It's inner-city Philadelphia. Towering over the narrow streets looms an old brick building with the faded, red letters: "Family Planning."
But what you find inside is far worse than the outside.
You step through the door, and your nose wrinkles from the pungent smell of urine.
Blood is on the floor.
A flea-infested cat brushes by you, defecating as it dashes up the stairs.
If you dare to venture deeper into the eerie clinic, the horrors only increase.
In the recovery room, you find semiconscious women moaning on dirty recliners, wrapped in blood-stained blankets. Those blankets have only been washed once this week.
You pass the operating rooms housing old, deteriorating, faulty equipment. The surgical instruments lying in the sink have never been sterilized.
But the worst of all horrors are hidden in the far back room and the dark basement below. Heart pounding, you cautiously push the door open and, with a wince of dread, flick on the light. You gasp at the horrid sight of shelves filled with jars of severed baby feet, boxes and bags of infant parts, and mangled aborted fetuses in bottles and in the open. An unearthly shriek startles you; it's one of the babies, lying on a glass tray; it's eyes and mouth are still not completely formed but it still made a noise. A shiver like cold ice creeps down your spine and your breath becomes short.
You've had enough.
You bolt out of the room, trying to escape this nightmare. But you are lost. How do you get out of this place? You find an emergency exit and slam your body weight against it, but it's padlocked. Twenty minutes later you find your way to the front and burst out the door, panting.
Is this a scene from a horror movie?
No, this is real life.
This is Dr. Kermit Gosnell's abortion clinic.
|Credit Jessica Kourkounis, The New York Times|
After 1993, for political reasons, the department stopped inspecting clinics at all. Even as disturbing complaints came in — patients leaving with the same venereal disease, illegal abortions on minors and late-term pregnancies, a 41-year old woman dying at Gosnell's hands — the department opted not to investigate the "house of horrors" operating under their noses.
Finally, in 2011, the FBI raided Gosnell's facility on reports of "illegal drug activity". The uncertified "doctor" had been, in addition to running a grisly abortion mill at night, selling painkillers to drug dealers and addicts from his daytime office. The FBI, of course, found far more than drugs. Scattered throughout the nauseating conditions, they found stored body parts and fetuses; some which had been killed after they left the mother, and others far past the 24-week limit for legal abortions.
|Dr. Kermit Gosnell (ABC News)|
According to the Washington Examiner, Dr. Gosnell was often behind in paying bills, and the disposal provider might delay picking up the dead babies for months. Sometimes the rotting corpses would be left out overnight. "You knew about it the next day when you opened the door..." One employee said. "Because you could smell it as soon as you opened the door." (7)
Reports also revealed that Gosnell allowed some of the newborn corpses to fall into the toilets, until it would clog up the plumbing. According to a handyman for the clinic, "I told the doc I would remove the toilet and lay it on its side, but somebody else would have to clean that out." (7)
But perhaps the most condemning and most news-stirring discovery of all was the shocking claim from a number of Gosnell's employees: His slaughtering of infants was not limited to within the womb.
According to his employees, if a baby was still moving when it left the mother, he would snip the spinal cord with scissors. "Ensuring fetal demise", as he called it. The media has been calling it "infant beheading." He taught many of his uncertified, unqualified employees how to do this. Several of his former employees have pleaded guilty to this kind of murder.
Dr. Gosnell himself was charged with seven original counts of first-degree murders of infants (although three of those have been thrown out). In addition, he was charged with third-degree murder of the 41-year-old patient who died in his hands from an overdose of anesthesia and painkillers.
He faces the death penalty if proven guilty.
|Dr. Gosnell's mug shot|
But time's up.
I can't speak for Dr. Gosnell's soul. But I pray that the courts will decide on the side of truth, and that, at least in this life, Gosnell will receive the punishment he deserves. People that like him that practice such evil should not be allowed to live in our society, or in any other.
May the truth be revealed and justice be served.
Let me hear your thoughts. Do you think Gosnell deserves the death penalty? Do you think this story is just a pro-life issue, or is it a human rights issue that all ends of the political spectrum should be concerned with? How do you think the trial will conclude?
Research and Further Reading
(6) http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2013/04/12/exp-erin-abortion-doctor-panel.cnn (video)
(8) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/us/23doctor.html (article from when story first broke out)
(9) http://www.phila.gov/districtattorney/PDFs/GrandJuryWomensMedical.pdf (full story: Grand Jury report)