Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Abortionist Charged With Murdering Patient, Newborns

A Philadelphia physician, Kermit Barron Gosnell, was charged Wednesday with murder and other offenses for allegedly causing the death of one of his female patients and killing seven viable babies in illegal, late-term abortions, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said.

The babies were born alive in the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy, but their spinal cords were allegedly severed with scissors, Williams said in a statement.

Nine other people who worked in the west Philadelphia medical office, including Gosnell's wife and sister-in-law, were also charged, Williams said. The practice, called the Women's Medical Society, served mostly low-income minority women for years, he said.

Williams' statement provided a grisly scenario of the shuttered abortion clinic: A search of the office last year by authorities found bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses scattered throughout the building. Jars contained the severed feet of babies and lined a shelf. Furniture and equipment was blood-stained, dusty and broken.

Gosnell, 69, is not a board-certified obstetrician or gynecologist, Williams said.

Originally, Williams said, the clinic used another doctor as a consultant so it could receive a license to perform abortions in 1979.

Two primary state agencies, the Department of Health and the Department of State, have oversight, Williams said Wednesday at a news conference.

But a grand jury investigation found that health and licensing officials had received repeated reports about Gosnell's dangerous practices for two decades, but no action was ever taken, even after the agencies learned that women had died during routine abortions under Gosnell's care, Williams said in a statement.

"What the [grand] jury found most troubling is that neither of those agencies took the time to investigate, to observe, to view, to go to the clinic itself since 1993," Williams said in comments during the news conference.

"I am aware that abortion is a hot-button topic," Williams said in a statement. "But as District Attorney, my job is to carry out the law. A doctor who knowingly and systematically mistreats female patients, to the point that one of them dies in his so-called care, commits murder under the law.

"A doctor who cuts into the necks severing the spinal cords of living, breathing babies, who would survive with proper medical attention, is committing murder under the law," Williams added.

Gosnell is also accused of reusing unsanitary instruments; performing procedures in filthy rooms, including some having litter boxes and animals present during operations; and allowing unlicensed employees to perform operations and administer anesthesia, including a teenage high school student, Williams said in a statement.

Gosnell's wife, Pearl, 49, of Philadelphia is also facing charges of providing an abortion at 24 or more weeks, conspiracy and other related charges, Williams said in the statement. She has no medical license and is accused of performing illegal abortions at the clinic, Williams said.

Elizabeth Hampton, 51, of Philadelphia, who is Gosnell's sister-in-law, is facing hindering prosecution, perjury, false swearing and obstructing administration of law charges.

Law enforcement officers came upon "the medical abuses" while investigating tips that the doctor had been illegally selling thousands of prescriptions for OxyContin and other narcotics to "patients" that he never examined, Williams' statement said.

The doctor himself was seldom present, Williams' statement charged. In his absence, untrained, unsupervised workers, including the teenage girl, routinely injected sedatives into women undergoing illegal late-term abortions, Williams' statement alleged.

Among numerous charges, Gosnell is accused of third-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, Williams said.

Mongar died on November 20, 2009, when she was overdosed with anesthetics prescribed by Gosnell, Williams said.

Gosnell is also facing seven murder charges in the deaths of infants allegedly killed after being born viable and alive during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy in illegal, late term abortions, Williams said.

Gosnell is also charged with infanticide, conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks of pregnancy, corpse abuse, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses, Williams said in the statement.

Seven other employees at the clinic were also charged, according to the statement:

-- Lynda Williams, 42, of Wilmington, Delaware, is also charged with third-degree murder in Mongar's death. Williams is accused of being an unlicensed worker who routinely performed illegal operations and administered anesthesia. She is also facing murder charges for the death of a viable baby born alive, abortion at 24 or more weeks and other related offenses.

-- Sherry West, 51, of Newark, Delaware, is charged with third-degree murder. She was allegedly an unlicensed worker at the clinic who routinely performed illegal operations and administered anesthesia. She is also facing a charge of providing an abortion at 24 or more weeks and other related offenses.

-- Adrienne Moton, 33, of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, is charged with murder in the death of a viable baby born alive. She was allegedly an unlicensed worker at the clinic who routinely and illegally administered anesthesia to patients.

-- Steven Massof, 48, of Pittsburgh, is facing murder charges for the deaths of two viable babies born alive. Massof, a medical school graduate without a license or any certification, allegedly worked as a doctor at the clinic. He is also facing conspiracy and other related charges.

-- Eileen O'Neill, 54, of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, is a medical school graduate who allegedly worked as a doctor at the clinic without a license or certification. She is facing theft by deception, conspiracy, perjury and false swearing charges.

-- Tina Baldwin, 45, of Philadelphia, is facing racketeering, conspiracy and corruption of a minor charges. She was allegedly an unlicensed worker at the clinic who illegally administered anesthesia to patients and allowed her 15-year-old daughter to administer anesthesia to patients as well.

-- Office manager Maddline Joe, 53, of Philadelphia, is charged with conspiracy.


  1. The Democratic Party's long time abortion plank of "Safe, Legal and Rare" has been reduced to a nuanced version that states: "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right."

    Strongly and Unequivocally might make it easier for party supports to turn a blind eye towards minor infractions...and I think most people ESPECIALLY the state department thought what was going on was MINOR infractions not the atrocities that have come to light. It's also especially noteworthy that rare is no longer a part of their plank. Words have meaning and ideas have consequences. I think we are seeing some of both.

  2. What this man was doing to the babies specifically is in essence no different than what all abortion doctors do. Whether we want to believe it or not, it is a life or at least a life forming and they do have the capacity to feel. No doubt he should be convicted of murder on top doing all this in the most sickening ways.