‘House of Horrors’ filthy furnishings displayed in courtroom
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.
Planned Parenthood closes Iowa abortion facility because of low business
DUBUQUE, Iowa, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood closed an Iowa abortion facility on Friday, noting low business that left the facility unsustainable from a financial standpoint.
Although Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced in January that it planned to close the Dubuque, Iowa, office, pro-life sidewalk counselors were overjoyed on Friday to read the sign in the window that read: “Our office is closed, effective April 28, 2016.”
The office did not perform surgical abortions but did provide medication abortions to the community of about 58,000.
“Rejoice with us for the lives of unborn children saved!” Iowa Right to Life said in a statement after the closure.
As with numerous other closures, Planned Parenthood, which styles itself a provider of “care no matter what,” emphasized it was closing its doors to preserve its bottom line.
“After assessing the shifting health care landscape, changing demographics, and the challenges of operating in areas with low patient volumes, we made the tough decision to close the Dubuque Health Center,” the group said in an announcement. “This change allows us to expand hours and see more patients in Cedar Rapids, where there is unmet demand due to lack of clinician hours.”
“While we regret making this change, we know it is a necessary step in order to continue our mission to provide, promote and protect reproductive and sexual health through health services, education and advocacy. Patients have been notified, and if they wish, they can receive a broader array of services at our health center in Cedar Rapids, where we have expanded hours to accommodate more patient,” Planned Parenthood said.
American Life League’s vice president, Jim Sedlak, remembers speaking to the county right to life group nine years ago.
“I told them at the time that they needed to protest outside Planned Parenthood at least once a week,” he said. “They told me they would do better than that. Over the last eight years, these dedicated pro-lifers were outside Planned Parenthood every hour it was open. And now...it’s closed for good.”
That aligns with advice that David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, once told young people who wanted to know how to end abortion.
Be loving and compassionate, he said.
“Your peaceful, loving presence out there flies in the face of all the stereotypes they want to throw onto us,” he added. “When you show them love instead of condemnation, when you show them peace and joy instead of anger and judgment, that will begin to break down the walls.”
Iowa Right to Life credited just such tactics with closing an office in Red Oak that performed webcam abortions. “Planned Parenthood shut down in Red Oak in large part because of the constant, prayerful presence outside their clinic,” the group said.
Upon hearing of the latest abortion facility shuttering, the Dubuque County Right to Life said that Planned Parenthood isn't the only group that will move its base of operations. “We will probably put our efforts in Cedar Rapids and will continue to spread the pro-life message,” said Executive Director Marian Bourek.
Ted Cruz confronted by mom who supports aborting disabled babies…just like hers
MARION, Indiana, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Ted Cruz was met on the campaign trail by a mother who strongly opposed a state pro-life law that would have protected children with birth conditions – like her own.
Andrea DeBruler, a 41-year-old nurse, confronted the presidential hopeful in the city of Marion as Cruz campaigned with Gov. Mike Pence.
DeBruler first asked Cruz, then Pence, about House Bill 1337, which bans abortions performed due to the child's race, sex, or disability, such as Down syndome.
DeBruler held up a picture of her daughter, Jania, who was born with cerebral palsy. “This was a choice,” she said.
She asked Sen. Cruz if he supported the bill, which made Indiana the second state in the nation to ban abortion for Down syndrome, after North Dakota.
“I'm not Governor Pence,” he replied. “But I'll tell you this: I believe in protecting human life.”
Pence, who endorsed Cruz in today's make-or-break Indiana primary, listened to her objections.
“I'm not here as a Republican, I'm not here as a Democrat. I'm here as a woman, a woman with choices, choices that you guys should not make,” DeBruler said.
After hearing that she felt many families lacked sufficient resources to care for children, especially in an area like Marion, Gov. Pence offered to connect her with social services.
“God bless her,” he said, looking at Jania's picture, “and God bless you.”
Though it may be unusual to encounter a woman arguing for the right to abort her own child, the governor handled it calmly. Pence had specifically reflected on “precious moments” he spent with “families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome” when he signed the bill into law in March.
"We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies," Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said at the time.
DeBruler told the UK media outlet The Independent that H.B. 1337 “means you can no longer have an abortion based on deformity. I’m against this law, because I think it should be a woman’s choice” to abort for any reason.
Congressional Democrats made similar statements during hearings last month for Rep. Trent Franks' federal Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), with Congressman John Conyers saying the bill is “patently unconstitutional,” because a woman has the right to abort a child before viability for any reason.
Both leading contenders for the Democratic nomination expressed their displeasure with the law, which protects unborn children from racial or sexual discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of an inborn trait like mental capacity.
When Gov. Pence signed the law, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted:
The decision to have an abortion is for a woman to make, not the Governor of Indiana. https://t.co/1VOroXS2br— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 24, 2016
Hillary Clinton later said, “I commend the women of this state, young and old, for standing up against this governor and this legislature.”
DeBruler told The Independent, despite her comment about not being a Democrat or a Republican, she is in fact a Democrat and will vote for Hillary Clinton in today's primary.
The moral challenge to Cardinal Wuerl in pending Notre Dame outrage
May 3, 2016 (CatholicCulture) -- In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama to deliver a commencement address, dozens of American bishops lodged loud public protests. Yet this year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an even greater honor on Vice President Joe Biden (together with former House Speaker John Boehner), the silence from the hierarchy is deafening.
Back in 2009, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston said that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama was “very disappointing,”, while then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan termed it a “big mistake.” The late Bishop John D’Arcy, then leader of the Indiana diocese in which the university is located, spoke of “the terrible breach which has taken place between Notre Dame and the Church.” For the first time in his 25 years of service to the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, Bishop D’Arcy declined to attend the Notre Dame commencement exercises; instead he addressed a protest rally organized by pro-life students, faculty, alumni, and staff.
These prelates and others explained their dismay by referring to the statement “Catholics in Political Life,” released in 2004 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that document, the bishops reflected on the need to maintain a consistent public witness in defense of human life, and therefore to distance themselves from public officials who support legal abortion. The statement set forth a clear policy that Catholic institutions should not give public honors to “pro-choice” politicians:
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
By giving President Obama an honorary degree and offering him an opportunity to speak at graduation, Notre Dame clearly violated that policy. University officials could offer only garbled partial defenses, claiming that they were honoring Obama not because he supports unrestricted abortion, but because he is President of the United States.
This year the university cannot offer even that lame defense of the decision to award the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden. Unlike Obama, Biden is a Catholic, and by granting him this award the university is explicitly saying that the Vice President has “illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” In other words, Notre Dame is honoring Vice President Biden as a Catholic political leader despite his unwavering support for abortion and same-sex marriage.
Give credit to Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the current leader of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, for raising a lonely voice of protest. “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any ‘pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service,” Bishop Rhoades said. But if any other bishops have joined him in that rebuke to Notre Dame, I must have missed their public announcements.
Some observers, of liberal political sympathies, have argued that it is wrong to honor John Boehner, too, because the former Speaker disagreed with the US bishops’ stand on immigration. This is a tired old argument, conflating disagreement with the bishops on a prudential political decision with defiance of Church teaching on a fundamental moral principle. But it is noteworthy that Notre Dame officials saw fit to make a joint award, no doubt in a cynical effort to dodge political criticism by choosing one honoree from each side of the political spectrum.
“We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership,” said Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in announcing the Laetare Award recipients. (Notice the pre-emptive suggestion that those who criticize the school’s choices may be engaged in “poisonous invective.”) He went on to make a tortured argument that although Notre Dame is honoring two politicians, it is not honoring them for what they have done in their political careers:
In recognizing both men, Notre Dame is not endorsing the policy positions of either, but celebrating two lives dedicated to keeping our democratic institutions working for the common good through dialogue focused on the issues and responsible compromise.
By now we all know the familiar dodges. The politician claims to oppose abortion personally, but to feel a delicate reticence about imposing his views on others. He says that we must be willing to compromise (even on life-and-death decisions). He insists that he is not “pro-abortion” but “pro-choice.”
That last bubble of rhetoric was unceremoniously burst by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, when he celebrated Mass at Georgetown after Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richard had delivered a lecture there. “The word ‘choice’ is a smokescreen,” he said, “behind which those killing unborn children take refuge. Every chance you get, blow that smoke away!”
Now Cardinal Wuerl himself has a chance to “blow that smoke away.” As things stand, he is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Notre Dame commencement, and to receive an honorary degree. He could pull out; he could absent himself from the ceremonies, to ensure that he does not become part of an event that pays homage to a “pro-choice” Catholic politician.
And there is a precedent. Back in 2009, the Harvard legal scholar (and former US ambassador to the Holy See) Mary Ann Glendon was chosen to receive the Laetare Award. But when she learned that President Obama would be speaking, she announced her decision to decline the award. Clearly annoyed that her presence might be used to quiet the critics of the honor for Obama, Ambassador Glendon wrote that she did not want to be used as a counterweight, nor did she see the Notre Dame commencement as an appropriate venue for a genteel debate about legal abortion:
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Could Cardinal Wuerl do this year what Ambassador Glendon did in 2009? Even at this late date, his withdrawal would send a powerful message of support for the right to life: an unmistakable rebuke to politicians who hide behind the smokescreen that the cardinal himself identified. To be sure, if he did withdraw, the cardinal would be caught in an avalanche of public criticism; he would suffer for his public witness. But there is a reason why cardinals wear red.
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