During the Nazi holocaust, Josef Mengele used concentration camp prisoners, including young children, as test subjects for a catalog of demented medical experiments. Documents uncovered by Allied forces revealed that, before they were killed, Mengele's victims were subjected to pain on a scale that can only be described as unimaginable.
After the war, Mengele became known as the "The Angel of Death" and international prosecutors wanted to put him on trial. But he had fled Germany and could not be found. Then, in 1985, a body was exhumed from a South American grave that DNA evidence confirmed to be his. After eluding capture for 34 years, Josef Mengele had died at the age of 68 having never been tried for his crimes.
But in a Philadelphia courtroom, we are being given a glimpse of what Mengele's trial might have looked like. It is the criminal prosecution of abortionist, Kermit Gosnell.
At this point, the State has presented its case, the defense has rested without calling any witnesses and we await the verdict.
What we heard from testimony given by sworn witnesses is that this pro-choice hero has a long history of performing "safe and legal pregnancy terminations" after which the babies are still alive outside their mothers' bodies. He then completes the procedure "ex-utero" by making small slits in the back of the babies' necks and cutting their spinal columns in half. Courtroom testimony was that Gosnell had performed such decapitations hundreds of times over the years with one clinic employee testifying that, she alone, saw him dispatch more than 30 living children in this way.
We also learned that the caseload became more than Gosnell could handle by himself, so he recruited an unlicensed medical school graduate named Steven Massof to lend a hand. At trial, Massof could not say with any certainty just how many baby spines he had snipped, but he estimated that it was somewhere around a hundred. He went on to say that sometimes, "It would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place."
When investigators searched the abortion clinic, they found bodies of dead babies in paper bags, plastic bottles, milk jugs, orange juice cartons and cat food containers. Some were stored in refrigerators and one freezer contained the corpse of a 28-week-old baby boy frozen in a one-gallon water bottle. It was also apparent that some of these bodies had been there for years.
Most of the prosecution witnesses were former employees and one testified that Gosnell collected the feet of his victims in glass jars and authorities found about 50 such containers scattered around the abortion clinic.
One testified that fetal remains were sometimes left out overnight. She stated that, "You knew about it the next day when you opened the door ... because you could smell it as soon as you opened the door."
In other testimony, a former clinic worker said Gosnell put a baby in a plastic shoebox for disposal and the witness said she noticed that it was still breathing and moving around. She testified that the child jumped while she was snipping its neck.
One witness said that another baby was also put in a shoebox but was too big to fit. The baby pulled his arms and legs into the box and Gosnell snipped his neck.
Another former employee said that she saw multiple babies killed after being born alive and that, in one case, the child was making a screeching noise like "a little alien."
One witness testified about a baby they killed that was 12-18 inches long and that Gosnell joked about one of them being big enough to walk him home. Another testified that Gosnell also joked about a baby that was writhing as he cut its neck saying, "that's what you call a chicken with its head cut off."
In other sworn testimony, a clinic worker said that one woman's baby fell out of her while she was on the clinic toilet and that the baby was alive. She said that the child "looked like it was swimming" and that another employee "reached into the toilet, got the baby out and cut its neck."
Inspectors said that the facility was filthy and foul smelling. They said that the floors and walls were splattered with urine and that some of the furniture was covered in dried blood. They also found dirty surgical instruments as well as plastic disposable speculums and curettes being reused from woman to woman.
One witness testified that, following their abortions, women were left naked from the waist down and that the clinic provided no robes, only blankets that were washed once a week.
Another witness stated that women often sat in bloodstained lounge chairs in the "recovery room" while unlicensed, unsupervised workers gave them large doses of various drugs because Gosnell wanted them to be quiet.
A janitor at the clinic told jurors that he had threatened to quit because he did not like pulling flesh from aborted babies out of the plumbing. He said that the clinic's toilets backed up one-two times a week and that, whenever he opened the clean-out pipes, fetal parts such as babies' arms came spilling out.
The catalog of health and safety violations was overwhelming. There can be little doubt that they played a role in the fact that several patients contracted STDs while at the clinic and at least two women died.
Another witness testified that Gosnell would sometimes take sexually suggestive photos of patients using a digital camera or his cellphone.
There were also charges of racism. Despite the fact that Gosnell is black, former employees testified that white women were routinely taken to clean well-kept rooms with televisions where Gosnell treated them personally. Meanwhile, minority women were sent to the clinic's dirtiest rooms to be seen by medically unqualified staff. One witness said that when she asked Gosnell about this, his response was that this is just the way the world is.
The list goes on and on and is certainly too long for this article. For those who are interested in the complete story, the full grand jury report is available online.
The answer to why these atrocities would occur is not hard to find. First, while the pro-life movement claims that abortion takes the life of a living human being, nobody on earth knows that better than the people who work at abortion clinics. The lofty rhetoric of "choice" may insulate those who work in the political and public relations arena, but the day-to-day reality for those who provide those "choices" is to deal with the corpses and parts of corpses they pull out of their customers' bodies. It is an environment that inevitably destroys the humanity of those who choose to live in it. In fact, look up the definition of "psychopath" and you will see a textbook description of the kind of person who is mentally capable of performing abortions.
Second, the nature of abortion is no different than the nature of pornography and prostitution. All three are sleazy and corrupt businesses that only attract sleazy and corrupt operators. Moreover, that does not change whether they are legal or illegal. In recent years, even abortion defenders have begun grudgingly admitting that one of their biggest failures has been their inability to "mainstream" abortion within the legitimate medical community. They may not like acknowledging it, but these industry insiders have come to see that, like pornography and prostitution, the stigma of abortion is permanently hard-wired into the act itself.
In the final analysis, these are the two reasons why we have seen these abortion clinic horror stories in the past and why we will see more of them in the future. Simply put, it is the nature of the beast.
During Gosnell's trial, it became clear that organizations like Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and others within the pro-choice community, were fully aware of what he was doing. But they kept quiet because this was a rock they did not want the public looking under. What they knew, and wanted to keep hidden, was that everything being done at this abortion clinic was within the standard operating procedures for every other abortion clinic in the country. So they, and their lapdogs in the media, started whistling past the graveyard.
Now it's in the hands of the jury and, given the testimony and evidence piled up against Gosnell, it seems incomprehensible that this monster could escape conviction. But, I'm not so sure. After all, the judge has already dismissed some of the charges against him on the basis that the state failed to prove that the babies were born alive. In short, the judge's opinion was that these tortured and mangled children were simply the product of everyday, run-of-the-mill, late-term abortions. In addition, Gosnell's defense team has routinely argued that very point when trying to counter the testimony of prosecution witnesses. To paraphrase their position: these babies were taken to this abortion clinic to be killed and they were killed ... so what's the problem?
As a long-time anti-abortion activist, I have to say that the judge and defense team locked-in on the core issue of this trial. What they are saying is that, if Gosnell decapitated these babies while they were still inside their mothers' abdomens – rather than a few feet away on a stainless steel table – then nothing illegal occurred. To put it another way, the mere fact that these children were butchered is irrelevant as long as they were butchered in the appropriate location. The tragedy is, under existing abortion law that is a viable position. It also defines the abyss of moral bankruptcy that our legal system – and our nation as a whole – fell into on the day that Roe vs. Wade was handed down.
Today, legalized abortion is like a chicken bone that's stuck in the throat of the American people. The abortion lobby will never be able to make them swallow it, and the pro-life movement will never let them just ignore it. And every once in a while, something comes along to remind them of those two realities.
At this moment in history, that "something" is the Gosnell trial. It is forcing the intellectually honest members of our society to ask themselves why they can be so horrified by what this guy did to these babies outside the womb, but so accepting of the fact that the same things are done to babies inside the womb every day in abortion clinics all over the country. Either the American people are legitimately blind to the hypocrisy and irrationality of that, or they have made a conscious decision to look the other way. If it is the latter, they have no right to be outraged when the Kermit Gosnells of this world come along and rub their noses in it.
In the coming days, we will learn the outcome of this trial. But whether Gosnell is tossed onto death row, set free, or something in between, the far bigger picture is what this trial says about our country. The late Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, once stated that America would be judged on how it treats those at the dawn of life, those in the twilight of life and those in the shadows of life. If he was right, then the ultimate verdict of this trial will not be rendered by the 12 men and women who made up the jury. Instead, it will be revealed in the way the public responds to what they've been shown. Make no mistake; regardless of anything that happened or didn't happen in that courtroom, the real defendant was the American people.
By the way, it is interesting to note how Josef Mengele made his living during the 34 years he was hiding from justice. He was an abortionist.