As the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell continues, testimony about the goings-on inside his Philadelphia abortion clinic, known as the “house of horrors,” have gotten increasingly graphic. While Gosnell is charged with killing seven babies who were born alive at the facility, as well as a 41-year-old woman who had gone there for an abortion, an assistant testified that while working at the clinic he witnessed the murders of scores more babies born alive.
Stephen Massof, 50, who went to work for Gosnell in 2003 after attending medical school in Grenada, has pled guilty to third-degree murder in the deaths of two infants at the clinic. But he estimates that in his five years working there he witnessed the births of some 100 babies, whose spinal cords were then snipped with a surgical scissors — “literally a beheading,” he said. It was, he added, nothing less than “separating the brain from the body.”
In his testimony Massof said that when women were administered medication to speed up their deliveries, “it would rain fetuses — fetuses and blood all over the place.” The assistant testified, “I felt like a firemen in hell. I couldn't put out all the fires.... I would run around with scissors.”
Ironically, Massof said he thought that Gosnell was genuinely trying to be of service to vulnerable women who he thought would be helped by abortion. “I believe that Dr. Gosnell was honestly trying to help women and protect them from abuse and neglect,” Massof, a prosecution witness, said during cross-examination.
“The statement came in questioning about why Gosnell kept fetal samples, including severed feet, in jars at the clinic,” reported the Huffington Post. “Massof said that Gosnell measured the feet to estimate gestational age, which could help confirm or disprove sexual assault allegations. Prosecution experts have said there are no sound medical reasons for an abortion provider to do that, when blood and other samples can be stored.”
Massof, who never earned a medical license, said that when he first started at the clinic he shadowed Gosnell, but within two months he was performing gynecological exams on his own and prescribing medication to women using a prescription pad pre-signed by Gosnell. Massof testified that he also performed ultrasounds, explaining that the ultrasound machine had been altered to make pre-born babies appear smaller and younger, leading to more abortions.
Massof said that he was paid around $200 to $300 per week for his work, and that Gosnell had convinced him that he was having a hard time trying to make ends meet running the clinic. “He always led me to believe he was a poor, struggling urban physician and surgeon,” Massof said. “I thought he was hurting financially.”
But prosecutors charge that Gosnell took in more than $1 million a year at the clinic, with women being charged up to $3,000 for an abortion. They noted that federal agents searching Gosnell's home discovered about $250,000 in cash under a mattress.
Massof said that conditions at the abortion clinic deteriorated during his time there. The grand jury that indicted Gosnell reported that when federal agents raided Gosnell's clinic in February 2010, they discovered such horrific conditions that they immediately closed down the facility and suspended the doctor’s license. Among the horrors the agents discovered were the remains of nearly 50 infants dumped in milk jugs, juice cartons, and pet food containers — all stored in a refrigerator at the clinic. Agents said the conditions were “by far, the worst” they had ever seen, with blood on the clinic floors, “filthy and unsanitary” surgical rooms, broken and filthy medical equipment, and an overpowering “stench of urine” and cat excrement.
In its 260-page report, the grand jury speculated that Gosnell and his staff had killed hundreds of babies outside the womb after they were delivered at the clinic, with Gosnell or one of his employees performing the procedure described by Massof — plunging a surgical scissors into the back of a baby’s neck and severing the spinal cord.
The grand jury report said that killing babies who had been delivered alive by their mothers at the clinic “really had to be part of Gosnell’s plan. His method for performing late-term abortions was to induce labor and delivery of intact fetuses, and he specialized in patients who were well beyond 24 weeks. The subsequent slitting of spinal cords, without any consideration for the babies’ viability, was an integral part of what Gosnell’s employees called his ‘standard procedure.’”
In addition to the eight murder counts, Gosnell faces 35 other criminal charges, including conspiracy, drug delivery resulting in death, infanticide, corruption of minors, evidence tampering, theft by deception, abuse of corpse, and corruption.
Massof's is not the only heart-rending testimony offered against Gosnell. Delaware Online reported that Sherry West, another Gosnell assistant who faces up to 100 years in prison after pleading guilty to third-degree murder in the deaths of children born alive at the clinic, recalled hearing a newborn baby scream before it was killed. “I can't describe it,” West said of the cry the baby made. “It sounded like a little alien.”
West told a judge that the baby was about 18 to 24 inches long and was one of the largest babies she had seen delivered during an abortion procedure at the clinic. “West said she saw the child, whose face and features were not yet completely formed, lying on a glass tray on a shelf, and she told a co-worker to call Gosnell about it and fled the room,” reported the Delaware news site.
While the horrific revelations of gruesome mass murder for profit ought to have brought droves of journalists out of the woodwork to cover the sensational trial, the Media Research Center (MRC) noted that the mass media have been strangely reticent to fully cover the many troubling angles of the story. “Since the Gosnell trial began three weeks ago, ABC, CBS, and NBC have given the story ZERO seconds of coverage on either their morning or evening news shows,” reported the MRC's NewsBusters.org. “They have not covered Gosnell once since his arrest in January 2011, and even then, only CBS did so.”
Similarly, “after the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates’ testimony in favor of post-birth abortions surfaced on March 29 [see The New American's coverage], ABC, CBS, and NBC have committed ZERO seconds of coverage on either of their morning or evening news shows.”
NewsBusters noted that a group of influential conservative leaders has taken the networks to task for their absence in covering the issue. “The Kermit Gosnell case … could have been plucked from the fever dream of Hollywood’s most depraved slasher film writer, and yet ABC, CBS, and NBC have completely censored it out of the news,” the leaders said in a published statement. “The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates’ on-the-record position in support of murdering living children is staggering in its radicalism, and yet ABC, CBS, and NBC have completely censored it out of the news.”
The leaders pointed out that the “horrific excesses of the abortion industry — exemplified by Gosnell and Planned Parenthood — are major, national news stories any way you look at them. But the pro-abortion liberal media are determined to hide them from the public.… If the pro-life movement were involved in this type of insanity, there would be wall-to-wall coverage from every major news outlet. This cover-up is a national disgrace.”
Among those signing on to the statement were Gary Bauer of American Values, L. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition, Mario Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
Photo of directory at Kermit Gosnell's abortion clinic in Philadelphia: AP Images