Philly DA: State agencies responsible for Gosnell’s atrocities

posted at 10:55 am on February 9, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Had two state agencies in Pennsylvania bothered to do their jobs and investigate any of the complaints they received about Kermit Gosnell’s abbatoir of an abortion clinic over the years, Philadelphia district attorney Seth Williams told the state legislature, they could have saved hundreds of lives and the health of an uncountable number of women.  Instead, they turned a blind eye to it all — and Williams told legislators that Gosnell’s preying on the poor had a lot to do with it:

Testifying before a Senate joint committee meeting, Williams laid out a case of a massive “system failure” by the Departments of State and Health which he said ignored years of complaints and allowed the abortion clinic run by a doctor now charged with murder to operate for unchecked for almost two decades.

Williams and his top deputies told a joint Senate hearing that had any state official followed up on a single piece of the voluminous amount of evidence suggesting wrongdoing, or set foot in the filthy clinic, it would have immediately been shut down. …

esponding to a question from Sen. Bob Mensch (R., Montgomery) about whether he thought culture played a role in the absence of enforcement, Williams nodded in agreement.

“It would not have gone on so long,” said Williams. “If the clinic had been located five miles away in Montgomery County, in the nice suburbs of Philadelphia, someone would have heeded the calls.

That isn’t the real cultural question, however.  The reason why the state of Pennsylvania didn’t bother to inspect Gosnell’s clinic is because of the political pressure on agencies to protect the operation of abortion clinics.  It’s politically incorrect to portray abortions as outpatient surgery, which is exactly what it is, and to apply the same standards on abortion clinics as any other outpatient surgery center.  Abortion supporters want to portray the procedure as so routine and inconsequential that it doesn’t require oversight — and that leaves women at the mercy of predators like Gosnell.  In Pennsylvania, abortion clinics aren’t required to register as outpatient surgical centers, and the state didn’t even bother to enforce the regulations that did apply to Gosnell’s clinic, even after women turned up in emergencies rooms and morgues after Gosnell’s treatments.

In another development, the same bureaucrats that acted with “total incompetence” have now begun to stonewall investigators:

Ann Ponterio, chief of the homicide unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, said state officials who appeared before the grand jury last year were “dismissive” of the allegations against Gosnell and are no longer cooperating in what she described as an ongoing investigation into the clinic’s operations.

She said outside attorneys have been hired to represent several officials with the Department of State and Health at a cost to taxpayers of $116,000 so far.

Sounds like an opportunity for Governor Tom Corbett to clean house at both agencies, starting with anyone who shrugged off a complaint about Gosnell or failed to follow up on a death or incident of malpractice.

Meanwhile, as the state pays for expensive private representation for those bureaucrats, a judge has refused Gosnell’s attempt to get the state to pay for his attorneys:

Rejecting the claim that he was “close to destitute,” a Philadelphia judge ordered abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell to get a lawyer by Wednesday and warned that the physician could face the death penalty on charges of killing a patient and seven newborn infants at his West Philadelphia clinic.

The stark warning from Common Pleas Court Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes at a hearing Friday did not appear to surprise Gosnell or dampen his amiable, courtly demeanor …

“You’re not eligible,” Hughes told Gosnell after Assistant District Attorneys Joanne Pescatore and Christine Wechsler said public records showed the Gosnells jointly or individually own a total of 17 properties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Texas, as well as a boat.

Gosnell appears completely unconcerned about his fate, or resigned to it.  The judge scolded him for waving and saying hello to a local reporter during the hearing, telling Gosnell, “This is not a social event.  You need to focus.”

Prosecutors will decide by March 2nd whether to seek the death penalty for Gosnell and his co-defendants.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Funny how nobody other than a few select blog readers knows anything about this. Shame on the media – including Rush, et al.

Vashta.Nerada on February 9, 2011 at 10:58 AM

An “uncountable number?” That doesn’t make any sense.

How about simply “untold” or “unknown”?

DaydreamBeliever on February 9, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Not ‘incompetence’ .. it was indifference. .

Skandia Recluse on February 9, 2011 at 11:01 AM

It wasn’t incompetence, it was by design.

Vera on February 9, 2011 at 11:02 AM

state officials who appeared before the grand jury last year were “dismissive” of the allegations against Gosnell and are no longer cooperating

Thats because they have the right to remain silent, as all criminals do.

BobMbx on February 9, 2011 at 11:02 AM

The state agencies were complicit but Gosnell was responsible. Turning a blind eye should also put them in the dock with the doc.

Kissmygrits on February 9, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Drag the state officials before the same death penalty jury that Gosnell will face, they are complicit in his crimes.

If they want state-supplied legal representation, offer them the public defenders office, or the officials can pay for their own lawyer of choice out of their own pocket.

Bishop on February 9, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Incompetence? Gross negligence?

In government?

I’m shocked to hear of this. I must look into it.

Professor Blather on February 9, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Government officials were complicit in murder of the 8 babies born alive & then killed (and how many more than those 8?)

rbj on February 9, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Rejecting the claim that he was “close to destitute,” a Philadelphia judge ordered abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell to get a lawyer by Wednesday and warned that the physician could face the death penalty on charges of killing a patient and seven newborn infants at his West Philadelphia clinic.

Good on the judge. This scumbag has made millions of dollars through his practice and in NO WAY should be eligible for a state-funded defense of how he earned it.

teke184 on February 9, 2011 at 11:13 AM

I’m not a big fan of the death penalty, but in this case bring it on.

VBMax on February 9, 2011 at 11:16 AM

When he waived at the reporter, the judge should have held him in contempt, put the cuffs on him and had him trotted off to jail for awhile.

Throw him in with the general population.

Might not have done any good, but at least show this monster you’re serious.

catmman on February 9, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Obama and liberal Dems: “Let us be clear. If you like your ghoulish, late-term abortions, you can keep your ghoulish late-term abortions.”

BuckeyeSam on February 9, 2011 at 11:17 AM

I hope Corbett fires all the lawyered up officials. Let them sue PA for wrongful discharge. They open themselves up to discovery then.

Wethal on February 9, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Dang, this story makes me ill.. I hope heads roll to the point where people will think twice before heading in this direction down the road. May that doctor have many close encounters while behind bars; justice comes in many shapes and forms.

Keemo on February 9, 2011 at 11:18 AM

I think Obama should be his lawyer………oh wait, he doesn’t have a license. How about Michelle Obama? Oh, she doesn’t have one either.
I know Bill Clinton.
This story is just sickening. Anyone catch the woman on BOR defending this and abortion as health care? I hope this trial gets some publicity. I would love to know how many more of these guys are out there.

ORconservative on February 9, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Nonsense.

Government is there to oversees YOU peons. There is no need to monitor what government does at all, or be skeptical of it, or to make it accountable in any way to those who pay for it.

Wingnuts.

Good Lt on February 9, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Obama and liberal Dems: “Let us be clear. If you like your ghoulish, late-term abortions, you can keep your ghoulish late-term abortions.”

BuckeyeSam on February 9, 2011 at 11:17 AM

pretty much.

tetriskid on February 9, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Could even be felony murder, no?

Seth Halpern on February 9, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Nonsense.

Government is there to oversees YOU peons. There is no need to monitor what government does at all, or be skeptical of it, or to make it accountable in any way to those who pay for it.

Wingnuts.

Good Lt on February 9, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Exactly. This is why we need lots more government! But with less oversight. More government employees with more power, but less to do.

It’s pretty much a win-win for everybody. And I for one am glad our new overlords started with health care. You should always start with what you’re best at.

Professor Blather on February 9, 2011 at 11:27 AM

I’m sure incompetence and indifference played a role, but over that period of time, with that many complaints and red flags, and that much money involved, I still say people were paid off. I hope someone is following the money trail.

mbs on February 9, 2011 at 11:27 AM

I’m assuming that most of these State Agencies that were complicit in these atrocities are filled with evil Republicans.

I mean, even if most Republicans are pro-life, the Liberal math says that Republicans do NOT care about the poor, especially minorities.

I’ll not know how to process this equation if most of the State Agencies who let this happen, happen to be full of Liberals.

That means all I believed about Liberals/Dems is UNTRUE. It can’t be!

//////(Sarc)

Gob on February 9, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Gosnell’s clinic has a booth at CPAC, I hear.

Akzed on February 9, 2011 at 11:29 AM

An “uncountable number?” That doesn’t make any sense. How about simply “untold” or “unknown”?
DaydreamBeliever on February 9, 2011 at 10:59 AM

It’s infinity +1.

Akzed on February 9, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Gosnell appears completely unconcerned about his fate, or resigned to it. The judge scolded him for waving and saying hello to a local reporter during the hearing, telling Gosnell, “This is not a social event. You need to focus.”

He doesn’t seem to care because he probably can’t. He obviously is some sort of psycho- keeping trophies points to him being a serial killer. Just you wait, there will be an insanity defense in 3…2…1…

Kristamatic on February 9, 2011 at 11:35 AM

As long as the media and investigative agencies stick with the “systemic failure” line and insist that DHS didn’t do its job, no one will be held accountable for letting this go on.

The ONLY way anyone in government will be held accountable for their actions is if they themselves are the ones we go after. Don’t say DHS failed, say “Janice Staloski” and “Susan Mitchell” failed. And then hold them personally liable for their negligence.

Free Indeed on February 9, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Wow, I didn’t realize the death penalty was on the table. I was expecting this to be handled as bureaucracy against bureaucracy with a muddled outcome. I am heartened by these developments. I don’t understand how one government agency can stonewall another but I am sure it happens all of the time.

Cindy Munford on February 9, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Perhaps only incompentence, but the ghoulish Gosnell was raking in millions a year from his butchery, and I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of payoffs somewhere.

slickwillie2001 on February 9, 2011 at 11:44 AM

He doesn’t care because as soon as the “charge” phase of this is over and the story drops from the heavy news rotation, that the pro-abortion groups will step in with their lawyers and their money to pay for his defense.

He’s been told to relax, to float a balloon out there for a public defender to see if they can get the gov to pick up their costs.

The abortionists aren’t going to let this harm them or their craft, he’ll have plenty of coin coming into his defense fund. It’ll be up to conservative new media to keep this story going and focused on what it should be.

I suspect they’ll try to frame it as a failure of the “inspection process” and argue that more is needed for DHS to be “able” to conduct the type of inspections that “would have prevented this”.

So it’ll wind up being the lack of DHS funding that will become the talking point, not the abortions, not the deaths, and not the actual murderer.

Jason Coleman on February 9, 2011 at 11:50 AM

It is official; Chris Matthews has lost it.

Gingrich A Mortal Enemy To Our Civilization: Now Matthews Attacks Newt For Muslim Brotherhood

Nearly Nobody on February 9, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Death Penalty… what goes around comes around…

Khun Joe on February 9, 2011 at 12:07 PM

I wonder if Tom Ridge has been questioned on the relaxation of oversight standards during his term.

a capella on February 9, 2011 at 12:08 PM

… but Gosnell is the victim here. He has been on the public dime for so long he thinks the poor chump taxpayers will pay for everything.
We will pay for the lethal injection

J_Crater on February 9, 2011 at 12:09 PM

We should apply the same precepts to Gosnell and his accomplices in regards to the death penalty that PP purports to apply to abortion. Safe Rare & Legal

fourdeucer on February 9, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Frogmarch them all.

CurtZHP on February 9, 2011 at 12:19 PM

So, is Gosnell going to get the scissors to the back of the neck treatment? Leathal injection would be too easy an end for such a monster.

Scrappy on February 9, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Just a snapshot of…..your health care on government.

tinkerthinker on February 9, 2011 at 12:32 PM

“Let us be clear. If you like your ghoulish, late-term abortions, you can keep your ghoulish late-term abortions.”

BuckeyeSam on February 9, 2011 at 11:17 AM

it is “ghoulish murder” not “ghoulish abortions”

equanimous on February 9, 2011 at 12:37 PM

they could have saved hundreds of lives

And they could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives if Gosnell hadn’t been allowed to be in the abortion business to begin with.

The Report of the Grand Jury is online and well worth reading. On its page 5, there is Gosnell joking that the seven-and-a-half-month-old baby who was breathing when Gosnell “snipped” his spine was so big he could “walk me to the bus stop.”

The late-term babies who were “the really big ones” (aborted on Sundays, when the abortuary was officially closed) were taken to Gosnell’s home for disposal, page 5 says.

Given the fact that Gosnell kept severed baby feet in containers for no legitimate medical purpose, one wonders what he did with the dead babies he (and his wife) took home. What was it they didn’t want people to see them doing with them?

Experimenting on their bodies? Eating them?

KyMouse on February 9, 2011 at 12:38 PM

The Grand Jury Report on Gosnell’s atrocities points out that Pennsylvania has several important abortion laws already on the books — and yet abortionists such as Gosnell routinely ignore them, with impunity.

On page 3 of the report:

“Physicians must…provide counseling about the nature of the procedure. Minors must have parental or judicial consent. All women must wait 24 hours after first visiting the facility, in order to fully consider their decision. But Gosnell’s compliance with such requirements was casual at best. At the Women’s Medical Society, the only question that really mattered was whether you had the cash. Too young? No problem. Didn’t want to wait? Gosnell provided same-day service.

“The real key to the business model, though, was this: Gosnell catered to the women who couldn’t get abortions elsewhere — because they were too pregnant…late-term abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy are flatly illegal. But for Dr. Gosnell, they were an opportunity. The bigger the baby, the more he charged…”

Pro-life organizations and ministries work overtime to lobby for laws such as the ones Pennsylvania already has, but such laws do absolutely no good unless they are enforced.

KyMouse on February 9, 2011 at 12:48 PM

I can’t believe this serial killer isn’t front page national news. Nancy Grace and her clone shows should be all over this with daily updates and hour long specials. This man and his “staff” killed hundreds if not thousands of babies…babies.

equanimous on February 9, 2011 at 12:51 PM

The only thing the jury or anyone needs to see before a guilty conviction and a death sentence is tiny baby feet in jars as trophies.

We need to eradicate this evil monster.

stoutcat on February 9, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Death Penalty… what goes around comes around…

Khun Joe on February 9, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Not exactly. If that were really true, he would be submersed in burning acid, have his arms and legs dismembered, have his spinal cord severed with tree shears at the neck, and then be left to alone to die in agony on a shelf. THAT would be justice!

But then I remind myself that justice belongs to God, and that there IS a Hell…

dominigan on February 9, 2011 at 1:01 PM

The judge scolded him for waving and saying hello to a local reporter during the hearing, telling Gosnell, “This is not a social event. You need to focus.”

Shades of Michael Jackson.

To the media, this guy is a hero.

logis on February 9, 2011 at 1:04 PM

“It was total incompetence.”

Utter nonsense. Somebody do a survey of Philidelphia gas stations, liquor stores and tatoo parlors. You’ll find they are all fully inspected, certified, and made to follow every public health requirement to the letter.

Is anybody REALLY crazy enough to believe that abortion clinics got a complete pass from the bureaucracy because they were too near the front of the alphabet or something?

No. This isn’t a flaw within the system, this IS the system: political correctness taken to its psychotic extreme.

logis on February 9, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Wow a building is responsible for the incompetence? No, it wasn’t the agency or the building itself that failed to do the job of investigating. There was either one or several pinheaded aholes who decided not to do their job. Why are their names not mentioned?

Weebork on February 9, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Where is the journalism? Where are the interviews of officials who let this happen for thirty years? Where are the reporters ambushing these bureaucrats at their homes? Why are news crews not waiting outside the offices until they go to lunch, asking questions, naming names and demanding answers?

equanimous on February 9, 2011 at 1:18 PM

I wonder if Tom Ridge has been questioned on the relaxation of oversight standards during his term.

a capella on February 9, 2011 at 12:08 PM

No, and that’s unfortunate. The grand irony is that Pro-Choice Pubbie Ridge backed off the regulations that Pro-Life Dem Casey somewhat enforced. As this story progresses, I’m sure Laura Ingraham will be all over Ridge’s inferior posterior.

L.N. Smithee on February 9, 2011 at 1:21 PM

The only thing the jury or anyone needs to see before a guilty conviction and a death sentence is tiny baby feet in jars as trophies.

We need to eradicate this evil monster.

stoutcat on February 9, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I pity the attorney who will attempt to spin that fact. Oops, did I say “pity”? I mean “spit on.”

L.N. Smithee on February 9, 2011 at 1:22 PM

I hope Corbett fires all the lawyered up officials. Let them sue PA for wrongful discharge. They open themselves up to discovery then.

Wethal on February 9, 2011 at 11:18 AM

+100 & the penalty should be the same treatment D. Gosnell rendered to those infants!!!

huskerdiva on February 9, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Gosnell’s attitude seems to indicate that he may be the abortion industry’s worst nightmare, i.e., a criminal defendant who is just stupid enough to fight his conviction to the Supreme Court, where he will argue that the children he killed, including the seven he killed after live birth and the 33 he killed after 24 weeks gestational age, but before live birth, were all without any constitutional rights because their mothers wanted them dead. He may be just stupid enough to force the Supremes to deal with what they wrought in Roe and Doe v. Bolton by having to actually explain why a mother has a constitutional right to abort a baby up to the moment of live birth and, more particularly, to explain why such a child is completely without any constitutional rights, while a child only seconds older has complete constitional protection. My guess is that his lawyers and the abortion industry will try to cut some deal where he will cop to a life sentence on the murder of the adult patient to avoid the issues presented by the other crimes.

Mongo Mere Pawn on February 9, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Where are the reporters…?
equanimous on February 9, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Didn’t you read the article? They’re smiling and waving at Gosnell like dear old friends.

logis on February 9, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Not ‘incompetence’ .. it was indifference. .

Skandia Recluse on February 9, 2011 at 11:01 AM

No, the phrase you’re looking for is “Depraved Indifference” and the depravity is not limited to the confines of the charnel house in Philadelphia. It is truly systemic because it encompasses everyone who could have stopped it and chose not to. In fact, the Western World hasn’t witnessed this level of banal and bureaucratic inhumanity since the end of World War II, when the infamous death camps of Nazi Germany were overrun in Europe.
But as awful as Dr. Gosnell’s little horror factory is, the real horror is yet to come. The real American “Final Solution” will come for us, and not some easily marginalized impoverished minority community. When the same banal bureaucracy finds itself in charge of a collapsing government healthcare system, the same depraved indifference will be visited on us in a vain effort to ration the ever shrinking healthcare resources over the ever burgeoning demands of an aging baby boom generation. When that happens, Sara Palin’s warnings of “death panels” will prove to be naively optimistic.
“Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
And somewhere down the dark passages of our looming future, a voice will cry out over the discarded remains of our lives: “For the love of God, how could you allow another human being to be treated this way?”
And there will only be puzzled faces. And no one will answer!

Lew on February 9, 2011 at 10:04 PM

They are not responsible. Gosnell is responsible. They, like the entire rest of the “Choice” rooters, merely enabled.

unclesmrgol on February 9, 2011 at 10:38 PM