later.

Gosnell worked
at a NAF clinic.
I listened to a tape of Karpen complaining at a National Abortion Federation meeting about how the prolifers were annoying him by offering to take his patients to a doctor who would remove the laminaria and allow them to continue their pregnancies. He complained about the patients he was losing that way. He asked for suggestions -- all of which centered around making the patient sign a paper promising that she would follow through with the abortion no matter what. Nobody ever addressed the obvious: If patients are changing their minds even after the abortion is started, maybe the clinic should stop initiating abortions on women who are so uncertain. 

One possible benefit of the Gosnell movie could be raising awareness that as long as the baby is still alive, it's not too late to at least try to halt the abortion. The laminaria can be removed. I don't know if there have been any studies to date that provide data on outcomes. The alternative to laminaria removal, however, is the certain death of the baby via abortion.

Supporting the Gosnell movie just might save a child's life, and spare a mother a lifetime of regret. A contribution to GosnellMovie.com need not set you back any more than $1 -- less than the cost of a cup of coffee or a bottle of water. If you can't contribute, or have already contributed funding, keep in mind that both prayer and spreading the word about the project are also vital contributions to the efforts. Together we spread a message of hope to women who think that it's too late.

For more about why it's vital that this movie be made, read:

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Gosnell and Viability: Where's the Line?

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell
Kermit Gosnell
Last year Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder in the deaths of three of the hundreds of newborn babies he had killed by severing their spines while their mothers lay nearby, overdosed to the brink of death by his accomplices.

Whether Gosnell was guilty of murder hinged on the question of whether he had done the killing before or after the baby had fully emerged from the birth canal.

Gosnell's attorney, Jack McMahon, argued that these killings were perfectly ordinary abortions that accomplished what Gosnell was paid to do, which was whatever was necessary to make sure that the viable unborn baby was rendered lifeless before it left the mother's body.

All of this was so gruesome that even Gosnell's attorney walked away from the trial convinced that the legal limits for abortion should be pushed back to perhaps 16 weeks to prevent any more viable infants from being killed

The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act places the limit for on-demand abortion at 24 weeks. Is that early enough in the pregnancy to prevent the killing of an unborn baby that could survive if born alive and provided with care? We can start by looking at the preemie survival rates at Preemie.web:

  • 22 weeks:   0-10% survival rate
  • 23 weeks: 10-35% survival rate
  • 24 weeks: 40-70% survival rate
  • 25 weeks: 50-80% survival rate
  • 26 weeks: 80-90% survival rate
  • 27 weeks:   > 90% survival rate

    At first blush, one might think that setting the cutoff at 22 weeks would do the job. However, we have to take another factor into account.  Military Obstetrics & Gynecology addresses errors in estimating gestational age: "The accuracy of ultrasound in predicting gestational age gets worse as the pregnancy advances. By 20 weeks, ultrasound is accurate only to within plus or minus two weeks, and by the third trimester, its accuracy falls to plus or minus 3 weeks."

    Ultrasound is the most common method of estimating gestational age in abortion practice. Many women are going in for late abortions because they'd lost track of their cycles and weren't sure they were pregnant at all, so dating from the woman's last menstrual period isn't an option. The doctors are having to rely almost entirely on ultrasound.

    Here are some cases of abortion doctors miscalculating gestation age: a supposedly 21-week baby who turned out to be 30 weeks, a supposedly 11-week baby that turned out to be 27 weeks, a baby that was believed to be about 12 weeks and turned out to be 28 weeks, and a supposedly 6-week baby that turned out to be 26 weeks. I'll recognize, however, that these are unusual screw-ups. I'll just focus on being within the margin of error for a doctor who is taking reasonable care.

    With the range of error of properly performed ultrasounds, a "22 week" baby with an estimated 10% or less chance of survival may just as readily be a 20 week baby with no chance of survival or a 24 week baby with a 40-70% chance of survival. An estimated 20 week baby might only be 18 weeks but might be a 22 week baby with a survival rate of up to 10%.

    Orlando abortion clinic advertises abortions past 28 weeks.
    This clinic advertises to 28+ weeks.
    Different states vary at where they draw the line. In some states, there is no gestational age limit at all for on-demand abortions. The only limit is how late in the pregnancy the doctor is willing to kill the baby. some facilities openly advertise elective abortions past 28 weeks -- babies that have a greater than 95% chance of survival, and who may actually be three weeks older than estimated. They might be as old as 31 weeks, as likely to survive as a term infant, albeit with intensive support during the first weeks after birth.

    Thus, the current state of medical care and ultrasound skill means that to avoid aborting a viable infant, the legal cut-off must be at 20 weeks.

    Of course, regardless of gestational age, if you sever their spinal cords they have a 0% chance of survival. 
  • Filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney have launched a crowdfunding effort to produce a movie about Gosnell's crimes.  Bringing the story of Kermit Gosnell out before as large an audience as possible can move this country toward an awareness of the vulnerability of viable unborn babies.

    For more about why it's vital that this movie be made, read (and don't forget to tweet!):