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Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Kermit Gosnell’

light-in-darkness[1]

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is on trial for his life in Philadelphia because of how he ran his medical clinic, the “Women’s Medical Society” at 3801 Lancaster. That impressive establishmentarian-sounding title belied a business which reflected the abortion philosophy lived to its fullest expression and logical conclusion. In the final analysis, the Gosnell case reveals much more than who Kermit Gosnell is. It has revealed to us who we have become as a nation.

The Grand Jury Report reads like a a horror novel. So callous and cruel is this page-turner that it simply beggars the imagination. In it, the report details how instruments were not sterilized, and were the cheapest disposable instruments reused from patient to patient. In the process, Dr. Gosnell spread disease like a fly. One can only imagine if HIV was spread in his “clinic”.

Women of color were more often than not attended to by Gosnell’s staff of medically untrained and unlicensed personnel, including a fifteen year-old girl who administered anaesthetics, while Dr. Gosnell saw to the white women in slightly less squalid rooms, because as he said, that’s the way the world is. A black man who graduated from Thomas Jefferson Medical College abandoned black women to untrained, unskilled laypeople.

Looking past all of that, the blood-stained blankets, floors, and treatment tables, the toilet bowls women delivered their babies into (A common delivery method at abortuaries elsewhere), there was so much more.

Gosnell was frequently absent as women were being given their abortion procedures, and hundreds of babies were born alive. Here Gosnell would insure that there was no ambulance to come and discover his macabre shop, and here is where his most heartless proclivities became standard operating procedure. He would cut into the backs of these babies’ necks, crush through their spinal columns with scissors, and then sever the cervical spinal cords, essentially producing an internal decapitation. It is not likely that death was instantaneous for all the babies whose brains remained perfused with oxygen until the cessation of heart and lung function.

In the research experiments on rat spinal cords and brains for my MS degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, we worked on rats, and I decapitated quite a few with a special guillotine. Once decapitated, the feet ran in place, the tail twitched violently, and one could see the animals’ eyes still blinking until unconsciousness overcame the animal. It was horrid work and helped motivate me to work with bacteria in my doctoral research. I cannot imagine the pain experienced by these babies undergoing internal decapitation.

Yet, even that begs a deeper analysis. Why are we so repelled by these severings of spinal cords, what Gosnell and his criminal employees glibly referred to as ‘snippings’, as though one were simply gliding through a lock of hair? Why can physicians suck out brains, dismember the babies alive in utero, but be charged with murder for the same barbarism once the baby simply changes location?

Why do we consider the baby a patient in its own right only if it is extruded alive from the birth canal?

Here is where we discover Gosnell the monster is really Gosnell the reflection of American Jurisprudence at its own sublime and depraved worst.

The answer to the questions is simple. We have decided that the same baby, simply by being attached to an umbilical cord is not his/her own person, but an extension of the mother’s body. By that logic, an astronaut doing a spacewalk and connected to the ship by an umbilicus should have no more moral worth than the spacecraft itself. Were a fellow crew member to shut off the air supply intentionally, would they be charged merely with vandalism?

As the major media emerge from their blackout on this case, and the nation tunes in, we find ourselves at an interesting juncture. We are united in horror at the depravity and inhumanity of it all. It is a case that makes us consider the biological reality of the child whose murder would not have been murder if only proper protocol had been followed, and therein lies the madness.

Murder is not murder if proper protocol is followed.

We cannot long survive as a civilization of rational human beings with that sort of mentality. American exceptionalism has been consumed by radicalized autonomy, and in the process biomedical ethics, politics, and common decency have been savaged.

What is sickest about the Gosnell case is that Dr. Gosnell is really us. The only real distinction is that he stepped outside of the boundaries we established for our American psychosis. Abortion can only be permissible if we assuage ourselves with certain boundaries of propriety for the mass murder of our citizens. There is no greater pariah in the asylum than the one who upsets the rhythms of the asylum.

The filthy conditions in that clinic would have been a twenty-four hour news story, as would have been the severed feet in jars. It was the decapitations of babies who could be seen and heard that merited him six of the seven counts of murder. Again, it comes down to a matter of protocol. The baby only becomes a patient when it is extruded from the birth canal, which is a radical departure from the traditional two-patient model of obstretric medicine.

To look into the face of Kermit Gosnell is to look in the American mirror, a rare glimpse of clarity as the fog temporarily lifts from the mirror. With more than fifty-five million babies aborted in forty years, it is time to use the Gosnell trial as an opportunity for some national soul-searching. But will we, or have those parameters for the national psychosis become too fixed and immovable? Will we offer up Gosnell as a sacrificial offering, a way to assure ourselves of the validity and functionality of the boundaries of psychosis that were breached?

One wonders.

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For those who may not have heard of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the notorious late term abortionist in Philadelphia (City of Brotherly Love) was arrested and charged with eight counts of first degree murder. One was a mother and the others were very late term babies, beyond the 24-week limit under law, who were born alive, and who were dispatched by digging scissors into their cervical spines and having their spinal cords cut.

This same man cut off their feet and saved them in jars, rows and rows of jars containing his macabre trophies. Gosnell’s staff were arrested for administering anesthetics without medical training or licensure, most often while the doctor was not in the office. One of his employees admits to having dispatched over 100 born-alive infants by “snipping” their spinal cords. The office was filthy, not surprisingly.

Read the grand jury report here.

It is understandable that Gosnell and his wretched staff have sickened all who have read of their atrocities. It is also alarming.

Why are we so shocked and horrified?

On one level, even the most ardent pro-abort takes pause. Infants as long as 19 inches and in their eighth month writhe in agony as their calcified spinal columns are crushed before the cord is severed. Even then, death is not immediate. Having decapitated dozens of rats in spinal cord research, I can testify to the fact that the brain remains perfused with oxygen for a time, and is therefore sensate. As Gosnell severed the spinal cord, and as the heart is supplied by autonomic nerves outside of the spinal column, it is doubtless that the heart continued to beat for a time, keeping the brain perfused with oxygen and able to sense hearing, sight, and touch from the neck up for an indeterminate period of time. The severing of the cord would have paralyzed the muscles involved in breathing, but the residual oxygen in the lung, combined with a beating heart could only combine for an agonizing death. That’s why prisoners executed by lethal injection are first rendered unconscious.

Similarly, we reel from the thought of untrained personnel administering anesthesia, delivering the babies, and an office that was as filthy as a sewer.

The outrage is understandable.

But for the pro-lifer, the outrage begs the question: Why are we outraged at this? Have we come to expect some minimal standard of decency and medical professionalism in an abortion clinic?

Which is the more frightening reality, a mentally and spiritually diseased pig like Gosnell, or a cool, crisp professional who is neat and clean in their dismemberment of the child in the womb?

Have we come to expect some minimum standard of decorum and antisepsis in our children’s executioners?

Does ridding the industry of Gosnells not at once make society feel as though it has done something positive about abortion, while at the same time selecting for those who are more deadly efficient in plying their barbaric trade? What makes Gosnell a worse mass murderer than the doctor who does abortions up to the legal developmental limit?

Is it not the mass murder that is the true pathology? Is not collecting feet just a kinky twist on that foundational pathology?

What Gosnell did sickens me. That his case will be the clarion call for greater oversight leading to more clinical efficiency in the ongoing mass murder of babies frightens me.

We have lost our moorings. God have mercy on us that so many will take from this story that there is such a thing as a “good” abortionist and seek such a standard in the future.

That may well be Gosnell’s deadliest legacy.

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