Moira Sheridan

A tale of two clinics: Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors’ and Planned Parenthood Wilmington

Moira Sheridan
By Moira Sheridan

Analysis

April 26, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The parallels between Kermit Gosnell’s “house of horrors” in Philadelphia and Planned Parenthood of Delaware’s Wilmington clinic at 7th & Shipley Streets are too numerous to ignore.  Most people think Gosnell an anomaly among abortion providers.  They are ignoring a growing body of evidence to the contrary.  Untrained staff, filthy equipment, unsterilized and reused instruments, complete lack of oversight by any governing agency, and abusive, contemptuous doctors are more the norm in freestanding abortion clinics than the public is willing to admit.  3601 Lancaster Ave. and 625 Shipley St. are ample proof that abortion in America today is anything but safe. 

The media’s failure to cover these atrocities and the Department of Health’s failure to investigate documented abuses are bad enough, but when combined with Planned Parenthood’s influence on government policy and funding, they perpetuate a deadly ignorance.  

Gosnell and eight of his employees are accused of murder, including in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41 year-old Bhutan immigrant, who was alleged to be over-sedated by untrained staff during an abortion at his Women’s Medical Society clinic.  Meanwhile, five medical emergencies necessitated hospital visits for Planned Parenthood of Delaware clients in a five-week period, from early February to mid-March, 2013.  From the 911 transcripts, injuries included excessive bleeding, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness.

Testimony at the Gosnell trial and whistleblowing by two former employees at Wilmington’s Planned Parenthood facility are eerily familiar.  Horrific evidence of filthy conditions at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic clash with the public’s image of abortion as a safe, sanitary medical procedure.  At Gosnell’s trial, equipment taken directly from the clinic couldn’t be ignored, placed as it was in front of the jury.  An outdated, corroded ultrasound machine, caked with dust stood next to ripped, stained surgery beds that looked like they were decades old.  So offensive was the sight that Judge Rinehart asked if they could be covered.  They stood in mute, incontrovertible testimony for four weeks. 

Witness after witness has revealed a litany of abuses, expanding grotesquely on the Grand Jury’s report:  “The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment – such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff – was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn’t used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.”

But that could never happen at a Planned Parenthood facility, could it?  Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich and Joyce Vasikonis, former employees who feared losing their nurses’ licenses if they continued working at the Wilmington Planned Parenthood facility, told WPVI-TV in Philadelphia recently of a "meat-market style of assembly-line abortions where the abortionist refused to wear gloves, surgical instruments were reused without being cleaned, and ‘bloody drainage’ remained on abortion tables between procedures, exposing women to blood-borne diseases." 

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"It was just unsafe. I can't tell you how ridiculously unsafe it was," said Mitchell-Werbrich. She also worried that that women could be at risk of contracting hepatitis or AIDS. 

Gosnell employed untrained staff to do abortions, administer drugs, and perform functions intended only for licensed professionals.  Former staffer, Steven Massof, testified that Gosnell frequently had food in the procedure room and talked on the phone while he performed late term abortions. At Planned Parenthood of Delaware, the clinic recently paid a $3,060 fine - reduced from $5,100 – in an informal settlement with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two violations related to blood-borne pathogens. One violation was related to employee training, another – considered serious – was related to employee exposure to contaminated needles.   Among the complaints they investigated were: “eating and drinking are allowed in work areas where there is reasonable likelihood of occupational exposure; contaminated medical equipment is not decontaminated as necessary; employees exposed to potentially infectious materials are not provided with and/or required to wear appropriate, protective personal equipment.” 

Untrained, unlicensed, and callously unconcerned staff at Gosnell’s clinic failed to follow any semblance of proper medical procedure.  At Planned Parenthood of Delaware, accusations from Mitchell-Werbrich’s report reveal improper counseling of patients, procedures performed without properly signed consent forms, failure to follow state mandated parental consent laws, untrained staff and little training available for sterilzation techniques, and lapses in mandated follow-up care. 

Doctors at both clinics specialized in assembly-line abortions, often treating patients with contempt or abusing them outright.  Tina Baldwin, a staff member at Women’s Medical Society, testified that she saw Gosnell “slap a woman on the thigh.”  According to Mitchell–Werbrich, she observed the same behavior from Dr. Timothy Liveright, abortionist at Planned Parenthood.  In a written statement documenting his bizarre behavior, she said, “Dr. Liveright struck the patient’s right lateral thigh with force with his opened hand, stating, ‘Breathe!’”  Among the posted reviews of Planned Parenthood of Delaware’s Wilmington clinic on Yellow Pages is this accusation, alleged to have taken place in January, 2012: “I would like to warn everyone that a surgical gyn doctor, possibly hispanic/Italian (sic), treated me brutally during an abortion. When the nurse left the room, he suddenly and silently punched me in the abdomen but stopped as she returned. He then wordlessly proceeded with the operation. I felt terrified and helpless and he seemed happy to scare me.”  It was during 2012 that Mitchell-Werbrich submitted her observations to management at Planned Parenthood of Delaware, who did nothing. 

The laissez-faire attitude towards abortion clinic oversight by authorities who could have prevented so much suffering and death is despicable.  Gosnell slipped through the hands of federal, state, and city regulators into a black hole of apathy, ultimately protected by the abortion industry’s unprecedented and unchallenged ability to police itself.   Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich followed every avenue she could to bring the abuses she observed at Planned Parenthood to the correct authorities, knocking on door after door.  The result?  In December, 2012, the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline, after a cursory visit to the facility, declared the case closed, citing it “could not find Dr. Liveright in violation of the Medical Practice Act.”  The Delaware Department of Health stated they found no evidence to support the claims of Vasikonis and Mitchell-Werbrich.  The response from the Department of Labor’s OSHA department to Mitchell-Werbrich’s complaint is telling.  “Planned Parenthood of Delaware has advised me that the hazards you complained about have been investigated…With this information, OSHA feels the case can be closed on the grounds that the hazardous conditions(s) have been corrected.”  

Such outrageous and callous indifference breeds Gosnells of the future. 

One look at the state of Delaware’s far more strict regulations for nail and hair salons makes one wonder how abortion clinics, with a long history of abuses in the United States, are allowed to go entirely unregulated.  Both the Women’s Medical Society in Philadelphia and Planned Parenthood of Delaware’s Wilmington facility were caught in shocking, high profile exposés, no thanks to any medical authorities, who had all the evidence they needed.  In Philadelphia, illegal prescription of drugs was the premise for knocking down Gosnell’s doors.  In Delaware, a videoed attack of a pro-life grandmother outside Planned Parenthood’s clinic sparked a series of events that led the two former employees to go public with their findings.

One clinic is closed.  The other has halted surgical abortions after cleaning house – Liveright and several other employees are gone with the wind.  According to Planned Parenthood of Delaware Director Ruth Lytle-Barnaby, “We have made some modifications to our clinical hours for the next several weeks so that we can orient and fully train new staff.”  How reassuring, like Gosnell painting the clinic walls before a visit from the National Abortion Federation, who refused him membership. 

Shamefully, both the Gosnell trial and the exposure of Planned Parenthood of Delaware’s many abuses have received scant media coverage.  The local Wilmington News Journal ignored numerous urgings by prolifers to investigate the allegations against the clinic, something Wendy Saltzman of ABC-6 News in Philadelphia undertook, breaking the story wide open and forcing the News Journal to play catch-up.  Unfortunately, like the major media outlets who have turned a blind eye to the Gosnell trial, the local media have buried the more flagrant offenses under bland statements plucked from Planned Parenthood press releases. 

Planned Parenthood will find another “doctor” to do surgical abortions; more staff will be “trained,” and abortion will be “safe” again.  Until the next medical emergency.  Count on it.

Note: Moira Sheridan is a member of the Delaware Right to Life board of directors


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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