Posts Tagged Abortion

Lizzie B on Not Surviving Roe v. Wade

22 January 2015

Elizabeth Westhoff’s short but insightful take on “surviving” Roe v. Wade:

survived roeToday is the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade. Nearly one million people will be marching in Washington, D.C. today to show their disagreement with the decision. There will be thousands of signs protesting the murder of the victims of this law, posters of cherubic babies asking that their brothers and sisters in the womb be spared, tiny gold and silver feet pinned to lapels, and banners stating “I survived Roe v. Wade.”

I don’t like that last one. I was born in 1974, so I am part of the group that supposedly “survived Roe v. Wade.” It seems to me, by stating you survived Roe v. Wade, there was a chance you wouldn’t have survived, that your mother considered aborting you. My mother did not consider aborting me.

Read more at Elizabeth’s blog, Pop Culture Catholic, on the blog of the Archdiocese of St. Louis’, Virtual Vestibule.

Elizabeth Westhoff is the Director of Marketing and Mission Awareness for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter



#ANTILIFE Alert: More Craziness from NY

8 April 2014

Report: NY Abortion Clinics Inspected Less Than Tanning Salons

BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
April 7, 2014


New York authorities dedicate more time to monitoring tanning salons than abortion clinics, according to a new report.

The New York Post found that many clinics escape safety inspections for years at a time, even as authorities aggressively scrutinize restaurants and tanning salons.

“Health inspectors regulate 25 diagnostic and treatment clinics and surgery centers that provide abortion services — though pro-choice advocates say there are 225 abortion service providers in New York state.

Eight of the 25 clinics were never inspected over the 2000-12 span, five were inspected just once, and eight were inspected only twice or three times — meaning once every four or six years.

A total of just 45 inspections were conducted at all 25 facilities during the 12-year period.

By comparison, city eateries are inspected every year and graded, while a new law requires tanning salons to undergo inspections at least once every other year.”

The slack oversight surprised pro-life activist Lila Rose, whose group Live Action has performed hidden camera exposes at abortion clinics across the country.

She visited several New York clinics as part of the project and met with clinic workers who advised their clients to poison and drown babies born alive following an abortion. Rose passed along the videos to state authorities but said the Cuomo administration and regulators “stonewalled us at every turn.”

“This is one of America’s most pro-abortion states, with an outrageously high abortion rate and next to nothing in the law to protect mothers and their babies from the industry’s profit-hungry vultures,” Rose said in an email to the Washington Free Beacon. “There is no excuse for this sort of negligence, especially in the wake of mass-murdering Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania and ‘Gosnell-like conditions’ at Planned Parenthood of Delaware. New York is being exposed once again as a partner in the full-throttle attack on the most basic of human rights.”

Activists and conservative lawmakers have been pushing for increased safety regulations and inspections of abortion clinics after Pennsylvania abortionist Gosnell was accused of killing live babies and mothers, as well as operating a clinic covered in fecal matter, urine, and blood. Pennsylvania regulators had not visited his clinic in years due to political pressure.

Gosnell was convicted of multiple counts of murder in 2013 and is serving multiple life sentences without the chance of parole.

Source: The Washington Free Beacon

vicki mckennaThank you to Vicki McKenna radio host of Up Front with Vicki McKenna for tweeting us the story.
Vicki McKenna got her start in radio as a news anchor/reporter and editor in Northern Illinois. She moved to Madison in 1995, where she worked as assistant news director for a Madison news/talk station. In 1996 she won the coveted position as co-host of the morning show on the legendary Z104 FM, then later on the heritage alternative rock station WMAD. After a brief stint in advertising, Vicki returned to the airwaves in 2003 to pursue her original passion in radio.

Vicki calls herself a “converted conservative”, which she credits to her upbringing and a conversation with former Congressman Mark Neumann in her early days of reporting. Her conservative ideology has been honed and refined over the years; now, Vicki passionately advocates a conservative point-of-view on social and political issues, as well as matters dealing with pop culture and everyday life.
McKenna hails from Rockford and Roscoe, Illinois. She did her undergraduate work at Beloit College, and went on to pursue her masters in Sociology at the University of Denver, but never finished. She has received numerous awards for her work in the broadcast medium, including the Illinois Broadcasters Association Award for Excellence. She’s been the recipient of the Wisconsin State Journal/Capital Times Readers Choice Award, Isthmus Newspaper’s Madison Favorites, Fox 47 Viewer’s Choice Award and Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison.
Vicki has appeared on the Fox News Channel, C-Span, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, CNN Radio, ABC Radio news and Wisconsin Public Television.
She is an avid marine fish, eel, reef and snake keeper. Her personal interests include her pets, motorcycles, target shooting and scuba.
Vicki McKenna is a committed defender of OUR Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

You can find Vicki on WISN (Milwaukee) /WIBA-1310 AM (Madison)/WMEQ (Eau Claire)/WLFN LaCrosse Milwaukee/Madison/statewide

Check out her podcast shows HERE
Email her at
Twitter: @VickiMcKenna
Facebook: Vicki McKenna
I Heart Radio: WIBA 1310>/h5>

Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage to End Abortion DAY NINE!

26 January 2014

Posted by Sarah Campbell
26 January 2014 A.D.


January 18-26 2014

Pray with the bishops to end abortion!

On January 22 our nation will mark the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the U.S.
Since that tragic decision, more than 55 million children’s lives have been lost to abortion, and many suffer that loss — often in silence.
Join thousands of Catholics across the country coming together in prayer for a “culture of life” from Saturday, January 18 – Sunday, January 26!

4 Ways to Join

HERE to go to the Bishops site to signup for emails, text alerts and an APP!


Day Nine: Sunday, January 26, 2014


For repentance, healing and peace, in every heart and every nation.

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be


In today’s Gospel Jesus preaches, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And after calling the first apostles, he went around all of Galilee, “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people” (Mt 4:23). Repentance is necessary for healing, but the Lord doesn’t want us to remain stuck in misery over our sins. With healing comes peace and the joy of knowing we are loved and forgiven by God. The message of the Gospel of Life is one of great joy! Our call to live this Gospel is not marked with sadness and despair, but with hope, expectation and exuberant joy. “It is up to you, young followers of Christ, to show the world that faith brings happiness and a joy which is true, full and enduring. … The Gospel is the “good news” that God loves us and that each of us is important to him. Show the world that this is true!” (Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the 27th World Youth Day, March 15, 2012).

Acts of Reparation (choose one)

Spend quality time with a family member or friend; ask them if they would like to help out at a local charity with you.

Say three Hail Mary’s for your parish priest. Without our priests, we could not have the sacraments.

Make a “quiet hour” today, turning off all electronic devices (cell phone, iPod, computer, television, radio, video game system), and retreat to your room.

Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage to End Abortion DAY EIGHT!

25 January 2014

Posted by Sarah Campbell
25 January 2014 A.D.


January 18-26 2014

Pray with the bishops to end abortion!

On January 22 our nation will mark the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the U.S.
Since that tragic decision, more than 55 million children’s lives have been lost to abortion, and many suffer that loss — often in silence.
Join thousands of Catholics across the country coming together in prayer for a “culture of life” from Saturday, January 18 – Sunday, January 26!

4 Ways to Join

HERE to go to the Bishops site to signup for emails, text alerts and an APP!


Day Eight: Saturday, January 25, 2014


For scientists and pharmaceutical employees who help create and manufacture contraceptive and abortifacient drugs: that the Lord will open their eyes to the moral danger and health risks these drugs pose for women and prompt them to work only on medications that benefit human life.

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be


Today’s reading from Acts tells the story of St. Paul’s conversion. Before, he was “breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord.” After encountering Christ, Paul became a “chosen instrument,” filled with the Holy Spirit, and ready to suffer for Jesus’ name. There is absolutely nothing and no one outside of the power of God’s loving embrace. Today we remember the children, the mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and all those who have been involved in or affected by abortion. We entrust them to the unfathomable healing mercy of God, recalling the words of Jesus to St. Faustina: “The greater the misery of a soul, the greater its right to My mercy” (Diary, 1182).

Acts of Reparation (choose one)

Read about a Church teaching you don’t understand in the Catechism.

Make an honest assessment of your “giving finances” – are you giving too little? Make a resolution to give a set weekly or monthly donation to your parish or favorite local charity.

Do you love your cup of tea or coffee in the morning? Fast from caffeine today or try your coffee black.

Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage to End Abortion DAY SEVEN!

24 January 2014

Posted by Sarah Campbell
24 January 2014 A.D.


January 18-26 2014

Pray with the bishops to end abortion!

On January 22 our nation will mark the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the U.S.
Since that tragic decision, more than 55 million children’s lives have been lost to abortion, and many suffer that loss — often in silence.
Join thousands of Catholics across the country coming together in prayer for a “culture of life” from Saturday, January 18 – Sunday, January 26!

4 Ways to Join

HERE to go to the Bishops site to signup for emails, text alerts and an APP!


Day Seven: Friday, January 24, 2014


For elected leaders who oppose any restriction on the abortion license: may God allow them to grasp the brutal violence of abortion and the reality of post-abortion suffering experienced by countless women and men.

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be


On this feast of St. Francis de Sales, let us consider these words of the great saint: “All that we do must be motivated by love and not force. We must love to obey rather than fear to disobey.” St. Francis reminds us that all of our actions must be borne of a spirit of love, and that we find our freedom in living the truth. As we defend the dignity of human life, let us ask St. Francis de Sales to pray for us so that everything we say and do for unborn children and their grieving parents is imbued with both compassion and truth.

Acts of Reparation (choose one)

Go to Confession—today, if possible—or during this week.

Fast from snacking today. Eat three meals only.

Today, go visit an adoration chapel and spend an hour with Jesus.

Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage to End Abortion DAY FOUR!

21 January 2014

Posted by Sarah Campbell
21 January 2014 A.D.


January 18-26 2014

Pray with the bishops to end abortion!

On January 22 our nation will mark the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the U.S.
Since that tragic decision, more than 55 million children’s lives have been lost to abortion, and many suffer that loss — often in silence.
Join thousands of Catholics across the country coming together in prayer for a “culture of life” from Saturday, January 18 – Sunday, January 26!

4 Ways to Join

This year, you have more ways than ever to get involved!

Click HERE to go to the Bishops site to signup for emails, text alerts and an APP!


Day Four: Tuesday, January 21, 2014


For the doctors, nurses and counselors who now know they were wrong in cooperating with abortion: may God grant them the courage to renounce their involvement in the abortion industry and open their hearts to doing his will from now on.

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be


Today we honor the life of St. Agnes, a 12-year-old girl martyred in Rome in 304 AD, during the Diocletian persecution. Agnes never wavered in her commitment to remain a virgin and to give her whole life to the Lord, refusing proposals to marry. Her innocence and heroism facing death helped bring an end to the persecution of Christians in Rome. Following the example of St. Agnes, let us remain steadfast in recognizing Christ, who is Love Incarnate, as the source and summit of our lives. May his love give us the determination and courage to live for him and for others, especially the most vulnerable among us.

Acts of Reparation (choose one)

Go to an abortion clinic and pray, or set aside an hour today to pray for those who are struggling with a decision of life or death for their unborn child.

Pray the Rosary today for someone who has hurt or disappointed you, and ask for the grace to forgive that person.

Instead of donating “old clothes,” offer to buy a new piece of clothing or item a charity is seeking.

Bishops in ND tell Catholics not to donate to “objectionable” groups (list included) via American Papist

16 March 2011

by Thomas Peters

God Bless bishops Zipfel and Aquila, who have taken their responsibility seriously to protect the faithful from being misled by groups that work against fundamental human goods such as life and marriage/family:

Catholics and Catholic organizations should not endorse organizations with “morally objectionable” missions, North Dakota’s bishops said.

Bishops Paul A. Zipfel of Bismarck and Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo in a March 10 statement (PDF HERE) called upon pastors, clergy and the lay faithful to be prudent and just in making their charitable decisions, particularly on issues related to human life and marriage. [CNA]


Here is the list of organizations they singled-out (see the reasons why here):

American Association of University Women
Amnesty International
Crop Walk/Church World Service
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen for the Cure

I would add to this list catholyc organizations that explicitly dissent from the Church’s teaching on life, family and Church doctrine (feel free to make additions in the combox):


For the Catholyc objectional list go to AmPapist>>>here

Time is running out!!

2 March 2011

Call Your Senators Now and Ask Them to Support the Pence Amendment to Defund Planned Parenthood

Posted By Lisa Graas on March 2, 2011

Call your U.S. Senators now and ask them to support the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. Watch this video from Life Report for more information.

Go to to see this important video…hurry, time is running out! Click here…

Lisa Graas is a convert and a single mom of four living chaste-for-life. She has worked in crisis pregnancy counseling for the Archdiocese of Louisville and as a legislative consultant for Kentucky Right to Life Association. Lisa is a Passionist Oblate Associate and a member of St. Augustine parish in the Diocese of Owensboro. She works for the David Horowitz Freedom Center as a writer at NewsRealBlog, Discover the Networks and Front Page Magazine. Lisa is also a contributor at The American Catholic and Wise Republic. Please go to these sites to support Lisa and to her Facebook page here… and of course follow her @LisaGraas on Twitter.
We are proud to have Lisa share her writings here at AlwaysCatholic as they are published at these prestigious blogs. Thank you, Lisa!

Dr.Bernard Nathanson Dead at 84

21 February 2011

‘I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age.’ After putting thousands of unborn children to death, he became one of the great leaders of the pro-life movement.

National Catholic Register

— Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, an obstetrician who oversaw the performance of about 75,000 abortions before becoming a leading pro-life advocate and a convert to the Catholic faith, died at his home in New York Feb. 21 after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 84.

After performing his last abortion in 1979 and declaring himself to be pro-life, Nathanson produced the 1985 film The Silent Scream, which shows sonogram images of a child in the womb shrinking from an abortionist’s instruments, and the documentary film Eclipse of Reason, which displays and explains various abortion procedures in graphic detail. Both films had a significant impact on the abortion debate, solidified his credentials among pro-life advocates and earned him the scorn of his former pro-abortion friends and colleagues.

He also published a number of influential books, including Aborting America, written in 1979 with Richard Ostling, then a religion reporter for Time magazine, in which he exposed the deceptive and dishonest beginnings of the pro-abortion movement and undermined the argument that abortion is safe for women.

He often admitted that he and other abortion advocates in the 1960s lied about the number of women who died from illegal abortions at that time, inflating the figure from a few hundred to 10,000 to gain sympathy for their cause.

In his 1996 autobiography The Hand of God, he told the story of his journey from pro-abortion to pro-life, saying that viewing images from the new ultrasound technology in the 1970s convinced him of the humanity of the unborn baby. Outlining the enormous challenge of restoring a pro-life ethic, he wrote, “Abortion is now a monster so unimaginably gargantuan that even to think of stuffing it back into its cage … is ludicrous beyond words. Yet that is our charge — a herculean endeavor.”

He noted, regretfully, “I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age.”

His pro-life witness could not easily be dismissed as one-sided propaganda since Nathanson had enjoyed such a high standing among abortion supporters as a co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (now called NARAL ProChoice America), and as operator of what he called the nation’s busiest abortion business. The facility was opened in New York City after the state’s abortion laws were loosened in 1970 and abortion promoters realized that the high number of women seeking abortion could not all be admitted to a hospital for the procedure. A freestanding ambulatory clinic, in which abortion and recovery took about three hours, was an innovation devised by Nathanson and his colleagues.

Overall, Nathanson estimated, he presided over 60,000 abortions as director of the facility, instructed fellow practitioners in the performance of 15,000 other abortions, and personally performed about 5,000 abortions, including one on his own child conceived with a girlfriend in the 1960s.

Baptized Catholic

For more than a decade after he became pro-life, Nathanson described himself as a Jewish atheist, but in December of 1996 he was baptized a Catholic by Cardinal John O’Connor in a private Mass with a group of friends in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He also received confirmation and first Communion from the cardinal.

About his baptism, he said, “I was in a real whirlpool of emotion, and then there was this healing, cooling water on me, and soft voices, and an inexpressible sense of peace. I had found a safe place.”

Among those concelebrating the Mass was Father C. John McCloskey, an Opus Dei priest who had instructed Nathanson in the faith over a number of years.

“He was a pro-life prophet,” Father McCloskey said in a recent Register interview. “He saw the whole culture of death coming, and knew that abortion was just the tip of the iceberg.”

Nathanson visited Father McCloskey periodically over the course of a decade, the priest said, and one day in 1994 announced that he wanted to become a Catholic. After his baptism, Father McCloskey said, “He practiced the faith, he frequented the sacraments, and spoke about his Catholicism unabashedly.”

Nathanson later said that he was drawn closer to God while viewing a massive Operation Rescue event, when hundreds sat down in front of a New York Planned Parenthood building, blocking traffic. The sight of so many pro-lifers selflessly sacrificing their selves and risking arrest made him realize that they must be answering a higher call, he explained.

In an epilogue to the second edition of The Hand of God, Father McCloskey called the book “one of the more important autobiographies of the twentieth century,” which documents “man’s inhumanity both to humanity and to his personal self, and the possibility of redemption.”

Another strong factor in his conversion was the book Pillar of Fire, by noted psychiatrist Dr. Karl Stern, who tells of his own journey from Judaism to the Catholic Church. Nathanson studied briefly under Stern in medical school, though at that time he did not know about Stern’s conversion. It was only years later, when Nathanson read Pillar of Fire that he learned off his former professor’s religious views.

Nathanson’s godmother for baptism was Joan Andrews Bell, who had served more than a year in jail for blocking the entrances to abortion businesses.

She said she spoke to Nathanson by phone in February 2011, when he only had the strength to speak a few sentences. “He said he was praying for us, and I told him we love him and pray for him, too,” she said.

“He will be remembered as a very strong advocate for the babies,” she continued. “One factor stood out, knowing him over the years, and that was that he had a deep pain for what he had done in terms of abortion. I remember there were periods he was fasting; he underwent huge amounts of fasting to make up for it.”

She said that he had “a deep and tender heart,” and that once he saw the truth about abortion, he was determined to stop it. “He was like St. Paul, who was a great persecutor of the Church, yet when he saw the light of Christ, he was perhaps the greatest apostle for the Gospel. Dr. Nathanson was like that after his conversion. He went all around the world talking about the babies and the evils of abortion. Being his godmother was such an amazing thing, to see him come to Christ.”

Nathanson was married and divorced three times before being married in the Church by Father McCloskey soon after becoming a Catholic. His wife, Christine, survives him, as does his grown son, Joseph, by an earlier union.

A Doctor’s Son

Bernard Nathanson was born in New York City July 31, 1926. His father was a highly accomplished obstetrician/gynecologist who taught in various prestigious medical schools. Nathanson grew up with his younger sister in a secular Jewish home. As he explained in his autobiography, his father sent him to Hebrew school yet would question and undermine the teachings of the rabbis.

He described his father as an excellent and ethical physician who was less than exemplary in his personal life. He was dominating and overbearing, and cheated on his wife. Nathanson wrote that his sister “lost her personality” under their father’s influence and committed suicide at age 49, an event that grieved his father so greatly that he never mentioned her in conversation afterward.

Nathanson followed in his father’s footsteps, attending McGill University Medical College in Montreal, where he had his first experience with abortion after he got his girlfriend pregnant. He used the money received in the mail from his father to pay for her abortion, at a time when the procedure was illegal. “It served as my introductory excursion into the satanic world of abortion,” he later wrote.

After graduating from medical school in 1949, he did his residency in Chicago and New York, at one time working in the same hospital as his father. In 1953 he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served for a few years as an obstetrician/gynecologist.

After his military stint, he settled in New York and began building a thriving ob-gyn practice. While working with poor patients, he saw the scarring effects of illegal abortions on the women. He wrote, “Illegal abortion was in 1967 the number one killer of pregnant women.”

In New York, he got another girlfriend pregnant and decided to perform an abortion on her himself. About aborting his own child, he wrote in The Hand of God: “I swear to you that I had no feelings aside from the sense of accomplishment, the pride of expertise.”

He added, describing the abortionist’s mindset: “icy; conscienceless; remorselessly perverting his medical skills; defiling his ethical charge; and helping, nay seducing, with his clinical calm, his oh-so-comforting professionalism, women into the act that comes closest to self-slaughter.”

Busiest Abortion Business

While not giving up his ob-gyn practice, Nathanson became heavily involved in abortion in 1968 after meeting Larry Lader, a politically connected public relations master who was obsessed with overturning New York’s abortion laws. In looking for an easy target to attack for media attention, Nathanson said, they chose the Catholic Church, whose opposition to abortion they blamed for every botched illegal abortion they brought before the media.

Bolstered by a coalition of abortion doctors and a burgeoning feminist movement, New York’s lawmakers passed a bill to overturn the state’s century-old abortion restrictions, which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Nelson Rockefeller on July 1, 1970.

Soon Nathanson was the director of the new Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health (CRASH) in Manhattan, which he described as the “largest abortion clinic in the Western world,” with referrals from all along the Eastern seaboard and beyond.

Looking back on those years, he wrote, “I had a young son and a wife, but I was hardly ever at home. I bitterly regret those years, if for no other reason than that I failed to see my son grow up.”

As he became more publicly associated with abortion, he was treated as a “pariah” in legitimate medical circles and received fewer obstetrical referrals. For these reasons, he decided to leave the abortion facility at the end of 1972 and took the position as chief of obstetrics at St. Luke’s Hospital, where he kept doing abortions for what he considered “medically justified reasons.”

Yet the advent of ultrasound technology eventually convinced him that a true human being is killed in abortion, and he began to develop what he called the “vector theory of life.” By this he meant that from the time of conception, the unborn child has a self-directed force of life that, if not interrupted, will lead to the birth of a human baby. He knew this was not “potential life,” as the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade.

Writing in The Hand of God, Nathanson described a turning point in his thinking: “I believe the fertilized ovum (zygote) to be a new individual launched along an unimaginably busy vector of life that terminates when the vector finally moves its 180 degrees to the negative pole.”

The trajectory of this insight would lead him to his own 180-degree turn in thinking and eventually to work against legal abortion and the industry that promoted it.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Register correspondent Stephen Vincent writes from Wallingford, Connecticut.

Editor’s Note:

Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison. Requiescat in Pace, Dr. Nathanson.We will pray for the repose of his soul and ask all ProLifers to do the same…

“And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil.  And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23: 39-43

Dr. Nathanson’s story is one of the most powerful because it is about redemption. It gives me hope everyday that one day I may reach Purgatory. Our Lord’s Divine Mercy is a gift for those of us who think we do not deserve it.

Eternal Rest grant unto him, O Lord and for all the babies who have been killed in the wombs of their mothers. May perpetual light shine upon them.

For those who claim to be PRO-CHOICE, READ THIS & pray for forgiveness…

20 January 2011

DA: Pa. abortion doc killed 7 babies with scissors

Associated Press
Maryclaire Dale And Patrick Walters,
Wed Jan 19, 2011

PHILADELPHIA – A doctor whose abortion clinic was described as a filthy, foul-smelling “house of horrors” that was overlooked by regulators for years was charged Wednesday with murder, accused of delivering seven babies alive and then using scissors to kill them.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell was also charged with murder in the death of a woman who suffered an overdose of painkillers while awaiting an abortion.

In a nearly 300-page grand jury report filled with ghastly, stomach-turning detail, prosecutors said Pennsylvania regulators ignored complaints of barbaric conditions at Gosnell’s clinic, which catered to poor, immigrant and minority women in the city’s impoverished West Philadelphia section.

Prosecutors called the case a “complete regulatory collapse.”

“Pennsylvania is not a Third World country,” the district attorney’s office declared in the report. “There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago.”

Gosnell, 69, was arrested and charged with eight counts of murder in all. Nine of Gosnell’s employees — including his wife, a cosmetologist who authorities say performed abortions — also were charged.

Prosecutors said Gosnell made millions of dollars over three decades performing thousands of dangerous abortions, many of them illegal late-term procedures. His clinic had no trained nurses or medical staff other than Gosnell, a family physician not certified in obstetrics or gynecology, prosecutors said.

At least two women died from the procedures, while scores more suffered perforated bowels, cervixes and uteruses, authorities said.

Under Pennsylvania law, abortions are illegal after 24 weeks of pregnancy, or just under six months, and most doctors won’t perform them after 20 weeks because of the risks, prosecutors said.

In a typical late-term abortion, the fetus is dismembered in the uterus and then removed in pieces. That is more common than the procedure opponents call “partial-birth abortion,” in which the fetus is partially extracted before being destroyed. Prosecutors said Gosnell instead delivered many of the babies alive.

He “induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord,” District Attorney Seth Williams said.

Gosnell referred to it as “snipping,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors estimated Gosnell ended hundreds of pregnancies by cutting the spinal cords, but they said they couldn’t prosecute more cases because he destroyed files.

“These killings became so routine that no one could put an exact number on them,” the grand jury report said. “They were considered ‘standard procedure.'”

Defense attorney William J. Brennan, who represented Gosnell during the investigation, said: “Obviously, these allegations are very, very serious.”

The grand jury report came out a day after new Republican Gov. Tom Corbett took office. Spokesman Kevin Harley pledged that Corbett’s administration, through his new health secretary, would do more to oversee such clinics.

“What needs to be done is regulators, whether on the local or state or federal level, need to properly regulate, inspect and do their jobs,” Harley said. “The safety of our citizens should be first and foremost.”

Authorities raided Gosnell’s clinic early last year in search of drug violations and stumbled upon “a house of horrors,” Williams said. Bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses “were scattered throughout the building,” the district attorney said. “There were jars, lining shelves, with severed feet that he kept for no medical purpose.”

Prosecutors said the place reeked of cat urine because of the animals that were allowed to roam freely, furniture and blankets were stained with blood, instruments were not properly sterilized, and disposable medical supplies were used over and over.

Gosnell didn’t advertise, but word got around. Women came from across the city, state and region for illegal late-term abortions, authorities said. They paid $325 for first-trimester abortions and $1,600 to $3,000 for abortions up to 30 weeks. The clinic took in $10,000 to $15,000 a day, authorities said.

“People knew near and far that if you needed a late-term abortion you could go see Dr. Gosnell,” Williams said.

White women from the suburbs were ushered into a separate, slightly cleaner area because Gosnell believed they were more likely to file complaints, Williams said.

Few if any of the sedated patients knew their babies had been delivered alive and then killed, prosecutors said. Many were first-time mothers who were told they were 24 weeks pregnant, even if they were much further along, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Gosnell falsified the ultrasound examinations that determine how far along a pregnancy is, teaching his staff to hold the probe in such a way that the fetus would look smaller.

Gosnell sometimes joked about the babies, saying one was so large he could “walk me to the bus stop,” according to the report.

State regulators ignored complaints about Gosnell and the 46 lawsuits filed against him, and made just five annual inspections, most satisfactory, since the clinic opened in 1979, authorities said. The inspections stopped completely in 1993 because of what prosecutors said was the pro-abortion rights attitude that set in after Democratic Gov. Robert Casey, an abortion foe, left office.

Williams accused state Health Department officials of “utter disregard” for the safety of women undergoing abortion, and said the testimony of agency officials “enraged” the grand jury. But he said he could find no criminal offenses with which they could be charged, in part because too much time has elapsed.

“These officials were far more protective of themselves when they testified before the grand jury. Even (Health Department) lawyers, including the chief counsel, brought private attorneys with them — presumably at government expense,” the report said.

The state’s reluctance to investigate, under several administrations, may stem partly from the sensitivity of the abortion debate, Williams said. Nonetheless, he called Gosnell’s conduct a clear case of murder.

“A doctor who with scissors cuts into the necks, severing the spinal cords of living, breathing babies who would survive with proper medical attention commits murder under the law,” he said. “Regardless of one’s feelings about abortion, whatever one’s beliefs, that is the law.”

Four clinic employees were also charged with murder, and five more, including Gosnell’s wife, Pearl, with conspiracy, drug and other crimes. All were in custody. Gosnell’s wife performed extremely late-term abortions on Sundays, the report said.

One of the murder charges against Gosnell involves a woman seeking an abortion, Karnamaya Mongar, who authorities said died in 2009 because she was given too much of the painkiller Demerol and other drugs.

Gosnell wasn’t at the clinic at the time. His staff administered the drugs repeatedly as they waited for him to arrive at night, as was his custom, the grand jury found.

Mongar and her husband, Ash, had fled their native Bhutan and spent nearly 20 years in camps in Nepal. They had three children. A man who answered the phone Wednesday at a listing for Ash Mongar in Virginia did not speak English, while their daughter did not immediately return a message.

The malpractice suits filed against Gosnell include one over the death of a 22-year-old Philadelphia woman, a mother of two, who died of a bloodstream infection and a perforated uterus in 2000. Gosnell sometimes sewed up such injuries without telling the women about the complications, prosecutors said.

Gosnell earned his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and is board certified in family practice. He started, but did not finish, a residency in obstetrics-gynecology, authorities said.

Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said: “He does not know how to do an abortion. Once he got them there, he saw dollar signs and did abortions that other people wouldn’t do.”

For the babies and the women murdered at this hellish place…”Eternal Rest Grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them, May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace,  Amen.”

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