Sunday, April 05, 2020

Gosnell: The Untold Story - Preface

Stuck at home during the quarantine, I'm listening to the audiobook of Gosnell: The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer, by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer. So far I've written up some background information about why I believe I have something unique to offer in commentary on the book. I followed up with a review of notable instances of press coverage of abortion atrocities. Then came a rant about how the prochoicers seem fine with abortionists breaking the law. In this series of commentaries, I won't be reiterating what Ann and Phelim say, because I think that it's important for people to read the book to get the full context. I'm only addressing areas where I think my odd expertise adds something important.

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

In the preface, Ann and Phelim talk about how the fact that the abortion photos and information in the Gosnell trial were believable to them because they were from the horse's mouth, and were shared under oath.

In Gonzales v Carhart, abortionist LeRoy Carhart was questioned about how he performed the unchallenged D&E abortions as part of his assertion that the law was vague and that an abortionist might inadvertently end up perpetrating a forbidden D&X ("partial birth abortion") during such a procedure. Surely there were press present during the graphic testimony, press present who heard about how D&X had been developed and how it had been performed. Evidently they were not moved by the truth nor moved to share it. Martin Haskell's presentation paper about D&X for the National Abortion Federation was widely circulated. Quotes from Dr. Warren Hern's book Abortion Practice were shared both online and in print. In this book Hern describes the use of scissors to decapitate the fetus. Prolifers brought copies to hearings and town hall meetings and showed passages to legislators. The book was available to anybody who wanted to find out if those prolifers were telling the truth or not. The truth is that they don't want to know.

Abortion Methods

Ann describes abortion methods. She is mistaken in her assumption that potassium chloride is routinely used to stop the heart prior to all abortions. Lethal cardiac injections (often using digoxin rather than potassium chloride) are only ever used in later abortions, typically 20 weeks and later. The injections are performed for three reasons: to allow the baby's tissues to deteriorate overnight so that he or she is easier to dismember, to ensure that the baby is dead on Day One so that the woman can't change her mind before the abortion is completed, and to prevent a live birth and all of the legal troubles such births carry with them. These issues, and the fact that these injections make the fetal tissues and organs useless for medical research, are discussed at length in the Center for Medical Ethics tapes.

She is also mistaken in the belief that suction is the only method used to collapse the fetal skull. Grabbing the skull with forceps and crushing it is also common. Warren Hern indicates that he prefers this method because it reassures him that he has indeed grabbed the skull and not part of the woman's body. Hern recommends emptying the skull prior to removing it because fetal brain matter is, of all fetal cells, the most likely to cause potentially lethal clotting problems if it gets into the mother's bloodstream through small tears in the cervix. I truly wish that copies of tapes of National Abortion Federation seminars were readily available to the public. I would love to make pro-abortion politicians listen to the lively argument between Warren Hern and Mildred Hanson ("Warnie" and "Millie" to their friends) about how to best prevent this complication.

Emotional Responses

Ann talks about weeping at her computer. It's odd that though I've delved deeply into Gosnellesque horrors for over thirty years, few things have brought me to tears: seeing original source documents about women's abortion deaths on the back of a set of "tombstone signs;" reading the death certificates of a handful of dead Chicago women and realizing that since they were all Black women, nobody would ever care; reading the warnings from Takashi Wagatsuma and Yukio Manabe that saline abortions were deadly to women and should be abandoned (somehow making specifically the death of Cristella Forte all the more tragic); and reading the autopsy report of Jammie Garcia. I'm sure there were other times, but those were the real crying jags.

When my clinical detachment fails my default emotion is anger. Strangely enough, my anger is far more often directed towards prochoice enablers than towards the abortionists. I guess that's because I don't expect much of abortionists. They are what they are and expecting them to treat the women like valuable human beings is like expecting Ted Bundy to treat his victims like human beings. It's asking the patently impossible. But the activists who claim that they're motivated by concern for women are the one feeding women into the abortion mills and handing them off to the butchers. What's their excuse? I want to literally rub the noses of various blasé prochoicers in the graves of the women their indifference has killed. I want to scream at them, "This is your handiwork! Are you proud of yourself?" I had to give up on sidewalk counseling because of how my rage would built up. One day the other prolifers had to physically restrain me when I tried to launch myself at the "escorts" who would laugh, cheer, and exchange high-fives as each weeping woman was shoved through the clinic doors. "This isn't a game!" I shouted. "This is the worst day of her life and you treat it as if all that matters is that you score points!" Of course, they just laughed and cheered all the louder. For them, it truly was only a matter of scoring points, with each aborting woman a tally mark in their "See? Women want access to abortions!" column. The women's tears told another story, but the tears were something those escorts wouldn't let themselves see. I couldn't tolerate their attitude. I had to do my prolife work at a distance.

Black Humor

Ann wrote about the clinic workers joking and laughing about the babies. I think that this is just black humor, a way of coping and distancing. When I worked at Life Dynamics we resorted to black humor. When Mark and Dzintra went to a bindery, Dzintra came back with a handful of colorful plastic spiral bindings. They looked like little springs. She carried them into our offices, holding them out to show us and always getting the same response, "Harvey comes in designer colors!" We were referring to Harvey Karman and his "super coils." They weren't a laughing matter, but if you don't laugh you cry and then you can't get any work done. We referred to Ronachai Banchongmanie as "Raunchy Botchamany." Any mention of Scott Ricke ("Icky Ricke") was greeted with someone making a "Pop!" noise in reference to the time he got his hand stuck in a patient. I can totally understand black humor.

Here are more examples of abortion workers joking and laughing about the babies which we documented in Lime 5:

A patient's mother returned to Raymond Showery's Texas abortion hospital several days after her daughter's abortion. She bore a milk carton containing a three-inch fetal head that the girl had passed. One or two weeks later an employee opened the freezer and found the milk carton with the head still in it. A sign had been taped to the carton saying, "Hi, do you remember me?" The carton, head, and sign had been left as a surprise for another employee who was due to return after being off work for a while.

During the April, 1994 National Abortion Federation conference in Cincinnati, participants laughed as they discussed how to respond when somebody asked them what they did with the remains of the babies. Responses included, "We buy a lot of Drano" and "Don't come for breakfast."

For more examples of black humor in abortion clinics, read "Abortion Workers Joke About Dead Babies."  In a graphic video here, abortion workers laugh as they hold up aborted babies like puppets to make them dance to music.

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