Cheryl Sullenger

Exception or the rule? Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors’ may not be as rare as you think

Cheryl Sullenger
By Cheryl Sullenger

Analysis

Philadelphia, PA, April 8, 2013 (OperationRescue.org) – Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s capital murder trial continues this week in a courtroom packed with worn, bloody furniture and outdated equipment seized from his dilapidated abortion clinic, which has come to be known as the “House of Horrors.” Gosnell is charged with seven counts of first degree murder for killing newborn babies born alive after abortions by snipping their spinal cords with scissors. He also faces one count of third degree murder in the overdose death of a patient, Karnamaya Monger.

But are the conditions described last week by two clinic workers and a Crime Scene Unit Officer really so different that what can be found at abortion clinics across America?

Fighting to Keep Abortion Unsafe

CSU Officer John Taggart carefully photographed the narrow maze of hallways, stairs, and claustrophobic rooms filled with clutter, so much so that in some cases, one would have had to scoot sideways down the hallway past rows of chairs, empty water jugs, and other items to get from one part of the clinic to another.

Meanwhile, the abortion lobby continues to fight clinic regulations that would ensure emergency workers have gurney access to procedure rooms as if such rules are an outrageous demand meant to deny women their Constitutional rights. But the truth is that if Gosnell’s clinic had complied with such rules that have since been enacted in Pennsylvania, Karamaya Mongar, the immigrant that he is accused of killing during a second trimester abortion procedure, might still be alive today.

Photos shown in court showed the only “handicapped” exit to the clinic down a hallway crammed full of broken office furniture and other debris. On the night Mongar died, the door was locked with a key that frantic clinic workers could not find as firemen sought a way to get their Code Blue patient out of the facility and to an awaiting ambulance.

“Most abortion clinics endanger the lives of their patients by doing abortion in substandard facilities,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. “We have seen it over and over.”

In fact, when Pennsylvania began inspecting clinics in that state, they found massive deficiencies. Two abortion clinics immediately closed rather than clean up and others have since followed suit.

Certainly Pennsylvania isn’t alone. Just last year in Birmingham, Alabama, pro-life activists photographed emergency responders hand-carrying two abortion patients out of the New Women All Women abortion clinic down broken stairs and into a trash-strewn alley. An inspection by the Alabama Department of Public Health discovered 76 pages of clinic deficiencies, including medical tasks that were done by untrained, unqualified staff. The state forced the abortion clinic, a repeat offender, to close.

No License? No Problem.

Untrained, unqualified staffing is a major problem that can be found in almost every abortion clinic across the country. None of the employees at Gosnell’s abortion clinic were properly qualified for their jobs, including at least two, Eileen O’Neill and Steven Massof, who held themselves out to be licensed physicians when they were not. In fact, Massof testified that his first experience with patients was at Gosnell’s clinic where he was seeing patients alone and prescribing drugs just two weeks after he started working there.

In Southern California, at least two unlicensed workers were caught illegally doing abortions at the now defunct Clinica Medica Para La Mujer De Hoy abortion clinic chain in 2009. A third abortionist, Laurence Reich, had his medical license revoked in 2006 for sexually molesting his abortion patients, only to be found a year later still doing abortions when police raided his abortion clinic.

“All over the country we have affidavits and other documentation of unqualified workers performing tasks that the laws say should only be done by licensed individuals that included everything from starting IVs to helping with the surgeries,” said Newman. “In 2009, we had four of former employees of late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart come forward and relate very much the same story as told by Gosnell’s workers of drug violations, unqualified medical practices, dirty conditions, falsified ultrasounds, and other abortion abuses.

Falsified Ultrasounds

A Kansas clinic where Carhart worked was caught falsifying fetal ages through manipulated ultrasounds during a pro-life undercover investigation conducted by Operation Rescue in order to avoid compliance with the Kansas late-term abortion limits. His Nebraska clinic employee who blew the whistle on his illegal practices confirmed the ultrasound manipulation.

Massof testified of such manipulation of the ultrasound scans in detail during his testimony against Gosnell last week. He demonstrated with hand motions how he would raise the abdominal ultrasound transducer to a higher plane than it should be in order to make the baby in the womb appear smaller.

Unsanitary

Filthy conditions and reuse of dirty surgical equipment at Gosnell’s clinic shocked the public when it first became public. Gosnell was accused of spreading sexually transmitted diseases from one patient to another because he did not clean surgical instruments between patients. However, similar conditions are well documented throughout the abortion industry.

A former Kansas City abortionist, Krishna Rajanna, lost his medical license after photos surfaced that showed blood-stained carpets in procedure rooms, reused surgical equipment, and the storage of employee’s lunches in the same refrigerator as the aborted baby remains – the same conditions found at Gosnell’s clinic.

Wichita abortion clinic bought and closed by Operation Rescue revealed dirty, roach-infested conditions, a leaky roof, moldy ceilings and walls, and blood-spattered wash room where the contents of the abortion suction machine bottles were dumped down a sink and ground up in an industrial garbage disposal in conditions nearly identical to those identified by the CSU officer and employee Eileen Hampton.

In Muskegon, Michigan, earlier this year, police responding to a call of broken glass at an abortion clinic operated by Robert Alexander discovered such filthy conditions, including filthy surgical instruments, that the clinic was closed immediately by the Fire Marshall. This clinic would still be operating today had it not been for the police’s discovery.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Numerous documents of abortion clinic deficiencies have been compiled by Operation Rescue and can be read at AbortionDocs.org.

Charnal House

But perhaps most disturbing is the allegations that earned Gosnell’s abortion clinic the “House of Horrors” moniker and designation as a charnel house. Inside the clinic were found the remains of viable babies that had allegedly been murdered after being born alive. Their spinal cords had been cut with scissors in what Massof described as a literal beheading where the brain was separated from the babies’ bodies.

The conclusion drawn by the few media outlets that have bothered to cover the grisly Gosnell case is that this never happens elsewhere. Not according to Alisa LaPolt Snow, a lobbyist representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, who made headlines just last week with her testimony in opposition to a bill before the Florida legislature that would protect infants born alive during abortions.

Florida State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, had asked Snow, “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

Snow’s shocking response was that at Planned Parenthood, “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

“It may be news to Planned Parenthood, but killing newborn babies is murder, no matter how or where they are born in this country. Gosnell made that decision to murder these babies over and over under the same circumstance described by Rep. Bradenton. That’s why he now faces the potential of the death penalty if convicted,” said Newman. “So are newborns murdered at other abortion clinics in America? The answer to that would have to be ‘Yes.’”

The Rule, Not the Exception

The primary difference between Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” abortion clinic and so many others around the country seems to be that he was caught. Americans can only wonder with dread how many other Gosnell-like clinics continue to operate under the protection of political climates like those described in the Gosnell Grand Jury report that ignore abortion abuses in order to protect abortion businesses at nearly any cost.

Last week, CSU Officer Taggart described the condition of Gosnell’s abortion building where metal poles held up a leaky roof and the stench of death and cat urine lingered. Those conditions have only continued to deteriorate as the clinic has stood idle over the past two years. The leaks in the roof have expanded. The ceiling and drywall is moldy and coming down. Exposed electrical wires create a safety hazard. It has become so unhealthful to enter the building that Prosecutor Joanne Pescatore told the judge that she got sick the last two times she was there. Taggart said he expects the building to fall in soon.

So deteriorated are conditions at the building today that it was decided that the jury members could not tour the facility because their safety could not be ensured. But what Pescatore and Taggart have done by documenting the conditions of the clinic and displaying the outdated and filthy furnishings and equipment is give us all a glimpse in to nearly every abortion clinic in America, where profit comes first and the lives and safety of women come in a distant second.

In Gosnell’s home, authorities discovered $250,000 in cash stuffed under his mattress. Safes inside his clinic were found to contain envelopes stuffed with twenty-dollar bills. Gosnell was said to own at least six properties, including a home on the bay with a large boat and private boat dock.

This is the nature of abortion in America today. Women, especially the poor urban women of color that dominated Gosnell’s abortion business, are preyed upon by shoddy abortionists who profit financially while the women are rushed to emergency rooms in droves around the country.

“Abortion continues only because Americans have been denied the truth about the abuses that go on every day in our country’s abortion clinics. When something negative does come out about an abortionist or clinic, the pro-abortion liberal media either refuses to cover it or acts as if it is an anomalous incident. Abortion lobbyists cry about health and safety laws as if they hurt women, when in reality, those laws are necessary to protect women from harm and exploitation by those who pretend to champion the rights of women,” said Newman. “The only real way to protect women from the abuse inflicted upon them by those like Gosnell is to close every abortion clinic and relegate the barbaric practice to the dustbin of history where it belongs.”

Reprinted with permission from OperationRescue.org

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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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