May 13, 2013, Philadelphia: Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder, manslaughter, and a couple of hundred lesser offenses. He’s in prison for life. If he were released, he could set up shop in New Hampshire and commit with impunity some of the same actions for which he’s now imprisoned.
Gosnell snipped the necks of children who survived his attempts to abort them, one of whom he joked was big enough “to walk me to the bus stop.” Karnamaya Mongar, a woman who came to him for what she thought would be a safe and legal abortion, was sedated to death by the staff Gosnell was supposed to oversee, using protocols he had established to compensate for the staff’s lack of formal medical training.
The carnage was uncovered only accidentally, triggered by a 2010 drug raid at Gosnell’s “clinic,” which was a pill mill on top of its other charms. (Convictions on twelve drug offenses netted him another 30 years in prison.)
He got away with abusing women and children for a long time, because the one-time governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – a Republican named Tom Ridge, later entrusted with the Department of Homeland Security – ordered that abortion regulations not be enforced. They might have interfered with abortion access, and that was something Ridge wouldn’t countenance. Ridge’s policy prevailed for an appalling length of time.
Karnamaya Mongar isn’t around to offer her thoughts on Ridge’s defense of her rights.
New Hampshire differs from Pennsylvania in that we don’t have unenforced abortion regulations as far as we know; instead we have next-to-no regulations.
I heard back from Sen. Hassan in reply to my emailed request to her that she support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Her message appears to have nothing to do with the bill, which calls for care of children who survive attempted abortion. I note that she arrived at her position after, in her words, “careful consideration.”
If I hear from Sen. Shaheen, I’ll post her reply as well.
Thank you for contacting me with your support for S. 311, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. I value your opinion and appreciate you taking the time to write to me about this important issue.
Late term abortions in the United States are exceedingly rare and occur in the context of complex and difficult health care decisions. I believe patients — in these situations women — must be provided the freedom, privacy, and dignity to make these decisions in consultation with their health care providers and family, in accordance with their consciences, and free from government interference. If a proposed law does not meet this standard, I will be compelled to oppose it.
Thank you again for writing to share your thoughts, and I hope that you keep in touch with me. Though we may not see eye to eye on this issue, I take your concerns seriously and hope that you know I arrived at my position after careful consideration. For more information on this and other important issues please visit my website at https://www.Hassan.Senate.Gov/.
The New Hampshire House voted a few minutes ago to kill a “right-to-work” bill. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are noisy with the cries of RTW advocates who are upset that SB 11 failed on the Republicans’ watch. Right-to-work is in the state GOP platform. Republican leadership in legislative and executive branches promoted the bill. It failed anyway, by 23 votes.
No one who has seen pro-life bills fail in the New Hampshire House under Republican majorities can be shocked when “party unity” fails.
Many of today’s House members were in office last year when the House voted 167-116 to kill a bill (HB 1627) to protect children born alive after attempted abortion. There was a Republican majority in place then, too, under the same Speaker who holds the position today.
One difference between today’s vote and last year’s: protecting children born alive after attempted abortion was not a leadership priority. Unlike with RTW, there was no press conference by the state GOP calling on reps to pass HB 1627. Unlike with RTW, the Speaker didn’t hand over the gavel to another rep so he could go on record supporting HB 1627.
I happen to think RTW legislation is a good idea, and I’m sorry today’s bill lost. But surprised? Shocked?
Please. Without party unity on the fundamental right to life, party unity on anything else seems irrelevant.
I’m hanging on to what the state of New Hampshire insists on calling my “undeclared” voter registration. Any candidate who wants my vote knows how to earn it.
Among hundreds of bills disposed of thus far this year by the New Hampshire House, ten have touched on abortion and one on First Amendment rights outside abortion facilities. All eleven of those bills had roll calls.
Here’s a PDF document I’ve prepared, listing all eleven votes. To view it on your own device where you can enlarge the document, click on the “download” link below the image. (Alternatively, depending on your browser, you may see a box in the upper right corner of the image that will allow you to click for a pop-up view.) See the provisos below, which you need to take into consideration as you view the data.
First, while this is an advocacy blog, it is not an advocacy PAC. Second, the interpretation of the votes is my own and is admittedly subjective. I use an open circle to designate what I see in broad terms as a pro-life vote and an “x” to indicate the opposite. Each column is headed with a brief explanation of the bill and the motion that received a roll call. You may decide that the inclusion of a bill with exceptions is inappropriate, but bear with me. I’ll explain in the notes below why I listed that bill.
Third, be aware that these votes occurred on only two session days, so someone with an excused absence on (for example) March 9 would naturally miss many of the votes. Fourth, these eleven bills don’t cover the full spectrum of right-to-life issues – no death penalty votes here, for example, since the House killed death penalty expansion this year on a voice vote. Finally, you won’t find a “score” for any representative on the sheet.
How many of these bills survived to move on to the Senate?
Only one, repeal of the buffer zone (HB 1570), made it past the House.
What’s with all the “not voting” notes?
“Not voting” means that the representative did not have an excused absence for the day or half-day as reported to the House clerk in advance. The only way to confirm why your reps missed one or more votes is to ask them.
Yes, some reps make a point of bailing out when abortion is the issue. There are other reasons for missing votes, though. The March 9 bills, for example, were voted on between 5 and 8 p.m. at the end of a session that began at 9 a.m. Late in the day, responsibilities to families or employment (remember that reps earn only $100 per year for their service) can prompt representatives to leave the State House.
Did a rape-and-incest exception gain or lose any votes?
There were three bills to restrict mid- and late-term abortions. One of them, HB 1328, would have instituted a 20-week limit with an exception for abortions following rape or incest. The other bills would have limited abortions at viability (HB 1625) and at the point where the preborn child can feel pain (HB 1636). Was there any tactical advantage to including exceptions in one of the bills?
Not that I could see. Only seven representatives voted FOR the bill with exceptions and AGAINST the other two mid- and late-term bills. On the other hand, twelve representatives did the opposite, opposing the exceptions bill while supporting the HB 1625 and HB 1636.
Privacy amendment: more information needed
More than a dozen representatives with strong pro-life records, some extending back years, voted in favor of CACR 22, the proposed constitutional amendment on privacy. That earned an “x” from me. Shortly before the vote, attorneys with national experience warned that such amendments had been used in other states to expand abortion and overturn existing regulations. I and others reported our concern.
Before any such amendment comes back – and you can bet that it will, in a future session – written documentation of the misuse of privacy amendments in other states needs to be in the hands of legislators. A majority of representatives supported the amendment, but a three-fifths vote was necessary for passage.
First Amendment protection: a narrow victory
The Senate will get the buffer zone repeal bill after the House passed it 160-152. That’s too close for comfort. Sixty representatives were “not voting” on that one. Support for First Amendment rights of peaceful pro-life witnesses shouldn’t depend on who shows up in Representatives Hall on a given day.
Genetic abnormality as a reason for abortion: a troubling vote
HB 1623, prohibiting abortion for reasons of fetal genetic abnormality, got a lopsided thumbs-down. Two hundred twenty-four reps voted to kill the bill. Anyone concerned about the rights of disabled human beings ought to give that vote some thought.
At high risk of annoying some reps who might have missed votes for a good reason or who chose to support CACR 22, I think it’s worth noting who was present for all eleven votes, and who from my point of view voted soundly on each one. As it happens, all are Republicans. (Anyone looking for straight “x”s can peruse the PDF and will find all Democrats with one exception: the GOP rep from Pelham who once stated in committee that handing a woman a pamphlet could be an act of violence.)
Thumbs up to these state representatives:
Belknap County: Brian Gallagher, Shari LeBreche.
Carroll County: Frank McCarthy, Glenn Cordelli, Bill Nelson.
Grafton County: Eric Johnson, Paul Ingbretson, Duane Brown.
Hillsborough County: Rick Christie, Linda Gould, Victoria Sullivan, Jeanine Notter, Eric Eastman, Carl Seidel, Edith Hogan, Jordan Ulery.
Merrimack County: J.R. Hoell.
Rockingham County: Bruce Hodgdon, James Spillane, Lawrence “Mike” Kappler, William Gannon, Chris True, Al Baldasaro, David Bates, John Sytek, Jeffrey Harris, Dan Itse, Dennis Green.
Strafford County: Leonard Turcotte, Warren Groen, Thomas Kaczynski Jr.
Never forget that abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s crimes were made public by accident. Had federal agents not raided Gosnell’s facility on February 18, 2010 during a drug investigation, he’d probably still be snipping the spines of babies who survived his attempts to abort them and women would still be dying at his so-called “clinic.”
A detective for the local district attorney was looking into reports of foul deeds at Gosnell’s place, but nothing came of that until the drug raid.
A 2016 debate in the New Hampshire House included brief references to the imprisoned Pennsylvania abortionist. One state representative warned that children born alive after attempted abortion need stronger legal protection, lest they die at the hands of someone like Gosnell. Another representative dismissed the warning in a that-doesn’t-happen-here tone. “He [Gosnell] is in jail.”
He’s only in jail because drug investigators stumbled across his filthy facility. Without that drug investigation, Gosnell’s savagery would have remained cloaked. In 2010, Pennsylvania had laws regulating abortion, and didn’t enforce them. Pennsylvania had an abortion-friendly political environment. That left Gosnell unaccountable, with a free hand to use his best medical judgment. His best judgment left women and children dead.
As an aside, consider that New Hampshire has no abortion laws to enforce, aside from parental notification and a partial-birth abortion ban. The Granite State also has an abortion-friendly political environment.
From the 281-page grand jury report on the Gosnell case comes this description of the drug raid that finally kicked the justice system into action. Keep in mind as you read this that in correspondence Gosnell shared with a reporter during a series of jailhouse interviews, the jailed man wrote, “I believed my deeds were in a war against discrimination, disenfranchisement, undereducation and poverty.”
On February 18, 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office executed search warrants at the Women’s Medical Society, a clinic operated by Dr. Kermit Barron Gosnell at 3801-05 Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Philadelphia Police Department, and the District Attorney’s Dangerous Drug-Offender Unit had been investigating Gosnell and his clinic for months, based on reports of illegal prescription drug activity.
During the drug-trafficking investigation, District Attorney’s Detective James Wood learned from one of the clinic employees that a woman had died in November 2009, following an abortion procedure. Detective Wood discovered other disturbing details about Gosnell’s medical practice. The premises were dirty and unsanitary. Gosnell routinely relied on unlicensed and untrained staff to treat patients, conduct medical tests, and administer medications without supervision. Even more alarmingly, Gosnell instructed unlicensed workers to sedate patients with dangerous drugs in his absence.
Based on this information, Detective Wood believed that further investigation of the woman’s death the previous November was warranted. The detective searched for a police report on the incident, but finding none, he went to the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office to try to identify the woman and to find out more about her death. Detective Wood learned that the dead woman was Karnamaya Mongar, and that her toxicology report revealed an extremely high level of Demerol, a drug Gosnell used at the clinic to anesthetize patients.
In light of this suspicious death and the other significant health and medical concerns, DEA Agent Stephen Dougherty invited personnel from the Pennsylvania Department of State (which regulates doctors and the practice of medicine) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (which regulates health care facilities) to accompany law enforcement officers on the February 18 raid. No one from these agencies had visited the clinic in more than 15 years, even after the Department of Health had been informed of Mrs. Mongar’s death months earlier.
The search team waited outside until Gosnell finally arrived at the clinic, at about 8:30 p.m. When the team members entered the clinic, they were appalled, describing it to the Grand Jury as “filthy,” “deplorable,” “disgusting,” “very unsanitary, very outdated, horrendous,” and “by far, the worst” that these experienced investigators had ever encountered.
There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets.
All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff – long before Gosnell arrived at the clinic – and staff members could not accurately state what medications or dosages they had administered to the waiting patients. Many of the medications in inventory were past their expiration dates.
Investigators found the clinic grossly unsuitable as a surgical facility. The two surgical procedure rooms were filthy and unsanitary – Agent Dougherty described them as resembling “a bad gas station restroom.” Instruments were not sterile. Equipment was rusty and outdated. Oxygen equipment was covered with dust, and had not been inspected. The same corroded suction tubing used for abortions was the only tubing available for oral airways if assistance for breathing was needed. There was no functioning resuscitation or even monitoring equipment, except for a single blood pressure cuff in the recovery room.
Ambulances were summoned to pick up the waiting patients, but (just as on the night Mrs. Mongar died three months earlier), no one, not even Gosnell, knew where the keys were to open the emergency exit. Emergency personnel had to use bolt cutters to remove the lock. They discovered they could not maneuver stretchers through the building’s narrow hallways to reach the patients (just as emergency personnel had been obstructed from reaching Mrs. Mongar).
The search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic – in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers. Some fetal remains were in a refrigerator, others were frozen. Gosnell admitted to Detective Wood that at least 10 to 20 percent of the fetuses were probably older than 24 weeks in gestation – even though Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks. In some instances, surgical incisions had been made at the base of the fetal skulls.
The investigators found a row of jars containing just the severed feet of fetuses. In the basement, they discovered medical waste piled high. The intact 19-week fetus delivered by Mrs. Mongar three months earlier was in a freezer. In all, the remains of 45 fetuses were recovered at the clinic that evening and turned over to the Philadelphia medical examiner, who confirmed that at least two of them, and probably three, had been viable.