March 22, 2013 ( – The number and variety of horrors discovered at Kermit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society in Philadelphia is difficult to grasp. Even the 250-page grand jury report released following the February 2010 raid on the clinic only scratches the surface. 

But one of the most puzzling, as well as macabre mysteries, surrounding the case, is the motivation behind Gosnell’s decision to keep jars of the severed feet of babies he had killed in his clinic.

The grand jury report states: “During the February 2010 raid, investigators were shocked to see a row of jars on a clinic shelf containing fetal parts.” One former employee estimated that there were about 30 such jars. The authors of the report describe this practice as one that “defies explanation.” 


The matter was first broached during the trial on Tuesday, when former Gosnell employee Adrienne Moton told the courtroom that Gosnell once told her that he kept the feet for future DNA identification or tissue samples.

But according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, on Wednesday an expert witness, a physician and neonatologist at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, dismissed this explanation as nonsensical.

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“Do you think there is any medical reason to save the foot of a baby?” Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron asked, according to the Inquirer

“In my practice, we would have no reason to save the foot, and I've never seen that done,” replied Daniel H. Conway. 

“There are alternate ways of preserving DNA,” he said, “and the foot itself is a weak prediction of gestational age.”

This was the same conclusion drawn by expert witnesses interviewed for the grand jury report. One told the investigators that cutting off the babies’ feet was “bizarre and off the wall.”

But it wasn’t just feet.

The grand jury also found that Gosnell would sometimes place the intact bodies of babies he had killed in cut-off milk jugs, water containers, and juice cartons. One such baby was discovered in a bag in the clinic’s freezer. 

This led the investigators to recommend that Gosnell be charged with five counts of abuse of a corpse. “[N]o civilized society can accept such an abomination, whether the fetuses in question were viable or not,” they wrote.

In her opening remarks to the court Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore suggested that Gosnell may have kept the feet as some form of “trophy.”

Perhaps the strangest part is that Gosnell’s case is not unprecedented. When investigators raided an abortion clinic run by Dr. Steven Brigham and Dr. Nicola Riley in 2010, they too were shocked to discover the bodies of dozens of unborn babies stored in a freezer.

Gosnell is charged with murder in the case of seven babies who were allegedly born alive before the abortionist killed them by severing their spines – his preferred method of “aborting” late-term babies, according to his former staff. 

Staff have testified that “hundreds” of newborn babies were killed in this fashion at Gosnell’s Philadelphia clinic, which was dubbed a “House of Horrors” after investigators raided the facility in February 2010.  

He is also facing one additional count of third degree murder for the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, who sought an abortion at his clinic and was given a lethal overdose of medication.