Monday, March 6, 2017

Review of Gosnell

Gosnell: The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer
Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer
Regnery Publishing, 2017

Review by Robert A. Waters

Enter the three-storied maze of rooms filled with ghosts. You'll find jars of baby feet; pyramids of trash bags containing fetal remains; skeletons of cats that died from thousands of attacking fleas; floors with walked-on feces; bloody walls; and urine-stained furniture. You'll enter room after room, chamber after chamber, and nook after nook flooded with the foul stench of death.

But most of all, you'll encounter the memories of children who lived a few moments, or a few hours, then were snipped into eternity. (“Snipping” was Dr. Kermit Gosnell's term for using scissors to cut the spinal cords of infants who survived his abortion attempts.) Another term he liked to use was “ensuring fetal demise.”

Gosnell tells a sordid story that most of us can't imagine.

In 2013, Gosnell was convicted on three counts of first degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter. The involuntary manslaughter charge was brought when he killed Karnamaya Mongar, who came to him for an abortion. The procedure was badly botched, and she died a few hours later. Gosnell attempted to cover up the death (as he had at least two others), and was successful for a time due to the indifference of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and other social service systems. The three first degree murder charges were for babies born alive and murdered by Gosnell or his staff.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell littered his Philadelphia abortion clinic with cast-offs, employees barely living above the flatline, to coin a phrase. For instance, Lynda Williams was bipolar, a drug addict, and had only an eighth grade education, but she became Gosnell's “anesthesiologist.” Assistant district attorney Joanne Pescatore said Williams “was in charge of mixing the concoctions and giving the anesthesia to patients while the doctor wasn't there.” In reality, she rarely used Gosnell's cheat sheet that told her which drugs to use, but administered what she thought was necessary. None of his other employees were qualified for the positions they held.

This proved fatal to Mongar, an immigrant from Bhutan. Williams administered numerous doses of Demerol, anesthetics, and other drugs in an attempt to sedate the frail patient.

In addition to the Women's Medical Society abortion clinic, Gosnell ran a pill mill, selling prescription drugs to dealers. (This, in fact, was the reason for the initial criminal investigation of his clinic.) He and his staff illegally sold Xanax, OxyContin, promethazine, and Percolet to drug dealers.

When cops busted Gosnell for drug crimes, they learned that he had been killing live babies for thirty years. Because the statute of limitations for infanticide is only two years in Pennsylvania, and because he destroyed much of the evidence, Gosnell was charged with only seven murders.

As the case unfolded, Big Media attempted to ignore it. Several reporters later admitted that the crimes did not fit their “narrative.” Finally, a storm of emails, blogs from the right-wing press, and the writings of a few respected columnists persuaded the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, and others to give in and cover the case.

After his conviction, Gosnell was sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison. Eight members of his staff received lesser sentences, including his wife, Pearl, who sometimes helped at the clinic.

Despite the sensationalistic title of the book, this is not a hastily-written pot-boiler. The authors studied thousands of pages of court documents, including the damning grand jury report. They interviewed cops, attorneys, prosecutors, some of Gosnell's employees, and even Gosnell himself. The doctor has shown no hint of remorse, and insists that history will vindicate him.

Whether you're pro-abortion or anti-abortion, I highly recommend this book.

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