Christianity,  Politics

A Closer Look at Gosnell’s Horror

Our understanding of the horror that was Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic is still coming in to clear view. Today, the Associated Press reports more of the details about the findings of the grand jury that indicted Gosnell last week. One woman tells the story of how Gosnell forced her to have an abortion against her will.

PHILADELPHIA — When Davida Johnson walked into Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinic to get an abortion in 2001, she saw what she described as dazed women sitting in dirty, bloodstained recliners. As the abortion got under way, she had a change of heart — but claims she was forced by the doctor to continue.

“I said, ‘I don’t want to do this,’ and he smacked me. They tied my hands and arms down and gave me more medication,” Johnson told The Associated Press.

Johnson, then 21, had a 3-year-old daughter when she became pregnant again. She said she first went to Planned Parenthood in downtown Philadelphia but was frightened away by protesters.

“The picketers out there, they just scared me half to death,” Johnson, now 30, recalled this week.

Someone sent her to Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, at the Women’s Medical Society, saying anti-abortion protesters wouldn’t be a problem there. She said she paid him $400 cash.

A few months after the abortion, she began to have gynecological problems. An examination revealed venereal disease. She blames Gosnell, 69, for the lifelong illness, which she declined to identify, and for the four miscarriages she has subsequently suffered.

Johnson learned last week that Philadelphia prosecutors believe Gosnell frequently delivered late-term babies alive at his clinic, then severed their spines with scissors, and often stored the fetal bodies — along with staff lunches — in refrigerators at the squalid facility. Tiny baby feet, prosecutors said, were discovered in specimen jars, lined up in a macabre collection.

“Did he do that to mine? Did he stab him in the neck?” Johnson asked at her North Philadelphia home. “Because I was out of it. I don’t know what he did to my baby.”

Does it really surprise anyone that Gosnell had a callous disregard for human life? He’s seen the ultrasound images. He’s seen the mangled corpses of the babies that he has killed in utero. He knows what he is doing. Why should he be troubled by the location of some of the babies that he kills? He knows that there’s no moral difference between taking a life in the womb and taking a life out of the womb.

Why are we surprised that he would feel no compunction about killing a baby born alive? The reason is because we do not want to face the facts of what abortion really is. It’s the taking of innocent human life, and the value of that life does not magically increase by passing through the birth canal. People don’t see this truth because they don’t want to see this truth.


  • Thomas Newell

    It is beyond sad, and confusing that the mom wonder’s if her aborted baby was “stabbed in the neck.” Does it matter? She then even refers to her abortion as “my baby.” I can’t make sense of this… did she really consider the fetus to be her baby? How could she and kill it in any manner?

  • BK

    I can’t but think that eventually this story will end up being about how if it wasn’t for the anti abortion sentiment and protest, women would not have felt that their only option was to go to this guy.

  • John

    BK is probably right, but such an argument sort of undercuts itself. If this woman had gone to Planned Parenthood, her baby would still be dead. The horror is not that Gosnell had a dirty office with trophy baby parts in the refrigerator, nor that a woman died or (possibly) contracted disease. The horror is that Gosnell was murdering babies with utter disregard. Sanitizing the procedure doesn’t leave a baby any less dead. Anyone who uses this argument is shifting the moral issue from one of murder to one of not providing women with a clean environment. But Gosnell is not on trial for failing to pass health inspections which never happened. He is on trial for murder.

  • Charlton Connett


    I agree with your frustration and horror at what this woman says with my whole heart. However, as we were not present at this man’s clinic, and at this time information is still coming out, it may be best to treat some of the horror stories as purely hearsay matters. I do not want to defend this man, he may have done what he is accused of, and worse, but by what we read in Scripture, we should refrain from making judgment until we have sufficient evidence and witnesses to have a full opinion on the matter. If Gosnell is guilty of these things, and it appears that he is, then we should be outraged at such horrible actions. But, until we can speak with authority as to his guilt, we need to measure our words carefully.

  • Derek

    I think your advice is normally applicable. That said, if you read the eyewitness accounts that are coming from multiple sources, just from the physical evidence at the scene, it is somewhat comparable to what our soldiers discovered when they first began to see Nazi death camps (obviously on a different scale) – something so horrific and barbaric that detailed forensic evidence is not necessary to describe this clinic and how it was operated as nothing short of evil.

  • Charlton Connett


    I do not disagree with you that what was going on the at the clinic can easily be condemned, and that the conditions of the clinic were squalid, at best. However, what I am referring to is individual stories. What Gosnell did at his clinic was atrocious, and the evidence for that is clear. But those accusations which add to the barbarity he committed, accusations for which he is not, as of yet, on trial for, may require a bit of caution on our part as they are still unproven.

  • julie

    Charlton your point is well taken. HOWEVER, I hope you jump in so quickly to defend those who have shot abortion providers too, just in case the stories are unproven.

    Also, I seriously doubt that the media in this country would be making this story worse than it really is. They have been on the side of abortion for a long, long time.

  • Charlton Connett


    Again, I do not dispute the horror factory that Gosnell was running. However, for any person, and I mean any person, any specific charge brought against that person should always be weighed against the available evidence for that charge. We do not perform justice, and we do not glorify God, when we assume someone is guilty of every atrocity because he is guilty of some atrocity or even a list of atrocities. Would we accuse Saul of worshiping Baal because he feared men more than God, disobeyed God, sought to murder David, and consulted a medium? Let us be rightly emotional about the horror that has been committed by Gosnell, but let us also be just in ascribing to him that for which we can prove his guilt.

    God is clear throughout the Old Testament that to pervert justice, either siding with the strong or the weak, is disgusting in his sight. I think the horror of what we can prove Gosnell has done, from the murder of babies to the keeping of body parts, is sufficient to declare his wickedness. To assume that every story of his barbarity is true though, without investigation, is not justice, and could harm our own credibility if even one of the stories is demonstrated to be false. (Note please, I’m not claiming any of the stories are false, only saying that as of yet they have not all been investigated or proven.)

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