In the lead paragraph of a commentary entitled “Kermit Gosnell and Reproductive Care,” NYT Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal writes, “What does the trial of a Philadelphia doctor who is accused of performing illegal late-term abortions by inducing labor and then killing viable fetuses have to do with the debate over legal abortion?” Rosenthal uses the word “fetus” on only one other occasion in the commentary.
Gosnell, 72, was initially charged with the first-degree murder of seven babies and the third-degree murder of one woman. The judge this week dropped three of the first-degree murder charges, agreeing with the defense attorney that there was lack of evidence to prove those three babies were alive when Gosnell slit their necks.
The doctor still faces four first-degree murder charges and the third-degree murder charge and a variety of related criminal counts, and closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for Monday, Apr. 29.
The report describes the Women’s Medical Society, Gosnell’s abortion clinic, as “a baby charnel house.”
“When you perform late-term ‘abortions’ by inducing labor, you get babies,” reads the report. “Live, breathing, squirming babies. By 24 weeks, most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care. But that was not what the Women’s Medical Society was about. Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them.
“He didn’t call it that. He called it ‘ensuring fetal demise.’ The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that ‘snipping.’”
One employee of the clinic, Tina Baldwin, told the grand jury that Gosnell “once joked about a baby that was writhing as he cut its neck: ‘That’s what you call a chicken with its head cut off.’”