Gosnell behind ‘Mother’s Day Massacre’ over 40 years ago that injured 9 women
PHILADELPHIA, April 16, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kermit Gosnell's history of injuring women through reckless abortion practices extends as far back as 1972, when he injured nine women by testing an experimental abortion device on them that caused plastic razor blades to lacerate their wombs. Even then, however, Gosnell escaped receiving any disciplinary action, with the state turning a blind eye, as it would for the next four decades as he operated his "House of Horrors."
According to the grand jury report that was compiled after Gosnell was arrested, in 1972 a group of 15 women in their second trimester were bused from Chicago to Gosnell's Philadelphia offices – on Mother's Day – for abortions. According to the grand jury, what unfolded became known as the “Mother's Day Massacre.”
Those women were not told the abortionist intended to use them as guinea pigs for a new device, an abortion “super-coil,” developed by a psychologist masquerading as a "doctor." Randy Hutchins, the only medical professional with a license to work in Gosnell's facility beside Kermit, related to the grand jury how Gosnell described the incident to him:
At the time that he agreed to do this, there was a device that he and a psychologist were working on that was supposed to be plastic – basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball. All right. They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman’s uterus. And after several hours of body temperature...the gel would melt and these 97 things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus, and the fetus would be expelled.
He added, “This was not something that was sanctioned by the FDA. This was just something that he decided – he and this guy decided they were going to use on these women.”
A film crew from New York caught the experiments on film.
Nine of the 15 women were injured. One required a hysterectomy. A joint federal-state investigation found other serious complications including hemorrhaging, infections, and portions of the unborn baby being left inside the uterus – still a common problem.
After the incident, Gosnell left Pennsylvania, spending some time in the Bahamas and New York.
According to Hutchins, Gosnell explained his reasons for leaving the state, saying, "If the State Board of Medicine hadn’t brought any charges against you, all right, and you were away long enough, you could come back and your license was still considered to be in good standing."
The grand jury report notes wryly, "Gosnell was apparently correct. The Pennsylvania Board of Medicine ignored his role in this grotesquely unsuccessful experiment, which seriously and permanently maimed several women."
It continues: "The Board overlooked Gosnell’s unprofessional conduct not only in the 1970s but for the next three decades, as he continued to employ unlicensed workers to practice medicine at his clinic, and as his patients continued to suffer serious injuries or worse during abortion procedures."
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The super-coil that Gosnell used had been developed by Harvey Karman, a Los Angeles psychologist who killed a woman in April 1955 after attempting to perform an abortion with a speculum and a nutcracker. After that incident he was charged with performing an illegal abortion, and spent some time in jail.
Karman (born Harvey Walters) tested the device on "hundreds" of women in Bangladesh, at the government's invitation. “Those women suffered a high rate of complications,” the grand jury report states. “Nonetheless, Karman brought his 'super coil' to Philadelphia, where he found an ally in Gosnell.”
Although Karman never earned a doctorate or M.D., after he was released from jail he began saying he had earned a doctorate from a non-existent European university and calling himself “doctor.” Like Gosnell, he was considered a pioneer of abortion rights.
“Doctor” Karman and health writer Merle Goldberg had developed a cannula that effectively aborted unborn babies in the first trimester. The “super-coil” was intended to be its second-trimester counterpart.