GRAPHIC: Kermit Gosnell’s House of Horrors — 3801 Lancaster
WARNING: Graphic Images
UPDATE 5/13/13: Read about Gosnell’s conviction here.
“3801 Lancaster” documents the conditions that existed inside the Women’s Medical Society clinic on February 18, 2010 when detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the FBI raided it for running a “pill mill.”. What began as a drug trafficking investigation into Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his staff in West Philadelphia, PA lead to a discovery of unimaginable inhumanity and horror, death and destruction. A panel at CPAC discussed these events on Friday.
Gosnell had been reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Health several times for various reasons, including perforating a patient’s uterus during an abortion in 1993 and causing the deaths of two other women in 2002 and 2009. But the state wasn’t interested in investigating those claims. And so Gosnell continued to make $10,000 – $15,000 a day providing late-term abortions on primarily poor minorities in squalid conditions one would expect in a third world country.
When authorities raided his clinic, they found dried blood on examining tables, chairs, walls and floor. The freezer was stuffed to capacity with the remains of aborted babies. Some were completely intact. Having been born alive, Gosnell or one of his staff would insert scissors into the base of the baby’s skull and “snip” the vertebra, killing the child. Feet of aborted babies in jars of formaldehyde were found throughout the clinic. They served no medical purpose.
The staff of Women’s Medical Society were not licensed or trained medical professionals. But they offered drug cocktails based on a schedule of fees for various levels of sedation and administered anesthesia to patients, often without the doctor present. After labor was induced, the women were moved into the aforementioned blood-stained chairs, where they would sometimes give birth, in order to free up an examining table and begin another patient’s abortion.. The janitor was called numerous times to remove aborted bodies from the plumbing because women would often expel their babies into the toilet.
Two women featured in the film, Davida Clark and “Makeda,” have suffered long-term effects at the hands of Gosnell. Clark had gone in for an abortion but had a change of heart on the operating table. Gosnell called in staffers, restrained her, sedated her and aborted the child in spite of her protests. “Makeda” was told that having an abortion was a completely safe method of birth control that would not interfere with her ability to have children later in life when she was better situated. She proceeded to have eight abortions over the next 14 years. Tearfully, she explained, “Part of it was my fault. But I was lead to believe it was okay.” These two women are no longer able to conceive.
In November 2009, Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old refugee from Nepal, went to the clinic for a second-trimester abortion. She was a petite woman, 4’11” tall and 110 pounds. Between 2:30 and 8:00 p.m., an unlicensed, unqualified staff member administered several doses of anesthesia via IV. Ms. Mongar’s daughter-in-law, who had been waiting with the patient, was unable to rouse her at 8:00 p.m. When she alerted staff, she was escorted from the building. Around 11:00 p.m., Gosnell instructed a staff member to call 911. When paramedics arrived, Gosnell was just standing there, making no attempt to resuscitate Mongar. Emergency responders administered CPR. Eventually, they tried to leave through the emergency exit but the door was locked and staffers could not find the key. It took at least 20 minutes for a fireman to cut the locks. Rescue efforts were further hampered by the difficulty of navigating the stretcher through the cramped, narrow hallway. Once Ms. Mongar made it to the hospital, doctors were able to restart her heart but she never regained consciousness.
It is unbelievable that such butchery would be allowed to continue, despite numerous reports of egregious wrongdoing . But Gosnell knew the victims he preyed on. He knew the conditions at his clinic were atrocious. He also knew that the poor minorities he “served” were easier to victimize. In fact, he had a slightly less-squalid room for his white patients, explaining to his staff that white patients couldn’t receive care in the filthier part of the clinic because they would be more likely to report him. One can only wonder what the state’s response would have been if Mongar, Clark or “Makeda” had been white.
Following the screening of the movie, a panel, consisting of “3801 Lancaster,” director David Altragge; Citizens United’s Michael Greer; and Charmaine Yoest, Ph. D from Americans United for Life, convened to discuss the movie and abortion in America. As Dr. Yoest pointed out, a procedure that is supposedly “safe, legal and rare” causes irreparable harm to 4,000 babies and women every day.
The conditions of the Women’s Medical Society are not an anomaly restricted to that particular clinic. In this country, hair and nail salons face closer scrutiny and stricter regulations in every state except Virginia, Arizona and Pennsylvania; these three states alone require abortion clinics to adhere to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. The industry that claims to care so much about women has done everything they can to prevent these laws from being enacted. From Clark to “Makeda” to Mongar to Tonya Reeves to Jennifer Morbelli, abortion harms women, everytime, without fail.by