Cheryl Sullenger

‘House of Horrors’ filthy furnishings displayed in courtroom

Cheryl Sullenger
By Cheryl Sullenger
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PHILADELPHIA, April 18, 2013 (Operation Rescue) - Two witnesses took the stand yesterday in the capital murder case of Kermit Gosnell, providing testimony from the perspectives of a patient and an employee of substandard conditions and illegal practices at Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” clinic at 3801 Lancaster.

Mary Kincade had been a patient at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic for about 10 years and was last seen five-to-six years ago. She said she only saw Eileen O’Neill, whom other clinic workers referred to as “Doctor” even though she had no license to practice in Pennsylvania. Kincade was not an abortion patient, but saw O’Neill for yearly well female exams. Kincade never saw Gosnell at the clinic during any of her visits.

O’Neill is on trial with Gosnell on charges of theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft, racketeering, conspiracy related to corruption, perjury, and false swearing.

Kincade thought O’Neill was a licensed physician and noted that certificates hung on the wall of her office, which led her to believe they allowed her to practice medicine.

There was a discrepancy in Kincade’s patient file concerning co-payments for office visits. Kincade testified that she remitted a co-pay of $30-40 each time she saw O’Neill. However, in her file, there was only one receipt for $40. The inference of this testimony was that there were irregularities in the billing and record-keeping practices at Gosnell’s clinic, although prosecutors did not fully detail their theory concerning what appeared to be evidence of financial malfeasance during today’s court proceedings.

Near Death Experience

The longest testimony of the day came from Latosha Lewis, 31, a medical assistant who worked for Gosnell for almost 10 years. Lewis was not arrested with Gosnell and his eight co-workers in January 2011. Instead, she was arrested and charged by the federal government related to apparent drug activities at Gosnell’s clinic. She made a plea agreement and faces a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison and a “hefty” fine. She will be sentenced sometime later and could receive leniency due to her cooperation with prosecutors.

Lewis testified about her training and how her duties at Women’s Medical Society grew until she was assisting with abortion procedures. She stopped doing so in 2007, because she overdosed a woman and was worried about whether she would ever come out of anesthesia. She also said she stopped administering Cytotec, a drug that caused powerful and often unpredictable contractions, around the same time.

“I saw women deliver too quickly and didn’t want to deal with that,” she explained.

Lewis testified that Gosnell was well aware of why she refused to continue to drug women. He reassigned her to work at the front desk.

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Reused Curettes Cause Spike in STDs

Lewis indicated that Gosnell’s equipment was outdated and never inspected, and that he often reused disposable curettes, which is the sharp-ended tube that enters the womb in abortion procedures and applies suction for the removal of the pre-born baby and other tissues and fluids.

Lewis testified that the curettes were washed, dried and placed in an antiseptic solution, then reused. The curettes are meant to be disposable and for single use only. She indicated that she noticed that women who had abortions using the reused curettes began returning to the clinic suffering from sexually transmitted diseases.

Earlier testimony indicated that plastic curettes are more porous than metal surgical instruments and simply cannot be adequately cleaned for reuse.

Mongar Suffered Illegal Abortion

Lewis was on duty when Karnamaya Mongar came for her abortion, and through the use of a relative as a translator, she helped fill out Mongar’s medical history forms and took her vitals.

Mongar’s original chart seized from Gosnell’s clinic was examined in court. Those who touched it were instructed to don purple latex gloves because the file was stained with blood and other bodily fluids and emitted an unpleasant odor.

There was no notation of Mongar’s weight on the chart, which is usually important information for women undergoing anesthesia. Lewis testified that the scale in the clinic had been broken for a month, and she had no way to weigh patients.

Lewis noted that Mongar started the clinic on the first day she arrived at the clinic, which violated a law that requires information be given 24 hours prior to an abortion. Nevertheless, Lewis inserted the form into Mongar’s chart and signed it affirming that the 24-hour waiting period had been observed. Lewis said she had already left work for the day and was not present when Mongar died.

Dangerously Shoddy Drug Records

Lewis testified that notations in the chart and in a narcotics log book kept at the clinic were unreliable, because other workers failed to consistently make proper entries. Therefore, no one really knew exactly what the patients were given or when.

Measuring Fetal Feet

In one of the more dramatic moments of the day, Prosecutor Ed Cameron brought Lewis to a square white rolling table that had been seized from Gosnell’s clinic and brought into the courtroom along with other pieces of outdated and filthy furniture and equipment. The metal legs of the table were rusted and dirty. Lewis agreed that Gosnell would pull out a flat shelf from the table and there he would measure fetal feet that were placed in glass trays, just as Cameron demonstrated for the jury.

Jars with severed feet in formaldehyde were discovered in Gosnell’s abortion clinic over a wash sink, where smaller abortion remains were washed down a drain and ground with a garbage disposal.

Phony Fetal Ages

Cameron then went through a tedious process of reviewing one patient file after another, confirming the amounts of drugs given as well as the size of the baby’s heads on the multiple ultrasound found in each chart along with the fetal ages recorded in the charts.

In general, ultrasound measurements showing the biparietal diameter, or BPD, which is the measurement across the baby’s head, varied from 53-75.8 mm. This measurement is used to determine fetal age. However, recorded in the charts almost uniformly was the fetal age of 24.5 weeks.

According to a chart found on the internet, 53 mm BPD equates roughly to 22 weeks gestation. A 75.8 mm BPD would represent 29-30 weeks gestation both ends of the spectrum were noted as representing fetal ages of 24.5 weeks in the charts.

Many charts had notations concerning the cost of the second trimester procedures. Prices ranged from $830-1,665. Many women who did not have the full amount were aided by an abortion fund that raises money to pay for portions of an abortion bill that patients cannot cover. However, more women signed promissory notes and were put on a payment plan for the balance. Lewis testified it was not unusual for women to disappear and never pay their balances.

The Defense Spin

Defense Attorney Jack McMahon also reviewed each of the files with Lewis. He noted that there were signed consent forms in most of that charts that included a 24 hour consent for abortion, a consent to be given Cytotec, and a consent form for the use of Digoxin, a heart medication that is injected into the pregnant woman’s abdomen for the purpose of bringing about “fetal demise” prior to the abortion.

Another Digoxin form in some of the charts contained a diagram of a pregnant abdomen with intersecting lines defining four quadrants were a notation was to be made to indicate the location of the Digoxin injection.

McMahon made much of the paperwork before the jury and emphasized how it showed that Gosnell did indeed obtain the necessary consent. Attention to the Digoxin forms was meant to bolster his argument that all the babies aborted at Gosnell’s clinic were already dead before being expelled from the womb.

Cameron Delivers Question of the Day

Cameron powerfully nullified McMahon’s argument by pointing out that each and every file contained information about abortions done at 24 weeks or later. The last day an abortion can legally be done in Pennsylvania is 23 weeks, 6 days.

“He got consent to do illegal abortions?” Cameron forcefully asked.

McMahon erupted, but Cameron had made his point.

The prosecution is expected to call two final witnesses on Thursday then rest its case. The defense is expected to begin its case on Monday.

Gosnell faces seven counts of first degree murder for severing the spinal cords of babies born alive during abortions.

He's also facing one count of third degree murder in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, who died of a drug overdose during an abortion by Gosnell.

In addition, Gosnell is charged with abuse of corpse, tampering with evidence, corruption, conspiracy, obstruction, racketeering, and solicitation for murder.

If convicted, Gosnell faces the death penalty.

This article originally appeared on Operation Rescue and is reprinted with permission.


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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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