Four years ago, the gruesome details behind Pennsylvania’s House of Horrors found a face – an identity – in Kermit Gosnell. After decades of performing abortions, Gosnell had finally been convicted in the deaths of one woman and several infants. Photos of snipped necks, chilling accounts of babies born squirming, and accusations of medical negligence rested at the feet of a man whose former colleagues had joined to testify against him in court.
And while it is impossible to be anything but disturbed at Gosnell’s active malevolence and violent disregard for human life, he is not the real face of the horrors uncovered at 3801 Lancaster.
The real face is far more sinister than that of any single man or woman. Kermit Gosnell sits in prison, but justice has not won. Today, the doors of many other houses of horror stay open. If we can look past the blood and gore, there is one gift Gosnell gave us: a window into an industry that too often bathes in the light of brightly painted waiting rooms and pink-lettered slogans. Gosnell was but a single representative of America’s dangerous abortion industry.
Planned Parenthood is the industry’s best-known representative. Their President Cecile Richards would like America to be assured that Gosnell was merely an outlier, nothing like the cautious care provided at Planned Parenthood – but these well-crafted claims do not reality make.
Only a month prior to Gosnell’s conviction, nurses at a Planned Parenthood in Delaware described eerily similar conditions that they called “ridiculously unsafe,” including five botched abortions in five weeks, unwashed operating tables, and bloody drainage from women all over. A nationwide report that reviewed 227 abortion providers in 32 states discovered 1,400 health and safety deficiencies committed from 2008 to 2016. The most common was the “failure to ensure a safe and sanitary environment and to follow infection control policies – found at 130 clinics in 22 states.
Even beyond the horrors of such facilities for women lie the human beings who are taken apart inside them. The women have their hearts and mother-yearnings laid bare and spilled out on the linoleum of abortion chains across the nation. The babies – born or unborn, they are still babies – who may not be snipped across their necks, are certainly torn and rent in pieces. Science has proven that many of these babies can feel pain, and abortion doctors have testified to pulling out hearts still beating and small, intact faces.
Such gruesome accounts sound like something straight from the Brothers Grimm, but they take place down the street from our homes, our churches, and our businesses every day. Dr. Anthony Levatino, who performed over 1,000 abortions before quitting, describes a D&E abortion – the most common second-trimester abortion procedure performed in the United States.
“You feel something let go, and out pops a fully formed leg, about 4 to 5 inches long. Reach in again and grasp whatever you can…. You can then extract the skull pieces. If you have a really bad day like I often did, a little face may come out and stare back at you.”
That violent injustice happens at Planned Parenthood clinics every day.
While Gosnell’s House of Horrors is no more, we cannot shut our eyes to the horrors we keep with us, beside us, among us. Horror is still horror – whether it is committed in a dank, dirty, leaking office or behind white, bleached walls with signs tinted pink.
Three policies would go a long way toward preventing these horrors: rigorous clinic inspections; late-term abortion bans that reflect the science of fetal pain; and stopping the flow of tax dollars to the abortion industry. The grim reality of abortion clinics and abortion procedures compels a civilized society to pass laws that protect women and children.
Putting Kermit Gosnell behind bars was the right thing to do. Far better still to ensure that chambers like his never open in the first place.