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  An outdated, corroded ultrasound machine, caked with dust stood next to ripped, stained surgery beds that looked like they were decades old.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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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

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