State inspector testifies to horrors of Gosnell's abortion mill

by Whitney Williams
Posted 3/26/13, 11:05 am

Yesterday began the second week of testimony in abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, with a state inspector, describing in detail what she saw inside the “House of Horrors” abortion facility in West Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Department of Health employee Elinor Barsoney told jurors she conducted her first inspection of Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society abortion center in 2010. The facility hadn’t been inspected since the early 1990s. 

What she found was appalling—women drugged into oblivion, lying in filth and left unmonitored for hours and staff members who seemed nervous about their qualifications.

The staffers assisting with abortions in Gosnell’s facility had no medical licenses, according to Operation Rescue. One of the women Gosnell had administering anesthesia quit school in the sixth grade. A 15-year-old high school student assisted in doping women with a cocktail of cheap drugs, most of which expired in 2007. Employees drugging patients paid no regard to the women’s height, weight, or medical history—it was more of a one-size-fits-all dose, according to Operation Rescue. 

Gosnell had no true nurses on staff, as state law requires. At least two of the patients had no pre-abortion counseling. Gosnell routinely overlooked the state’s 24-hour waiting period. The emergency exit, locked with a padlock was doubly choked with broken medical equipment, Operation Rescue reported, violations that contributed to the death of immigrant Karnamaya Mongar the year before. Paramedics could not find an exit to get her overdosed body out of the building. Last week, testimony revealed Mongar was drugged into a coma until her breathing stopped.

And Mongar wasn’t the only victim. Gosnell is on trial for eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies allegedly born alive. All of the babies in question, prosecutors say, were far enough along that they could have survived with proper medical attention. Instead, Gosnell and his assistants “snipped” their spines with scissors, an employee testified last week.

A string of former employees are expected to testify this week. Many face charges of their own.

In opening statements, Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore described Gosnell’s low-paid employees as nearly as “desperate” as the women seeking late-term abortions. Three have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, and could face 20 to 40 years in prison.

Click here for WORLD’s recent coverage of the Kermit Gosnell case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Listen to a report on the Kermit Gosnell case on WORLD’s radio news magazine The World and Everything in It.

Whitney Williams

Whitney is a member of WORLD's development team.

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