Abortion Clinic 'House of Horrors' Sparks Debate

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In a gruesomely detailed case, abortion doctor Kermic Grosnell was charged Wednesday with murdering a woman and seven fully-delivered babies in his West Philadelphia clinic.

Grosnell "induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord," District Attorney Seth Williams said. The clinic was described by prosecutors as a "house of horrors" with bags of aborted fetuses "scattered throughout the building."

For years, Grosnell's clinic was overlooked by regulators as he earned millions of dollars for illegal late-term abortions, according to authorities. The clinic served many impoverished women, immigrants and minorities--many of whom had their babies delivered and subsequently killed while they were sedated, prosecutors said. The disturbing 300-page grand jury report has sparked debate in the blogosphere about abortion and state and local regulations:

  • This Is Just the Beginning, writes Marie McCullough at The Philadelphia Inquirer: "The report is sure to be just the beginning of finger-pointing and soul-searching as city and state health officials, legislators, and those on both sides of the bitter abortion debate seek to understand how the clinic operated for 32 years, apparently with little oversight."
  • The Difference Between Legal and Illegal  "In a typical late-term abortion, the fetus is dismembered in the uterus and then removed in pieces," explains Maryclaire Dale and Patrick Walter at The Associated Press. "That is more common than the procedure opponents call 'partial-birth abortion,' in which the fetus is partially extracted before being destroyed. Prosecutors said Gosnell instead delivered many of the babies alive."
  • Politics and Regulators  "State regulators ignored complaints about Gosnell and the 46 lawsuits filed against him, and made just five annual inspections, most satisfactory, since the clinic opened in 1979," reports Maryclaire Dale and Patrick Walter at The Associated Press. "The inspections stopped completely in 1993 because of what prosecutors said was the pro-abortion rights attitude that set in after Democratic Gov. Robert Casey, an abortion foe, left office."
  • Don't Overreact, writes the pro-choice Mahablog: "What Dr. Gosnell is accused of doing already was illegal. He and some of his staff are under indictment and awaiting trial. This is the system working. If abortion is criminalized, thousands of clinics like this will spring up like mushrooms, operating underground, out of sight of the law."
  • Something Should Be Done, writes pro-life writer John Hayward at Human Events: "We often speak of people falling through the cracks.  Dr. Kermit Gosnell lurked beneath some huge and bloody cracks in a society that insists on ambivalence about things it should see with terrible clarity.  We can never create a perfect world, in which such people do not exist, but we can aspire to create a world in which frightened and vulnerable women don’t go looking for them."
  • Regulators Should've Acted, writes pro-choice blogger Jeralyn at Talk Left: "This clinic should have been shut down years ago, not because abortions were being performed, but because of the squalid conditions, risk to the lives of the mothers and lack of medical personnel. Dr. Gosnell had a history of malpractice suits that were settled."
  • This Is More Common Than You Think, says pro-life activist Kristin Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America:
Infanticide continues to happen in America and only certain cases are coming to light. SFLA has been on top of this since 2008 when we released an undercover video of a Planned Parenthood worker, at a federally funded Planned Parenthood facility, openly admitting to practicing infanticide as a form of an abortion procedure. These are new born babies who are being left to die or are being killed because they are supposedly 'unwanted'.  America needs to put a stop to this barbaric and inhumane practice and Congress must defund Planned Parenthood.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.