“House of Horrors” abortionist Kermit Gosnell was spared the death penalty after being convicted May 13 of murder in the post-abortion deaths of three babies born alive at his Philadelphia abortion clinic. Gosnell agreed to drop all appeals of his convictions in return for two life sentences without parole for the deaths of two of the infants. On May 15 he was to face another probable life sentence in the death of the third infant as he is also sentenced for his manslaughter conviction in the overdose death of a woman who had gone to his clinic for an abortion. Additionally, Gosnell faces an assortment of penalties for convictions on other charges, including infanticide, tampering with evidence, and conducting abortions after Pennsylvania's 24-week limit.
Media sources said that the sentencing deal does not include the punishment for the manslaughter conviction in the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, because of her family's desire to address the court. Mongar perished in 2009 after one of Gosnell's unlicensed assistants administered an overdose of sedatives.
Gosnell was found not guilty in the death of one newborn, and nine other counts — including the murders of three newborn babies killed at Gosnell's clinic — were dropped in April by Judge Jeffrey Minehart.
Gosnell's attorney, Jack McMahon, said that in retrospect his client had no regrets about going to trial. “He wanted this case aired out in a courtroom and it got aired out in a courtroom in a fair way,” McMahon said after the conviction. “And now he's accepting what will happen. He's an intelligent guy.”
As reported by The New American, Stephen Massof, one of Gosnell's high-level assistants, estimated that during his five years working in the clinic he witnessed at least 100 babies born alive, whose spinal cords were then snipped with a surgical scissors, a procedure he termed “literally a beheading.” Several other Gosnell employees confirmed that the procedure was not uncommon for babies born alive during the illegal late-term abortions Gosnell performed. Massof earlier pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the deaths of infants at the clinic.
Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, who has monitored the case since Gosnell's clinic was first raided by federal agents in 2011, said he was satisfied with the outcome of the case. “The conviction was everything we could have hoped for,” he said. “Gosnell will spend the rest of his life behind bars and will never be able to inflict harm on another human being. We are completely satisfied that justice was done.” Nonetheless, Newman said it was ironic that Gosnell had angled for a life sentence rather than the death penalty, given that he denied so many children the life they deserved.
Dana Cody, executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, said she hoped Gosnell's conviction would represent the “first step in seeing prosecutors, nationwide, take legal action when children born alive after surviving abortion are murdered. After all, Gosnell is not the exception, his clinic is the rule. Abortion is murder inside and outside the womb.”
Dr. Alveda King, a pro-life spokeswoman, said she hoped Gosnell's conviction “may spark justice for more women and babies across America. Justice is served with this verdict, but injustice will continue unless we end abortion in this country. Gosnell was not the only abortionist who killed mothers and their born babies; he was just the one who got caught. Now we have to turn our attention to charging, trying, and convicting others like him.”
Along with Dr. King, other black pro-life leaders spoke out about the conviction of Gosnell, who is black and who targeted Philadelphia's black community with his abortion business. A number of black pro-life leaders held a press conference in Washington, D.C., on May 15 to point out how the abortion industry has targeted the nation's African-American population. “Kermit Gosnell is a racist of the worst kind because he preyed on women and young girls of his own race,” said Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union. “For more than 30 years, Kermit Gosnell participated in and perpetuated the epidemic of black-on-black crime.”
The Rev. Walter Hoye of the Black Pro-Life Coalition noted that “from 1882 to 1968, 86 years, the Ku Klux Klan lynched 3,446 Negroes. While it took the Klan 86 years to accomplish this, abortion on demand in America accomplished that in less than four days.” The Rev. Arnold Culbreath, a member of National Black Pro-Life Coalition, added that “79 percent of Planned Parenthood's surgical abortion facilities are intentionally placed within walking distance of minority neighborhoods.”
National Right to Life, the nation's largest pro-life organization, emphasized that the conviction of Gosnell for killing babies outside the womb should not detract attention from the horrific and common practice of killing babies before they have a chance to be born. “Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder for severing the necks of just-born babies,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “But those babies would have died just as painfully if he had killed them inside the womb, as most late-term abortionists do. The result is the same for the baby whether it meets its end in a shabby clinic like Gosnell's or a brand new Planned Parenthood facility — a painful death.”
Judy Brown of the American Life League predicted that the abortion industry would co-opt Gosnell's conviction for their own purposes, using it to push for greater access to well-regulated “safe abortion” for women. “We undoubtedly will now hear from other abortionists like Planned Parenthood how Gosnell is the exception and that he is not representative of the abortion industry,” said Brown. “The highly paid pro-abortion public relations professionals will tell us how Gosnell proves that we need greater access for women to safe abortion.”
But Brown said that in reality “Gosnell is the exemplar of those in the industry who place no value on any human being prior to birth, or clearly after birth. He is not the exception — every abortion kills a human being.” She warned that “regulating abortion mills or the act of abortion will not solve this terror against the innocent. Abortion is a filthy business, and shiny clean abortion chambers do nothing to change the grievous crime to the most innocent. Abortion cannot be regulated. It must be eliminated.”