SIMMONS: A doctor with a perverted view of life and death

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Since March 18, jurors in Philadelphia have been listening to gruesome testimony about what happened inside an abortion clinic.

The detailed testimony is gut-wrenching, whether you are taking them in while digesting a morning bowl of grits cooked in chicken broth or savoring every bite of a comfort dish prepared the way grandma did.

The people who worked there said the conditions of the clinic, the Women’s Medical Society, were filthy and abortions were sloppily carried out, and medical and health offices said the clinic contained the frozen remains of dozens and dozens of fetuses.

One health official who testified said there was “filthy” and “corroded” tubing in medical machines inside the clinic, broken equipment blocking doorways and patients who said they had received no counseling.

Moreover, patients were not connected to devices that measure vital signs.

First laid out for the jury by prosecutors and defense attorneys, some of the most startling facts and revelations include:

• The Pennsylvania Department of Health last inspected the clinic April 8, 1993, until February 2010, when law enforcement conducted a raid following the November 2009 death of a patient.

• A grand jury recommended that Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, be charged with 310 counts of violating abortion laws. He subsequently was charged with murder, infanticide and related abortion and health-care charges. Nine staffers are also on trial.

• Hundreds of babies were allegedly killed during late-term abortions by Dr. Gosnell.

• Defense Attorneys Jack McMahon and James Berardinelli, had Dr. Gosnell plead not guilty and called the trial a “prosecutorial lynching,” and cited an elitist and racist prosecution of a doctor who gives to the poor and helps the people of West Philadelphia.” (More on that later.)

Now, some of you — some of us — are old enough to recall tales from the pre-Roe v. Wade days, when women in general and poor gals in particular seeking abortions sought “back-alley” abortionists.

But consider this case, a case of a woman who simple intention was to undergo a safe and legal abortion.

In Novemeber 2009, a 41-year-old Nepalese woman who lived in Northern Virginia and was about 16 weeks pregnant, ended up at Dr. Gosnell’s clinic after being told by three abortion clinics — two in Virginia — one near her home in Woodbridge and one in Fredericksburg, and a third clinic in the District — that their own cutoff was 16 weeks.

Once at the West Philadelphia clinic, the woman died of cardiac arrest after Dr. Gosnell’s untrained staff gave her too much Demerol to anesthecize her.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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