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  An outdated, corroded ultrasound machine, caked with dust stood next to ripped, stained surgery beds that looked like they were decades old.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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A Planned Parenthood facility in Denver, Colorado
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Colorado judge tosses suit alleging Planned Parenthood used state funds to pay for abortions

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Alliance Defending Freedom "will likely appeal" a Monday court decision dismissing their suit alleging Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains illegally used state funds to pay for abortions, an ADF lawyer told LifeSiteNews.

The ADF lawsuit claims that $1.4 million went from state government agencies to a Planned Parenthood abortion affiliate through Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Denver County District Court Judge Andrew McCallin dismissed the case on the basis that ADF could not prove the funds paid for abortions. But ADF maintains that funding an abortion facility is indirectly paying for abortions, which violates state law.

ADF senior counsel Michael Norton -- whose wife, former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, filed the lawsuit – told LifeSiteNews that "no one is above the law, including Colorado politicians who are violating our state’s constitution by continuing to fund Planned Parenthood’s abortion business with state taxpayer dollars."

"The State of Colorado even acknowledges that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate. The Denver court seems to have agreed with that fact and yet granted motions to dismiss based on a technicality," said Norton.

According to Colorado law, "no public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion." There is a stipulation that allows for "the General Assembly, by specific bill, [to] authorize and appropriate funds to be used for those medical services necessary to prevent the death of either a pregnant woman or her unborn child under circumstances where every reasonable effort is made to preserve the life of each."

According to court documents, the Colorado law was affirmed by state voters in 1984, with an appeal attempt rejected two years later. In 2001, an outside legal firm hired by Jane Norton -- who was lieutenant governor at the time -- found that Planned Parenthood was "subsidizing rent" and otherwise providing financial assistance to Planned Parenthood Services Corporation, an abortion affiliate. After the report came out, and Planned Parenthood refused to disassociate itself from the abortion affiliate, the state government stopped funding Planned Parenthood.

Since 2009, however, that has changed, which is why the lawsuit is filed against Planned Parenthood, and multiple government officials, including Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

According to ADF legal counsel Natalie Decker, the fact that Planned Parenthood sent funds to the abortion affiliate should have convinced McCallin of the merits of the case. "The State of Colorado and the Denver court acknowledged that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars, in addition to millions of 'federal' tax dollars, flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate," said Decker.

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"Without even having the facts of the case developed, the Denver court seems to have granted motions to dismiss filed by the State of Colorado and Planned Parenthood on grounds the term 'indirectly' could not mean what Ms. Norton and Governor Owens said it meant in 2002 when they defunded Planned Parenthood."

"That, of course, is the plain meaning of Colo. Const., Art. V, § 50 which was implemented by the citizens of Colorado, and the reason for Ms. Norton’s lawsuit."

Decker told LifeSiteNews that "Colorado law is very clear," and that the state law "prohibits Colorado tax dollars from being used to directly or indirectly pay for induced abortions."

She says her client "has been denied the opportunity to fully develop the facts of the case and demonstrate exactly what the Colorado tax dollars have been used for." Similarly, says Decker, it is not known "exactly what those funds were used for. At this time, there is simply no way to conclude that tax dollars have not been used to directly pay for abortions or abortion inducing drugs and devices."

"What we do know is that millions of Colorado tax dollars have flowed through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that those tax dollars are being used to indirectly pay for abortions."

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains did not return multiple requests for comment about the lawsuit.

The dismissal comes as Planned Parenthood fights an investigation by the state's Republican attorney general over a video by Live Action, as well as a lawsuit by a mother whose 13-year old daughter had an abortion in 2012 that she alleges was covered up by Planned Parenthood. The girl, who was being abused by her stepfather, was abused for months after the abortion.

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Steve Weatherbe

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Fledgling high-tech pro-life group marks 2,000 babies saved: 2-3 saved per day

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Online for Life, the Dallas-based pro-life marketing agency, saved its two-thousandth unborn baby earlier this year and is well on its way to saving its three thousandth by 2015.

“We are getting better all the time at what we do,” says founder Brian Fisher. “It used to be one baby saved every four to six weeks and now its two or three a day.”

But the most significant save? “It was the very first one,” he says, recalling the phone call from a crisis centre a month after OFL’s 2012 startup.  “And for me personally it was just a massive turning point … because [of] all the work and the money and testing and the volunteers and everything that led up to that moment. All the frustration of that was washed away in an instant because a child had been rescued that was about to be killed.”

Though increasing market savvy has led Online for Life to expand offline, the core of the non-profit, donor-financed operation remains SEO -- search engine optimization -- targeting young women who have just discovered they are pregnant and gone onto the Web to find the nearest abortion clinic.

Instead, they find the nearest crisis pregnancy center at the top of their results page. Since OFL went online it has linked with a network of 41 such centers, including two of its own it started this year, in a positive feedback loop that reinforces effective messaging first at the level of the Web, then at the first telephone call between the clinic and the pregnant woman, and finally at the first face-to-face meeting.

“Testing is crucial,” says Fisher. “We test everything we do.” Early on, Online for Life insisted the clinics it served have an ultrasound machine, because the prevailing wisdom in the prolife movement was that “once they saw their baby on ultrasound, they would drop the idea of having an abortion.” While the organization still insists on the ultrasound, its own testing and feedback from the CPCs indicates that three quarters of the women they see already have children. “They’ve already seen their own children on ultrasound and are still planning to abort.” So ultrasound images have lost their punch.

OFL has had to move offline to reach a significant minority who have neither computers, tablets, or cell phones.  Traditional electronic media spots as well as bus ads and billboards carry the message to them.

As well, says Fisher, “unwanted pregnancy used to be a high-school age problem; now that’s gone down in numbers and the average age of women seeking abortion has gone up to 24.” By that age, he says, they are “thoroughly conditioned by the abortion culture. Even before they got pregnant, they have already decided they would have an abortion if they did get pregnant.”

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What they need—and fast, in the first two minutes of the first phone call—is sympathy, support, and a complete absence of judgement. Online for Life is always gathering information from its network on what responses are most effective—and this can vary city to city. The organization offers training to clinic volunteers and staff that stresses a thorough knowledge of the services on tap. “Any major city has all sorts of services—housing, education, health—available,” says Fisher.

The problem that OFL was designed to address was the crisis pregnancy centers’ market penetration. Three percent of women with unwanted pregnancies were reaching out to the CPCs, and seven per cent of those who did reach out were having their babies. “So about 2.1 children were being saved for every 1,000 unwanted pregnancies,” says Fisher. “That’s not nearly enough.”

So Fisher and two fellow volunteers dreamed of applying online marketing techniques to the problem in 2009. Three years later Fisher was ready to leave his executive position at an online marketing agency to go full-time with the life-saving agency. Now they have 63 employees, most of them devoted to optimizing the penetration in each of the markets served by their participating crisis centers.

The results speak for themselves. Where OFL has applied its techniques, especially with its own clinics, as many as 15-18 percent of the targeted population of women seeking abortions get directed to nearby crisis pregnancy centers. “It depends on the centres’ budgets and on how many volunteers they have to be on the phones through the day and night,” he says. “But we are going to push it higher. We hope to save our 2,500th child by the end of the year.”

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Shock: UK mom abandons disabled daughter, keeps healthy son after twin surrogacy

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By Pete Baklinski

A UK woman who is the biological mother of twins born from a surrogate mom, has allegedly abandoned one of the children because she was born with a severe muscular condition, while taking the girl's healthy sibling home with her.

The surrogate mother, also from the UK — referred to as "Jenny" to protect her identity — revealed to The Sun the phone conversation that took place between herself and the biological mother over the fate of the disabled girl.

“I remember her saying to me, “She’d be a f****** dribbling cabbage! Who would want to adopt her? No one would want to adopt a disabled child,’” she said.

Jenny, who has children of her own, said she decided to become a surrogate to “help a mother who couldn’t have children.” She agreed to have two embryos implanted in her womb and to give birth for £12,000 ($20,000 USD).

With just six weeks to the due date, doctors told Jenny she needed an emergency caesarean to save the babies. It was not until a few weeks after the premature births that the twin girl was diagnosed with congenital myotonic dystrophy.

When Jenny phoned the biological mother to tell her of the girl’s condition, the mother rejected the girl.

Jenny has decided along with her partner to raise the girl. They have called her Amy.

“I was stunned when I heard her reject Amy,” Jenny said. “She had basically told me that she didn’t want a disabled child.”

Jenny said she felt “very angry” towards the girl’s biological parents. "I hate them for what they did.”

The twins are now legally separated. A Children and Family Court has awarded the healthy boy to the biological mother and the disabled girl to her surrogate.

The story comes about two weeks after an Australian couple allegedly abandoned their surrogate son in Thailand after he was born with Down syndrome, while taking the healthy twin girl back with them to Australia.

Rickard Newman, director of Family Life, Pro-Life & Child and Youth Protection in the Diocese of Lake Charles, called the Australian story a “tragedy” that “results from a marketplace that buys and sells children.”

“Third-party reproduction is a prism for violations against humanity. IVF and the sperm trade launched a wicked industry that now includes abortion, eugenics, human trafficking, and deliberate family fragmentation,” he said. 

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