Americans were shocked at the murders of innocent babies and other crimes of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. They’re glad he’s going to prison and won’t ever be able to kill another baby, inside or outside the womb.
But if you think that ends the atrocities, think again.
The tragic reality is that there may be other Gosnells in your own state or community. History tells us wherever late abortions occur, there’s a heightened risk of the killing or neglect of babies born alive, and of medical dangers to their mothers.
• For example, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst recently called for an investigation of multiple allegations that Houston abortionist Douglas Karpen delivered live babies during late abortions and killed them by twisting their heads off their little necks.
• LeRoy Carhart, who sued in the U.S. Supreme Court for his “right” to commit partial-birth abortions (now illegal), moved his late abortion practice from Nebraska to Maryland, a state where he can perform late abortions with impunity. A patient of his recently died after requiring emergency treatment at a nearby hospital, and according to a new undercover video tape by the group Live Action, Carhart describes how a baby he aborts softens like “meat in a Crock-Pot.”
• Gosnell didn’t just do abortions at his Philadelphia facility; he also worked at an abortion clinic in Delaware. There, abortionists Albert Dworkin and Arturo Apolinario had their licenses temporarily suspended, and Apolinario is reportedly charged with a crime similar to what first brought Gosnell to the attention of federal authorities – illegally prescribing drugs.
• James Pendergraft is known to Floridians and Virginians for a long and sordid history, including a criminal conviction and having his medical license suspended in Florida four times. But he reportedly has kept his abortion clinics operating by hiring other abortionists to continue performing late abortions. He lost a court decision in 2011 in which a jury awarded $36.7 million for injuries in an abortion in which a baby girl was born alive, but has suffered life-long handicaps. Lifesitenews reported that a witness to the trial said a clinic staffer “cavalierly stated that yes, babies were delivered into the toilet all the time and many times are still alive, wiggling around in the toilet.”
This list goes on and on. It’s time it stopped!
National Right to Life has helped create and pass effective laws in nine states that stop the abuse of elective late abortions. The laws are called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and they ban elective abortions at the stage when compelling medical evidence shows an unborn baby can feel pain.
When our law was passed in its first state, Nebraska, it stopped LeRoy Carhart from doing late abortions there. But tragically, he simply packed up his deadly instruments and began performing abortions in another state.
The lesson is these late abortions won’t end until we outlaw them everywhere!
That’s why we are so excited to announce that U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) is authoring a bill that will ban these abortions nationwide when a baby is capable of feeling pain, generally said to be before 20 weeks in the womb. The first hearing on what will become the nationwide Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797) will be held Thursday, May 23rd at 10:00 a.m.in the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. Please help support this law.
The final week of the political path to death with dignity in Vermont was a reminder of how a cadre of politicians can want something so desperately that they push it through even if abandoning key promises.
For months — no, for years — Vermonters have been told that Oregon’s experience of physician-assisted suicide has demonstrated that extending this compassionate option to persons who want it comes at no risk to the vulnerable.
The mantra has been Oregon. Oregon protections. Oregon data. Everything has worked flawlessly in Oregon, so if we follow the exact model as Oregon, we can ignore the fears of the naysayers.
When the Senate was short one vote in February to pass the Oregon model, it sent a narrow bill to the House that focused instead on independent actions of a patient rather than on prescriptions for intentionally lethal medication. It was roundly criticized for lacking the protections of the Oregon bill.
The House restored the Oregon, active-prescription version. Proponents were emphatic on the House floor that it was because every one of the Oregon protections were locked into place that members could be assured there could be no coercion, no errors in diagnosis, and no one making the choice lacking full informed consent.
When it pingponged back, the Senate still couldn’t muster the votes to pass it. So a few backers patched and pasted an assorted set of new and old language together directed exclusively at gaining the one extra vote needed.
Gone were both the Oregon model and any model that left the doctor out of the role of prescribing lethal drugs. Enter the land of political Oz.
Sen. Claire Ayer, who had been the most vigorous in attacking what the Senate had passed via a floor amendment in February, now pressed for the new hybrid, though acknowledging that it was drafted “on the fly.”
Eradicated by the Senate were fully 29 separate protective provisions that the House had required in its Oregon version, some of them small, some of them huge. Among the huge ones:
— There is no longer any written informed consent required.
— A guardian or an agent for an advance directive is no longer barred from taking the place of a direct patient request.
— There is no longer any requirement that the patient actually be able to “self-administer.”
— There is no longer a second opinion required to assess whether a patient has the rational judgment capacity to make an informed decision.
— There are no requirements for follow-up by the Department of Health. The required review of patient files is gone. The requirement to collect statistical data and publish annual reports is gone.
This last is particularly ironic, because it has been the patient information and report data from Oregon that has been the basis for assuring Vermonters that all is well in Oregon.
The new Vermont bill sunsets even the “Oregon-lite” approach in 2016, then eliminates all remaining structural protections. But there isn’t any data being required to assess how the process works in those first three years.
Despite all this, House members who wanted to see a bill pass stuck by what they had so strongly criticized before: a bill that no longer maintained many of the long-promised protections. Only a few looked twice and voted against accepting what the Senate had done. The winning vote margin dropped from 17 to 10.
Our radical new social policy that endorses having doctors write prescriptions that will kill their patients, cobbled together by just a few individuals from bits and pieces of language drafted on the fly, was passed by two votes in the Senate and 10 votes in the House.
But no, Dorothy. We’re no longer in Oregon.
Rep. Anne Donahue, a Republican from Northfield, is a member of the House Human Services Committee, which passed the Oregon-style bill on a 7-4 vote in April. She was an opponent.
The world just changed. An international consortium of scientists have announced that they have successfully cloned human beings using the process that led to Dolly the sheep. They were able to develop four cloned embryos in a dish to the ”blastocyst” stage, the point in time when an embryo can be implanted in a uterus or destroyed for stem cells. The scientists here did the latter.
This is huge news–reproduction as replication. The door is now open to the development of Brave New World technologies such as genetic engineering and the birth of cloned babies. As I wrote in my book on these issues, Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World:
“We can pursue biotechnology to treat disease and improve the human condition, while retaining sufficient humility and self-restraint to keep ourselves from endangering the intrinsic value of human life. Or, we can hubristically rush onto the very anti-human path warned against by Aldous Huxley, driven by our thirst for knowledge, vast profits, and obsession with control and vastly expanded life spans.
“These issues are too important to be ‘left to the scientists.’ Nor can we afford to allow the marketplace to determine what is right and what is wrong. The stakes are too high, the potential impact on each and every one of us too profound, to remain passive and indifferent to the decisions that are to be made. It is our duty to participate in the crucial cultural and democratic debates over biotechnology. The human future, quite literally, depends on it.”
I will write more extensively about this shortly. In the meantime, hold on to your hats–the culture wars just got more intense and divisive.
The trial of Kermit Gosnell has lighlighted the violence and pain that is associated with abortion. The trial focused on the unspeakable horrors Gosnell inflicted on babies born alive after late-term abortions. But the few inches separating a child in the womb from one outside the womb does not spare a child from excruciating pain during an abortion procedure.
Scientific medical evidence demonstrates that unborn children are capable of experiencing pain, certainly by 20 weeks after fertilization. At this time, all the physical structures necessary to experience pain have developed. Unborn children react to painful stimuli and their hormonal reactions consistent with pain can be measured.
Abortion procedures used at 20 weeks and further into pregnancy, most commonly the D&E method where the child is dismembered limb by limb, are extremely painful to the unborn child. The fact that the unborn child can experience severe pain from abortion provides additional verification that this child is a human being deserving of protection.
In 2011, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that 114 abortions took place in Wisconsin of babies over 20 weeks gestation.
In order to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain, Wisconsin Right to Life is strongly supporting the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act authored by Representative Erik Severson and Senator Paul Farrow. Under the Farrow/Severson legislation, no abortion could be performed or induced unless the physician performing the abortion makes a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child and no person could perform or induce an abortion if it is determined that the probable gestational age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or more. The prohibition would not apply in a medical emergency.
Kermit Gosnell snipped the spines of babies who were born alive after attempts to abortion them. But those babies would have died just as painfully if he had killed them while still in the womb, as is the case in most late-term abortions. It doesn’t make any difference if the abortion takes place in a filthy clinic like Gosnell’s or a Planned Parenthood facility…the result is the same…an excruciatingly painful death. Performing elective abortions on pain capable children is cruel and should have no place in a civilized society. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will protect these children.
Following an epic battle of life vs. death, the State of Vermont passed a law which allows a doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a patient who is terminally ill. Governor Shumlin is expected to sign the measure into law. A strong, committed coalition of opponents, which included Wisconsin Right to Life, fought valiantly for over 10 years to keep doctor-prescribed suicide at bay. The 2012 elections and a Governor who ran on a platform of doctor-prescribed suicide prevailed, and Vermont will now join Washington and Oregon as states where doctors can prescribe lethal meds.
The new Vermont law is crafted after the Oregon law but has a sunset provision which allows government guidelines to expire after three years, leaving doctors free to do as they please. Guidelines in Oregon have proven to be weak, but Vermont will not even have those.
Doctor-prescribed suicide is the prelude to euthanasia and a recipe for elder abuse. Vulnerable patients can be pressured or coerced into requesting suicide pills. Since no medical person is required to be present when the hundreds of pills are taken, a person who will benefit from the patient’s death could be complicit in the death. In Oregon, two patients who requested payment for chemotherapy from the Oregon health department were denied and instead told the State would pay for suicide pills, even though the patients did not request them. Suicide rates are rising nationwide, especially in Oregon, which can be viewed as a natural outcome when suicide becomes a “good.”
Wesley J. Smith predicts that “as the doctor-prescribed death movement advances, its proffered restrictions get progressively weaker.” Activity in numbers of states to legalize death is an ominous trend which must be aggressively fought as Wisconsin Right to Life has done and will continue to do in our state.
Kermit Gosnell is guilty, and justice has been done. According to one courtroom observer, Gosnell seemed surprised that he was found guilty, and it is that aspect of his cold attitude that describes the monster he is. If sane, moral people had tried to conjure up the most monstrous abortionist alive, they would have been hard put to come up with the atrocities committed by Gosnell. Our fear that he would be acquitted is unrealized, and America is once again a nation with a conscience which recognizes a grave injustice.
The jury found Gosnell guilty of first degree murder on three counts for killing babies who survived his abortion attempts and third degree murder in the death of the woman who died at his hands. The question is now raised as to why it is perfectly legal to brutally kill babies in the womb, but not outside of the womb. In the abortion context, location is everything, whether it makes sense or not. We look forward to the day when the abortion nightmare is over, and all babies in the womb are recognized in life and in law.
Suicide is in the air. Our culture–particularly exemplified by the media–is becoming increasingly pro suicide. Perhaps better stated, many are now pro some suicides. Indeed, if a suicidal person is sick, disabled, even mentally ill, many believe it is perfectly fine for a doctor to facilitate death through intentional overdose, and many families now support their loved one’s self-killing.
In mental health journals, some writers distinguish between “rational” and “irrational” suicides, with only the latter being something to be deeply regretted and prevented. Movies extol suicides and euthanasia, as in Million Dollar Baby. Jack Kevorkian has been transformed by blatant revisionism from the real-life ghoul he was–driven by the obsession to experiment on living people he was killing–into a compassionate Muppet-like character. Suicide prevention still exists, to be sure, but it receives ever less emphasis in our increasingly nihilistic society.
So, why should we be surprised that there has been a sharp increase in suicide rates in the USA generally, with an even higher spike at Assisted Suicide Central, e.g., Oregon?
New figures showing a sharp increase in suicides across the nation among middle-aged Americans show an even bigger increase in Oregon. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows Oregon saw a 49.3 percent increase in suicides among men and women aged 35-64 from 1999-2010, compared to 28 percent nationally. A 2012 report on suicide trends and risk factors for the Oregon Health Authority found the state’s overall suicide rate was 41 percent higher than the national rate, that rural counties have higher rates of suicide than urban ones, and that white men lead other demographic groups.
It should be noted here that the OHA doesn’t include legal assisted suicides in its suicide rates. So, the actual rate is worse than reported.
When we approve of some suicides, the existentially suffering don’t necessarily distinguish between those that are deemed OK and those that aren’t. There are many other factors at work, of course. But I believe that assisted suicide advocacy helps drive the meme that suicide is an acceptable answer to serious difficulties, weakening the societal bulwarks that sometimes prevent people from bringing their desire to be dead to completion.
Adorable two-year-old Hannah Warren has a new lease on life, thanks to the windpipe doctors crafted using her own stem cells. Without this trachea transplant, Hannah’s parents were told she would likely die.
Hannah was born in South Korea and has spent her entire life in the intensive care unit there, breathing through a tube. The Warrens read about the success of Dr. Paolo Macchiarini in building tracheas using stem cells, but couldn’t afford this experimental transplant surgery which had not been performed on children. A Catholic hospital in Illinois offered its facility and waived its fees, bringing in Dr. Macchiarini to perform Hannah’s surgery. The nine-hour operation took place on April 9 but was just made public. The hospital considers this enormous act of kindness a part of its mission to champion ethical stem cell therapy which does not involve the destruction of human life.
According to Henry Fountain writing for the New York Times, “To make Hannah’s windpipe, Dr. Macchiarini’s team made a half-inch diameter tube out of plastic fibers, bathed it in a solution containing stem cells taken from the child’s bone marrow and incubated it in a shoebox-size device called a bioreactor. Doctors are not sure exactly what happens after implantation, but think that the stem cells signal the body to send other cells to the windpipe, which then sort out so the appropriate tissues grow on the inside and outside of the tube. Because the windpipe uses only the child’s own cells, there is no need for drugs to suppress the patient’s immune system to avoid rejection of the implant.”
Dr. Macchiarini, Fountain writes, “described a look of befuddlement on the child’s face when she realized that the mouth tube was gone and she could put her lips together for the first time. ‘It was beautiful.’ he said.” Hannah tasted her first real food and is reported to be interacting playfully with hospital staff. A beautiful child who indeed has a new lease on life.
“If I talk, maybe people will make sure it won’t happen again.”
That’s what 20-year-old Desiree Hawkins told me last week as she recounted the horror of visiting abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell in December 2009. The jury in Gosnell’s trial for the alleged murders of multiple babies and one woman heard closing arguments Monday afternoon, but they won’t hear from Hawkins.
Hawkins was forced to relive the nightmare of Gosnell’s house of horrors when she was contacted by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent this year. The agent told her that one of the severed feet found in jars at the clinic belonged to her aborted baby. She was set to testify as a rebuttal witness against Gosnell until he chose to not take the stand.
When she was 16, Hawkins sought an abortion at a National Abortion Federation-certified abortion clinic, Hagerstown (Md.) Reproductive Health Services. The clinic told her she was 19 weeks pregnant and referred her to Gosnell. When she recently retrieved her file in anticipation of testifying, she was shocked that her sonogram showed she had in fact been at 21 weeks, which meant she would have been 23 weeks pregnant by the time Gosnell performed the abortion. “I was so overwhelmed and hurt,” said Hawkins. “If I had known I was 23 weeks, I would have (chosen) adoption.”
She also would have avoided the trauma visited upon her by Gosnell. Hawkins described the licensed medical professional as laughing at her during the procedure as she cried and begged him to stop because of the pain. “Stop being a baby,” he said.
Hawkins experienced betrayal anew when she read the grand jury report replete with testimony of government officials admitting they ignored repeated complaints about Gosnell because they didn’t want to limit access to abortion.
Said Hawkins, “What really got me was when the (health department official) just said, ‘People die.’ They just decided to look the other way.” She is passionate that “someone needs to make sure all states’ departments of health … are preventing this from happening.”
Abortion rights advocates have asserted that Gosnell was an “extreme outlier” and opposed legislation to increase regulation of Pennsylvania abortion clinics as they have in other states. But how could they possibly know that this is an aberration?
Last week, Ohio officials shut down an abortion clinic after inspectors found that a medical assistant administered narcotics to five patients, that narcotics and powerful sedatives weren’t properly accounted for, that pharmacy licenses had expired and that four staff members hadn’t been screened for a communicable disease.
This month, a Delaware TV station reported that two Planned Parenthood nurses resigned in protest over conditions at a clinic there. One nurse, Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich, said, “It was just unsafe. I couldn’t tell you how ridiculously unsafe it was.”
Last month, Maryland officials shut down three abortion clinics, two for failings in their equipment and training to deal with life-threatening complications.
Last year, an Associated Press investigation found that Illinois hadn’t inspected some abortion clinics for 10 to 15 years. After state health officials reinvigorated their clinic inspections in the wake of Gosnell, inspectors closed two clinics, including one fined for “failure to perform CPR on a patient who died after a procedure,” according to AP.
Such problems wouldn’t be a shock to Pennsylvania state Rep. Margo Davidson, the only member of the Democratic black caucus to vote for the abortion-regulation bill passed there. She told me, “We don’t know how many (Gosnells) there are. I’m not trying to overturn Roe v. Wade, but if a woman makes this difficult choice, she should at least be afforded the highest level of care.” She said the choice community knew what was going on and did nothing.
Indeed, the grand jury found that the National Abortion Federation inspected Gosnell’s clinic, refused to certify him, but didn’t tell anyone. Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood representative Dayle Steinberg has admitted that its officials knew the clinic was unsafe after women complained. What did they do? “We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health.”
Davidson concluded that for the choice community, “the institution was more important than the individual lives.” Davidson knows firsthand what can happen when people choose to look the other way: Her 22-year-old cousin died after an abortion at Gosnell’s clinic.
Kirsten Powers is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, a Fox News political analyst and columnist for The Daily Beast.
As the trial of Kermit Gosnell stretches into its sixth week, the atrocities reported by eyewitness on the stand are horrendous. Volumes can and have been written about each one, but I will touch on highlights here:
A former staffer testified that Gosnell and his staff once tossed a breathing baby who survived an abortion into a shoe box.
The same staffer stated that she witnessed at least 10 babies breathing after botched abortions who died when their spinal cords were cut with scissors. She took photos of these children, the filth in the abortion clinic and one of the baby boy tossed into the shoe box.
Babies were heard moaning or screaming when born alive after the botched abortions and saw babies jump when stabbed.
Witnesses testified that Gosnell had sub-standard practices, used outdated and filthy equipment, hired people with no medical training, and reused disposable curettes to do abortions.
Patient records were covered with blood.
Gosnell showed no remorse over emotional testimony about the overdose death of one of his patients.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health failed to inspect Gosnell’s clinic for many, many years.
Gosnell is a monster and his story that of which books are written and movies are made. Will Gosnell be convicted? Will anyone expose his practice to the public? Time will tell.