By MARYCLAIRE DALE | Associated Press
Associated Press/Matt Rourke - Dr. Kermit Gosnell's defense attorney Jack McMahon walks to the Criminal Justice Center, Monday, March 18, 2013, in Philadelphia. Gosnell, an abortion doctor who catered to minorities, …more
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A medical assistant told a jury Tuesday that she snipped the spines of at least 10 babies during unorthodox abortions at a West Philadelphia clinic, at the direction of the clinic's owner.
And she said Dr. Kermit Gosnell and another employee did the same to terminate pregnancies.
Adrienne Moton's testimony came in the capital murder trial of Gosnell, who owned the clinic and is on trial in the deaths of a patient and seven babies. Prosecutors accuse him of killing late-term, viable babies after they were delivered alive, in violation of state abortionlaws.
Gosnell's lawyer disputes that any babies were born alive and challenges the gestational age of the aborted fetuses.
Moton, the first employee to testify, sobbed as she recalled taking a cellphone photograph of one baby left in her work area in 2008. She thought he could have survived, given his size and pinkish color. She had measured him at nearly 30 weeks.
Gosnell later joked that the baby was so big he could have walked to the bus stop, she said.
Jurors saw Moton's photograph of the boy called "Baby A" on a large screen in the courtroom, which took on a bizarre look Tuesday as witnesses testified near a hospital bed with stirrups and other aging obstetric equipment. Denied the chance to bring jurors to the shuttered inner-city clinic, prosecutors are instead recreating a patient room in court.
The mother of "Baby A" testified Tuesday afternoon, describing a painful three-day abortion process that started at Gosnell's clinic in Delaware. She was 17, had an infant daughter and was told by Gosnell she was 24 weeks pregnant — the legal limit in Pennsylvania, but not in neighboring Delaware, where abortions are banned after 20 weeks.
The Chester woman said she given abortion drugs in Delaware and sent home the first two days, then was directed to the West Philadelphia clinic the third day. She was in severe pain by then, pain that only worsened the following week, she said.
Her aunt had taken her to the clinic and paid the $1,300 fee, and they had not told her mother.
"I never felt pain like that, ever," the woman said. "I couldn't talk to anybody and tell anybody."
But the teen ended up being hospitalized for two weeks with a large abscess and a blood clot near her heart. Prosecutors say she is one of countless patients injured during botched abortions or unsanitary conditions.
One patient, a 41-year-old refugee, died after an overdose of drugs allegedly given to her during a 2009 abortion.
Moton, 35, had lived with Gosnell's family during high school because of problems at home, then went to work for him years later. She earned about $10 an hour — off the books — to administer drugs, perform ultrasounds, help with abortions and dispose of fetal remains from 2005 to 2008.
She once had to kill a baby delivered in a toilet, cutting its neck with scissors, she said. Asked if she knew that was wrong, she said, "At first I didn't."
Abortions are typically performed in utero.
Moton has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, which carries a 20- to 40-year term, as well as conspiracy and other charges. She has been in prison since early 2011, when Philadelphia prosecutors arrested Gosnell, his third wife, Pearl, and eight other employees. Most of them have pleaded guilty and are expected to testify.
Defense lawyer Jack McMahon told jurors in opening statements Monday that Gosnell, now 72, returned to the impoverished neighborhood after medical school when he could have struck it rich in the suburbs. He called the prosecution of his client, who is black, "a lynching."
But prosecutors believe Gosnell made plenty of money over a 30-year career using cheap, untrained staff, outdated medicines and barbaric techniques to perform abortions on desperate, low-income women.
And they say he made even more on the side running a "pill mill," where addicts and drug dealers could get prescriptions for potent painkillers. Authorities found $250,000 in cash under a mattress when they searched his home in 2010.
Michigan abortionist: 'It’s too late for me, I’m possessed'
BY KIRSTEN ANDERSEN
Thu Feb 21, 2013 19:15 EST
ANN ARBOR, MI, February 21, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The sidewalk counselor watched with concern as the abortionist escorted his patient out of the clinic. The woman didn’t seem ready to go. Still woozy from the effects of anesthesia and seemingly in pain, she wobbled to and fro, barely able to walk.
The woman clung to the abortionist for support as they crossed the street in front of his abortion center. There was no one to take her home. The abortionist left her alone on the sidewalk and returned to his grim work.
Worried about the woman’s safety, the sidewalk counselor sent someone after her. They found her sitting on the pavement of a parking lot two blocks away next to a puddle of fresh vomit. When they asked if they could help, she couldn’t speak. The police were called, and an ambulance took her away.
When the sidewalk counselor called the abortionist the next day to tell him his patient had been taken to the hospital, he said it was the woman’s own fault for not bringing a driver.
This and other harrowing stories comprise 17 pages of notarized affidavits filed against Michigan abortionist Robert Alexander with the Michigan Board of Medicine and obtained by LifeSiteNews.com.
The complaint paints a picture of a troubled man, often under the influence of alcohol or other substances, behaving erratically and often dangerously, with stunning disregard for safety, ethics, and state law.
The carefully documented complaint levels serious accusations against Alexander, including:
- Running an unlicensed abortion clinic in violation of state law;
- Performing abortions in unsafe and unsanitary environments, at least one of which lacked running water;
- Lying to property owners about how he intended to use the spaces he would rent from them;
- Stealing from his patients;
- Routinely releasing post-abortive women who were still under the effects of sedation;
- Violating Michigan’s informed consent laws; and
- Possible drug abuse.
The complaint covers a two-year period from 2004 to 2006, and contains testimony from witnesses, mostly sidewalk counselors, at two of Alexander’s abortion clinics – one in Ann Arbor, which was closed down in 2005 after he was evicted for failure to pay rent, and another in neighboring Ypsilanti which closed down about two years ago for unknown reasons.
One sidewalk counselor took two-and-a-half pages to recount her often strange experiences at the Ann Arbor clinic. She said that even when working, the abortionist frequently behaved as if he was drunk or on drugs, and that he once told them he was possessed.
According to the counselor, in August of 2005, Alexander came out of the clinic to talk to the pro-life activists standing on the sidewalk. “We approached him and told him to stop killing children, to leave the place,” the counselor wrote.
We told him that we could help him. He answered that it was too late for that, he was possessed, and he proceeded to give us a number…50,000. We don’t know what this number meant. He had a stack of cash, about four inches wide in his pocket, and his scrubs all dirty and stained in blood. His speech was very slow, and not very clear. When walking, Alexander seemed not very coordinated, almost like if he had been drinking.
The counselor wrote that he often seemed to be in an altered state during their interactions. In October 2005, the abortionist invited the pro-lifers in to talk. They took him up on his offer. “We talked for 30 min [sic] and then we prayed over him,” the counselor wrote. “After that, we had the opportunity to pray over him every Friday for the next couple of months, and interact with him more. During these times, we always noticed how he walked slow and almost in a state of sleep, or confusion. His speech was also impaired and he would say things that were not clear.”
In November, a former clinic worker who had been laid off came to the facility to get a recommendation from Alexander for a job she was applying for. She spoke to the counselor about what she believed led to her termination. “[S]he said that Robert Alexander laid her off when she overheard him talking to somebody on the phone,” wrote the counselor. “She said that he was explaining why his blood showed some high level of a particular drug in it.” According to the former clinic worker, Alexander claimed he had pricked himself when getting ready to give the drug to a patient. The caller said the levels were too high to be just a prick. When he got off the phone, Alexander told the clinic worker he could no longer afford her, but she thought he just didn’t want her to learn more than she had already heard about the situation.
Another former clinic worker came to see the counselor right after quitting her job.
“Women’s Choice was a busy and hostile clinic to do counseling at,” the counselor wrote. “There was a clinic worker, who we believe was the clinic coordinator.…She was very hostile with us all the time. One day…a friend of mine who counsels with me went to the clinic, and this lady was in her car waiting for us. She said that she had just quit her job there. She said that Robert Alexander was particularly confused that day. That he had asked her to signed [sic] false papers and she refused, and that he had tried to do an abortion on a 7 month old baby and charge $3000 for it. She said she was getting out of there before it got too bad.”
Not long after that, the Ann Arbor clinic closed because Alexander stopped paying the rent.
Monica Miller, who heads the group Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, was able to enter the facility a few days after the eviction with a realtor and a few other pro-life activists. In her notarized affidavit, she describes the hastily abandoned facility as “exceptionally unkempt and dirty.”
“Several piles of garbage bags occupied one room along with containers of blood-material,” she wrote. “There was a small area of blood spattering on the wall of this room…In another room I observed open syringes with exposed hypodermic needles.”
Another affidavit from someone who searched the facility with Miller guessed the room was full of trash because the dumpster behind the facility had been removed a month prior. “Apparently, in the last month of business,” he wrote, “Woman’s Choice received no garbage service; the garbage was being stored in a spare room.”
Suspicious that Alexander may have left the remains of aborted babies in those bags, he opened one to look. He found a plastic bag with formalin inside labeled “Abortion – 13 weeks.” The bag had been sliced open. Elsewhere in the clinic, he found trash cans spattered with blood. One had an open cup set on top of it. The cup was filled with what appeared to be blood.
Over the next few weeks, as Alexander searched for a new location for his abortion mill, Miller and other pro-life activists called him several times posing as women seeking abortions to find out where he would set up shop next. Miller noted that each time they made an appointment, Alexander told them to print informed consent paperwork off the Michigan.gov website, sign it and bring it with them, but to just “skip the right-to-life questions” and “go to the end of the form,” in clear violation of Michigan’s informed consent law.
When Alexander offered to schedule an abortion for one of them at a small office suite in Ann Arbor, Miller met with the landlord and asked if he knew the space would be used as an abortion mill. The landlord was surprised. Alexander had told him he would be running a medical referral service, not performing surgery.
“Both [the landlord and his assistant] told me that this space was not set up as a doctor’s office,” Miller wrote. “There was no sink or running water, for instance, of any kind on the premises.”
That landlord decided not to rent to Alexander after all, but another landlord, this one in Ypsilanti, had allowed Alexander to store abortion equipment and furniture on his property in a small office space after his eviction. While the two were still negotiating over a possible lease arrangement, with no paperwork signed and no permits filed, Alexander began arranging abortion appointments at that makeshift ‘office,’ which also lacked running water or a toilet. Again, Miller contacted the landlord, and once again Alexander was denied a lease.
Finally, Alexander managed to secure a space in Ypsilanti. City statues require a building inspection to be performed and occupancy permits to be issued before business can take place on any property, but she says Alexander started scheduling abortions before he ever asked for an inspection or applied for any permits.
Miller went to the facility to confront him.
“I opened the door to the office and walked in,” Miller wrote. “Alexander asked me, ‘Do you have an appointment?’ I said, ‘No, I just want to talk with you.’ He answered, ‘I can’t talk with you, I’m seeing a patient right now.’” Through the veiled window to the back room, Miller could see the outline of a person waiting. Both Alexander and his assistant were wearing scrubs.
Miller reminded Alexander that he was not supposed to conduct business without an inspection or permits, then left the building. She stood on the sidewalk outside for a while, long enough to see Alexander remove the pink and orange “Woman’s Choice” sign advertising his abortion services from the window.
That afternoon, he did apply for permits, but he continued his practice in the meantime, Miller said.
When Miller called later that same afternoon to ask for an abortion, the assistant scheduled her for the following day.
As for the woman taken by ambulance from the parking lot where sidewalk counselors found her, dazed and vomiting? She survived. She called the sidewalk counselor who had helped her (and provided her phone number) later that same night and asked to be picked up from the hospital. She wanted a ride back to the parking lot to pick up her car. When the counselor picked her up, she told her a little about what had happened.
Dr. Alexander, she said, had told her an abortion would cost $250. When she arrived at his office, he raised the price. She protested, telling him she had only $270 in her wallet, but needed the last $20 to buy gas for her car so she could get to work. After the procedure, she checked her purse. The $20 she had withheld from him was gone. She confronted him about it, but he denied taking the money. Then he walked her across the street and left her there alone, still drugged, with a wallet as empty as her womb.
All of these troubling allegations are in 17 pages of notarized affidavits obtained by LifeSiteNews – but only after they were rejected out of hand by officials in the state of Michigan. Because the evidence was collected by pro-life advocates, Michigan Board of Medicine chairman Dr. George Shade dismissed it, accusing the pro-lifers of a conspiracy to discredit his former protégé.
Alexander, whose filthy Muskegon clinic was shut down by local authorities as a threat to public health in late 2012, has a long history of trouble with the law. His medical license was revoked in 1990 and he served time in federal prison for selling illegal prescriptions for controlled substances out of a weight loss clinic. Dr. Shade was the one who helped Alexander get his license back upon his release, writing a letter on his behalf and hiring the ex-con into a training program under his supervision.
Shade is now facing tough questions about an investigation he blocked into botched abortions at Alexander’s Muskegon clinic in 2010, but the complaint obtained by LifeSiteNews indicates he may have been covering up Alexander’s misdeeds for a lot longer than that.
Alexander recently abruptly left his job at an abortion mill in Detroit and reportedly now works at a public STD clinic in the same city. An attempt by LifeSiteNews to reach Alexander for comment at his place of employment was unsuccessful.