The prosecution finally rested in the Kermit Gosnell trial yesterday, but not without eliciting one last piece of explosive testimony. Former clinic worker Kareema Cross, who testified Thursday to seeing at least 10 babies breathing before Gosnell “ensured fetal demise,” testified yesterday to seeing a large baby delivered in a toilet make swimming motions in the water:
While she worked for Gosnell, Cross testified that at least twice a day, six days a week, at least two babies would “precipitate” or be birthed before Gosnell ever arrived. She said “Dr. Steve,” Steven Massof, an unlicensed medical school graduate with a ghoulish curiosity about abortions, would be there to snip the babies’ necks. She saw him do it around 50 times. When babies “precipitated” in Gosnell’s presence, he would do the dirty deed himself.
Cross sometimes worked from 8:00 am until 3:00 the next morning helping with procedures. She routinely saw babies born alive, moving, breathing, and moaning.
Once in Gosnell’s absence, Cross saw a large baby delivered into the toilet. She saw his little arms and legs moving in a swimming motion as he struggled to get out of the toilet bowl. Cross held her hands 12-16 inches apart to demonstrate to the jury how big the baby was. Adrienne Moton, who was the first worker to testify for the prosecution, snipped the baby’s neck in front of the mother while she sat bleeding into the toilet. Moton then took the body away and put it into a container.
In 2009, Cross testified that another co-worker, Linda Williams, called Cross over to see a baby that had just been born. Cross saw the baby’s chest heaving up and down in steady breathing motions. Linda reached down and lifted the baby’s hand up, but the newborn pulled it away on its own strength. Cross said she saw the baby breathing for about 20 minutes before Williams murdered the child by severing its spinal cord with scissors. Cross demonstrated again with her hands that the baby was about a foot long.
Also, Cross elaborated on her earlier testimony about the curious coincidence of having most of the babies delivered by Gosnell measure out at 24.5 weeks for the official records. Cross testified that when the ultrasound indicated a longer gestation period for the baby, Gosnell would re-do the ultrasound himself — and get the result he needed, although he turned out to be wrong about that, too:
Cross said her “training” consisted on observing one ultrasound procedure. After that she was on her own. When Cross got a measurement that was beyond 24 weeks, she would have one of the other women who were a little better at using the relic from the 1980′s to verify her findings. Gosnell would always redo those ultrasounds, which would all suddenly measure precisely 24.5 weeks gestation, which Gosnell mistakenly thought was the legal limit in Pennsylvania. In fact, the legal limit was 23 weeks 6 days.
Cross offered more than her verbal testimony too, as it happens:
Fed up with the conditions and the appalling way women were treated at Gosnell’s clinic, in 2008 Cross began to document the clinic’s horrific conditions with her personal camera. The full-color photos were shown to a darkened courtroom on the large viewing screen.
She photographed the blood-caked procedure table in the Monet room that had rips in the vinyl where the women laid during their abortions. That same table had been seized from Gosnell’s clinic and was present in the courtroom throughout the prosecution’s case. Some of what appeared to be rust was actually described as dried blood.
Another photo taken by Cross showed two shelves located above the same sink where Liz Hampton washed aborted baby remains down a drain to be ground up in the garbage disposal. Crammed and stacked onto the shelves were about 50 jars containing severed fetal feet floating in liquid. Another photo showed a harrowing close-up of Gosnell’s grisly collection.
There was a picture of an indescribably filthy stainless steel sink where used plastic speculums and currettes were supposedly washed for reuse. It was piled with dirty equipment and caked in a thick layer of grime.
Cross also took a picture of the child called Baby Boy A in the trial, a baby so large it wouldn’t fit in a shoebox. Later, she also testified to having an abortion herself, but at another clinic — which displeased Gosnell, but apparently not as much as Cross’ next pregnancy, which she decided to keep. Gosnell repeatedly pressured her to abort the child, offering her a discount to do so and asking her how she could work in the clinic and stay pregnant.
The defense will present its case starting next week, but the abortion industry has already tried to offer its own defense in the Philadelphia area. Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania had Gloria Steinem speak at their annual Spring Gathering this week, but the remarks of PPP president Dayle Steinberg should get the most attention:
“The Gosnell trial has shifted the focus off the high-quality services we provide,” said Dayle Steinberg, the organization’s president and chief executive. “These are criminal, horrendous . . . acts and should be appropriately punished.”
Steinberg said that when Gosnell was in practice, women would sometimes come to Planned Parenthood for services after first visiting Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, and would complain to staff about the conditions there.
“We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health,” Steinberg said as she sat with Steinem before Tuesday’s events.
So PPP knew about the conditions at Gosnell’s clinic — and didn’t say anything to the Department of Health themselves? They may not have been required to do so, but clearly they knew that Gosnell’s clinic represented a danger to the health of women in the community, which they claim to cherish. Why did PPP keep silent?