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It’s Official: Kermit Gosnell Is A Baby Killer

Says a Philadelphia jury: [1]

A 72-year-old doctor whose abortion clinic was described by prosecutors as a “house of horrors” was convicted of first-degree murder charges in the death of three infants.

Gosnell, who did not take the stand in his own defense, had been charged with killing four babies that were allegedly delivered alive at his clinic and third-degree murder for the 2009 death of abortion patient Karnamaya Mongar, who prosecutors say died from an drug overdose administered by Gosnell’s untrained and unsupervised staff administered.

He could now face the death penalty.

The jury returned the verdict after 10 days of deliberation. Earlier in the day, they told the court they were deadlocked on two unspecified counts but were ordered to keep trying.

The clinic served mostly low-income women and teens, and went years without a state inspection. Gosnell also faced more than 250 counts of abortion-law violations, for allegedly performing third-trimester abortions and failing to counsel patients.

The nearly seven-week trial brought out grim descriptions of Gosnell’s clinic, known as the Women’s Medical Society, in west Philadelphia, that District Attorney Seth Williams called “a house of horrors.”

Ashley Baldwin, a clinic worker, testified that she saw such fetuses moving, breathing and, once, “screeching.” Another employee, Sherry West, described a 2-foot-long fetus that “didn’t have eyes or a mouth, but it was like … making this noise. … It sounded like a little alien.”

Lynda Williams, another ex-clinic worker, testified that, as ordered, she used surgical scissors to snip the spine of an aborted fetus she’d found in a toilet, its arm still moving. “I did it once, and I didn’t do it again,” she said. “…it gave me the creeps.”

I am against the death penalty on principle, so I hope it is not ordered in this case. But boy, does this monster deserve it.

30 Comments (Open | Close)

30 Comments To "It’s Official: Kermit Gosnell Is A Baby Killer"

#1 Comment By Mike On May 13, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

It is really going to pain the liberal media to have to stop referring to these murdered babies as “fetuses”.

#2 Comment By spite On May 13, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

I also hope he does not get the death penalty, but for less noble reasons, in jail the other inmates will not take to kindly to baby killers…

#3 Comment By steve in ohio On May 13, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

I am still stunned about the lack of media attention. Maybe this is an example of black on black crime that liberals claim–correctly for the most part–nobody gets too concerned over. I doubt, though, that a white doctor killing black babied would get much attention either. After all that’s what the founder of Planned Parenthood wanted, and the abortion cheer leaders in the media steer clear of anything that tarnishes the reputation of this organization.

#4 Comment By FatHappySouthernBoy On May 13, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

“I am against the death penalty on principle, so I hope it is not ordered in this case. But boy, does this monster deserve it.”

You are a bigger man than I Rod, and that’s really saying something.

#5 Comment By Aaron Whitley On May 13, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

No, I think the liberal media will be fine with it. Gosnell was a horrible human being and every agrees that what he did was evil.

#6 Comment By Franklin Evans On May 13, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

I am still stunned that there are people who still claim that there was a “lack of media attention.”

I humbly request a bit of honesty in how this sentiment is expressed, something along the lines of “I’m disappointed that this story has not dominated the news cycle on every media outlet in the nation.” It would at least contain a true statement.

#7 Comment By Bernie On May 13, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

This was infanticide. Babies were murdered outside the womb. I hope this verdict results in more legislation to restrict late-term abortions. A ray of light was shed by a jury today in the midst of great darkness.

#8 Comment By Woody On May 13, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

From the Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church:

“IX. 3. Any crime committed and condemned by law presupposes a fair punishment. Its meaning is to reform an infringer, to protect society from a criminal and to stop his illegal activity. The Church, without taking upon herself to judge an infringer, is called to take care of his soul. That is why she understands punishment not as revenge, but a means of the inner purification of a sinner.

Establishing punishment for culprits, the Creator says to Israel: «Thou shalt put evil away from among you» (Deut. 21:21). Punishment for crime serves to teach people. Thus, establishing punishment for false prophesy, God says to Moses: «All Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you» (Deut. 13:11). We read in the Proverbs of Solomon: «Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge» (Prov. 19:25). The Old Testament tradition knows of several forms of punishment including the death penalty, banishment, restriction of freedom, corporal punishment and fine or order to make a donation for religious purposes.

Confinement, banishment (exile), reformatory labour and fines continue as punishments in the contemporary world. All these penalties are relevant not only in protecting society from the evil will of a criminal, but are also called to help in reforming him. Thus, confinement or restriction of freedom gives a person who outlawed himself an opportunity to reflect on his life in order to come back to liberty internally purified. Labour helps educate a person for creativity and helps him to acquire useful skills. In the process of reformatory labour, the sinful element deep in the soul should give place to creative endeavour, order and spiritual peace. It is important at the same time to ensure that inmates are not subjected to inhumane treatment, that the conditions of confinement do not threaten their life and health and that their moral condition is not influenced by the pernicious example of other inmates. To this end the state is called to take care of convicts, while society and the Church to help them in it.

In Christianity, kindness towards prisoners for the sake of their reformation has deep roots. The Lord Jesus compares charity towards prisoners to the service of Himself: «I was in prison, and ye came unto me» (Mt. 25:36). History remembers many men of God who helped those in prisons. The Russian Orthodox tradition has implied charity toward those fallen from old times. St. Innocent, Archbishop of Kherson, addressed these words to inmates in a prison church in Vologda: «We have come here not to condemn you, but to give you consolation and edification. You can see for yourselves how the Holy Church has come to you with all her Sacraments. So you, too, move not away from her, but approach her with faith, repentance and your ways reformed… The Saviour is even now holding out his hands from the cross to all the repentant; so you, too, repent and you will come from death to life!»

In her ministry in penitentiaries, the Church should arrange churches and prayer rooms in them, administer Sacraments and celebrate, hold pastoral talks with inmates and distribute religious literature. Especially important is the personal contact with inmates including visiting them in cells. Every encouragement should be given to correspondence with convicts and collection and distribution of clothes, medicines and other necessities. These efforts should be aimed not only to relieve the heavy lot of prisoners, but also to help in the moral healing of their crippled souls. Their pain is the pain of the whole Mother Church who rejoices with heavenly joy when even «one sinner repentieth» (Lk. 15:10). The revival of the care for prisoners has become an important field of pastoral and missionary work, which needs to be supported and developed.

The death penalty as a special punishment was recognised in the Old Testament. There are no indications to the need to abolish it in the New Testament or in the Tradition or in the historical legacy of the Orthodox Church either. At the same time, the Church has often assumed the duty of interceding before the secular authority for those condemned to death, asking it show mercy for them and commute their punishment. Moreover, under Christian moral influence, the negative attitude to the death penalty has been cultivated in people’s consciousness. Thus, in the period from the mid-18th century to the 1905 Revolution in Russia, it was applied on very rare occasions. For the Orthodox church consciousness, the life of a person does not end with his bodily death, therefore the Church continues her care for those condemned to capital punishment.

The abolition of death penalty would give more opportunities for pastoral work with those who have stumbled and for the latter to repent. It is also evident that punishment by death cannot be reformatory; it also makes misjudgement irreparable and provokes ambiguous feelings among people. Today many states have either abolished the death penalty by law or stopped practicing it. Keeping in mind that mercy toward a fallen man is always more preferable than revenge, the Church welcomes these steps by state authorities. At the same time, she believes that the decision to abolish or not to apply death penalty should be made by society freely, considering the rate of crime and the state of law-enforcement and judiciary, and even more so, the need to protect the life of its well-intentioned members. ”

The most sensible treatment of the issue that I have seen.

#9 Comment By Woody On May 13, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

And on the Roman side, this, from Fr. George Rutler, at: [2]

“It is not my concern here to take a position on capital punishment which the Catechism (# 2266) acknowledges is not an intrinsic evil and is rightly part of the state’s authority. This is nuanced by the same Catechism’s proposition that its use today would be “rare, if not practically non-existent. (#2267)” As a highly unusual insertion of a prudential opinion in a catechetical formula, this would seem to be more mercurial in application than the doctrine of the legitimacy of the death penalty. What is oddly lacking, however, is reference to capital punishment as medicinal as well as punitive. Tradition has understood that the spiritual aspect of the death penalty is to “concentrate the mind” so that the victim dies in a state of grace. Simply put, the less I believe heartily in eternal life, the more disheartened I shall be about entering “a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”…

“The medicinal reason for inflicting punishment, goes beyond preventing the criminal from repeating his crime and protecting society, to encouraging the guilty to repent and die in a state of grace. The vindictive reasoning also has this interest in mind: for by expiating the disorder caused by the crime, the moral debt of the guilty is lessened. In the early years of the nineteenth century, St. Vincent Pallotti frequently assisted the condemned to the scaffold, as St. Catherine had done in Siena. He was edified by the many holy deaths he saw, while helping the Archfraternity of San Giovanni, under the patronage of his friend the English Cardinal Acton. Headquartered in the Church of San Giovanni Decollato (St. John the Beheaded), their rule was to urge the condemned to a good confession, followed by an exhortation and Holy Communion followed by the grant of a plenary indulgence. The whole population of Rome was instructed to fast and pray for the intention of the criminal’s soul.
All other considerations of the machinery of death aside, this paramount regard for the human soul is quaint only if belief in eternal life is vague. Pope Pius XII was so eager for vindictive penalties that he lent the help of a Jesuit archivist to assist the prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials. He personally told the chief United States prosecutor, Robert Jackson: “Not only do we approve of the trial, but we desire that the guilty be punished as quickly as possible.” This was not in spite of, but issuing from, his understanding of the dual role of healing and vindication. All this should not be remaindered as historical curiosities, for, as Pope Pius XII said, “the coercive power of legitimate human authority” has its roots in “the sources of revelation and traditional doctrine” and so it must not be said “that these sources only contain ideas which are conditioned by historical circumstances” for they have “a general and abiding validity.” (Acta Apostolica Sedis, 1955, pp.81-82).”

#10 Comment By Rosie Land On May 13, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

So, it’s infanticide, but five minutes and five inches earlier, it would have been choice.

Makes sense to me.

#11 Comment By Lancelot Lamar On May 13, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

What Gosnell actually did has the complete approval of much what passes for elite opinion in the media, foundations, and universities, who for years have laid the “ethical” groundwork for abortion, late term abortion, and infanticide.

How he did it–that messiness and unsanitary conditions, as well as the lack of discretion that has resulted in this trial that exposes the horror of abortion–is all that is offensive to them. They want to move on as fast as they can.

#12 Comment By JonF On May 13, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

ReL There are no indications to the need to abolish it in the New Testament or in the Tradition or in the historical legacy of the Orthodox Church either.

When the Kievan Rus converted they abolished the death penalty. True, it was an experiment well before its time (and failed in short order), but that is a part of the Eastern tradition, or at least its history.
This is one area were the ROC could benefit from listening to Rome.

#13 Comment By EliteCommInc. On May 13, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

It is sad that this person of color will be the posterboy for that most insidious of practices: abortion.

He should not have so engaged.

#14 Comment By Fran Macadam On May 13, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

We have present in our own society, all the grave evils we have condemned in others’.

#15 Comment By EliteCommInc. On May 13, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

” . . . horrible human being . . .”

Not sure I agree with this assessment, as I did not know the man personally and can have no accounting of his personhood.

There is no justififcation for a death penalty verdict here.

#16 Comment By theOtherWill On May 13, 2013 @ 6:44 pm

This pro-choice atheist liberal agrees with the jury. What this quack was doing was not the late-term abortion that pro-choice people are fighting for.

For a more nuanced look at the need for late-term abortion, please read the testimonials at [3] on Andrew Sullivan’s blog.

Rod, have you read it?

#17 Comment By Erin Manning On May 13, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

The thing about Fr. Rutler’s essay, and which I have found to be consistent with many Catholic defenders of the death penalty, is this: it disregards and ignores the *reason* why the Catechism says that the need for the death penalty is so rare these days as to be practically non-existent (the need for it, that is). That reason is simply this: it is possible in the modern state with its modern punitive system to protect society at large from unjust aggressors without killing them. It hardly needs to be said that this possibility did not exist at all prior to the relatively recent past.

Sometimes the modern state fails to do this (e.g., when killers behind bars kill other prisoners or guards, etc.) but that failure is a “user failure,” not a “method failure,” if you’ll forgive the terms. To argue that we have to kill prisoners to make up for the fact that our prison systems are sometimes sloppily managed is hardly an argument worth considering. What we have to do is get better at using the available technology for safe incarceration, not execute prisoners on the grounds that some of them might continue their unjust aggression while behind bars–especially when the ones we schedule for execution are quite often not the ones guilty of such continued aggression.

When I’ve read statements from historical Christendom regarding the death penalty, what I’ve seen tends to take for granted that some prisoners *must* be killed to protect the innocent members of society, and that, their deaths being necessary, it behooves Christian leaders to work with the condemned to prepare them for their deaths and what lies beyond. But if you take away the strict necessity for the death penalty (the protection of society) any argument in favor of supposed salutary benefits of execution has to be weighed against the always-present risk that innocent people will be put to death for crimes they did not, in fact, commit, something which also happened regularly in the historical past.

Since Dr. Gosnell’s murders involved quite helpless people, it is difficult if not impossible to insist that society can only be protected from his unjust aggression by killing him. All that is really necessary is for him to be incarcerated in a men’s prison, since he only committed acts of unjust aggression on sedated women and helpless infants, and thus has no history of attacking fully awake people of his own size and gender.

#18 Comment By Jim On May 13, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

Liberals say this is occurred because of “not enough gov’t regulation”. But what is the difference between this butcher and most abortion practicioners? How late term the abortions were? Many if not most pro abortion folks say the fetus is a parasite living off the mother and the mother has the right to kill the parasite. So, wouldn’t they still be supporting the “right” to last trimester abortions? What’s so different about this?

#19 Comment By Rachel B On May 13, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

Why are you against the death penalty? Have you written about that elsewhere?

#20 Comment By John Watson, horse trader On May 13, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

I am against the death penalty on principle, so I hope it is not ordered in this case. But boy, does this monster deserve it.

Why, exactly, is Gosnell a “monster”, yet not the millions of women and docs who abort every day? Why aren’t they all equally “worthy of the death penalty”?

Basically, I don’t understand how killing in the womb or out makes a moral difference, enough to make one person a monster and another just AOK. Babies, even up to a few months old, are not self aware. There really isn’t any difference between killing a 6 month old baby in the womb and a 10 month old baby outside it, except we can hear the screech of one and the other can’t make noise ’cause it has fluid in it’s lungs.

Lynda Williams, another ex-clinic worker, testified that, as ordered, she used surgical scissors to snip the spine of an aborted fetus she’d found in a toilet, its arm still moving. “I did it once, and I didn’t do it again,” she said. “…it gave me the creeps.”

Why isn’t Lynda Williams a monster? The “just following orders” excuse?

The world has gone mad. Liberals run the asylum.

#21 Comment By Carol On May 13, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

Planned Parenthood’s statement after the verdict says that no woman will ever be victimized by Dr. Gosnell again. No mention of the babies killed by him!

#22 Comment By GGG On May 13, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

I agree, what Dr. Gosnell did was horrendous, and I’m happy with the guilty verdicts. But how guilty are we, also, for creating a culture in which his services were in demand and could thrive (undetected) for years? I live in Philadelphia, and like other northeastern cities, faith and prayer seem to play little role in many people’s lives, and easy access to abortion-on-demand is considered an inalienable right in modern life. Little public discussion exists over whether a developing baby is actually a life, which is an elephant-in-the-room question that we conveniently avoid discussing because many on the pro-abortion side are afraid of the implications if they acknowledge that yes, a developing baby is a life. As a culture, we devalue life by our actions and by our inaction, regardless of what we might say. My wife is 21 weeks pregnant and had an ultrasound recently. Yes, it’s 100% clear, that’s a beautiful little life in there.

I bought your book last week at the Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. (and I was able to get an autographed copy — thank you). I think Dr. Gosnell would have a much more difficult time existing undetected for years in a place with a strong sense of community like you describe in south Lousiana. Anonymity, lack of accountability, and the lack of a loving community are crucial ingredients for someone like him to behave as he did. Philadelphia (as any large, secular city, where a sense of community is often unknown, could) provided the environment for him to exercise his tradecraft.

P.S. #1: Christ is risen! From what I’ve heard from friends, you used to go to the same Orthodox parish where we go in suburban Philadelphia.

P.S. #2: The Little Way is one of the most moving books I’ve ever read. Thank you for writing it.

#23 Comment By surly On May 13, 2013 @ 11:07 pm

@Bernie–there is already a law in Pennsylvania against abortion after 20 weeks. The fact is that this monster carelessly disregarded every law about sanitation, safety and about when abortion is no longer an option. He took advantage of ignorant poor women who did not want to admit their pregnancies were too far advanced to do anything. Instead of telling them the truth, he butchered their babies.

This man is an abomination. But the “pro life” media is spinning this into a web of lies that this is the norm in abortion clinics. It is not. This is an outlier horror show. Even the most fervent pro choicers are horrified by this guy and want to see him punished.

#24 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 13, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

Although I don’t have sufficient data to know he is guilty, as Franklin Evans often reminds us, based on what has been rather EXTENSIVELY publicized in many media, I had the impression he probably is, and I have no argument with the jury’s verdict. I hope it helps to establish that there is real line between a fetus, which a woman may abort, and a baby, which a doctor may not kill.

#25 Comment By ELiteCommInc. On May 14, 2013 @ 4:11 am

“Why, exactly, is Gosnell a “monster”, yet not the millions of women and docs who abort every day? Why aren’t they all equally “worthy of the death penalty”?”

I have to agree with this assessment.

#26 Comment By Nick On May 14, 2013 @ 10:19 am

As a Christian, I share Rod’s sentiment that Gosnell should not be put to death. Enough killing has centered around this despicable animal.

As a father, I say light him up like a Christmas tree. Although, I guess PA probably uses lethal injection. How fitting would that end be, eh?

#27 Comment By stef On May 14, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

What would be the fate of a “two-foot long fetus with no eyes or mouth” were the woman forced to carry it to term?

#28 Comment By Josh McGee On May 14, 2013 @ 3:53 pm


I find what the Catechism teaches as well as your arguments to be persuasive in terms of when the death penalty should be invoked. I would be interested in more clarification around the historical statements (from Church clerics, presumably) to which you refer. Are you saying that they presented other arguments in favor of the death penalty, themselves not recognizing that these arguments all fell back upon or would become secondary to the more recent discovery that execution is valid only when it is the only means of protecting others from the criminal?

I don’t necessarily have an issue with that, if it is the case: when someone draws the correct moral conclusion, even if they don’t quite understand why they are right, perhaps even misunderstanding why they are right, it shouldn’t cause us to dismiss the conclusion or the person drawing it. This is especially true when there is no obvious reason they should have been correct in the first place (i.e., just where did that insight come from, anyway?)

#29 Comment By GCR On May 14, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

I was glad to see The Washington Post had this story above the fold on its front page today, and it also took up most of the front of Express (the Post’s commuter paper).

I know a lot of you won’t believe me no matter what I say, but I think the media is finally starting to learn its lesson.

#30 Comment By Paul Emmons On May 14, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

Now that he’s declared guilty, the media are free to fire away, and more power to them. Before this happens, however, what is the justification for any substantial publicity at all, unless the police are inviting further witnesses to a crime to come forward? We think that it should be news because remarkable cases usually are sensationalized before the case is closed. But in all seriousness, I fail to see any obligation on the part of the media to favor us with days of screaming headlines in advance of a verdict.

To be sure, police and court activities are best a matter of public record. Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago had good reason to make exactly the opposite complaint: in the Soviet Union arrests were often made, and trials held, in secret, with no publicity at all. People would just be disappeared in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again. He actually recommended that arrestees should yell “I’m being arrested!” at the top of their lungs as they were being hustled away from their homes. We can be thankful if this doesn’t happen here. We should all prefer criminal cases in progress to get too much publicity rather than none. But it doesn’t excuse such opportunistic purple prose in yellow tabloids that the conditions for a fair trial are destroyed.