Gosnell’s Mother’s Day Massacre

The news of the horrors committed by abortionist Kermit Gosnell is finally getting some visibility. Many pro-life advocates wrote about it when the Philadelphia Grand Jury issued a report on Gosnell and his clinics back in January 2011. I blogged about it here. My first take on the lack of coverage was that, on some level, everyone knows it’s horribly true and, hence, no one wants to hear it. Too disturbing.

Kermit Gosnell

Today’s column by James Taranto in The Wall Street Journal might be the best piece I’ve read on the topic even though Taranto supports abortion in some cases. He includes a story about Gosnell’s early abortion activities:

One of the strongest practical arguments in favor of the Roe regime is that abortion has been around since time immemorial and outlawing it only drove it underground, leading women to endanger themselves by seeking out the services of back-alley quacks. The Philadelphia grand jurors recounted a powerful example from their own city’s history.

It was called the Mother’s Day Massacre. A young Philadelphia doctor “offered to perform abortions on 15 poor women who were bused to his clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972, in their second trimester of pregnancy.” The women didn’t know that the doctor “planned to use an experimental device called a ‘super coil’ developed by a California man named Harvey Karman.”

A colleague of Karman’s Philadelphia collaborator described the contraption as “basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball. . . . They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman’s uterus. And after several hours of body temperature, . . . the gel would melt and these . . . things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus.”

Nine of the 15 Chicago women suffered serious complications. One of them needed a hysterectomy. The following year, the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. It would be 37 more years before the Philadelphia doctor who carried out the Mother’s Day Massacre would go out of business. His name is Kermit Gosnell.

Back-alley abortions were indisputably a problem before 1973. That’s no defense of the Roe regime, which failed to solve it.

Mother’s Day. If that doesn’t suggest a sick and twisted mind, I don’t know what does.

The Grand Jury Report discusses the Mother’s Day Massacre on pages 96-97. Dave Andrusko wrote about it last month. The accounts surrounding Gosnell’s more recent abortion activities are bad enough; but when one stops to realize that Roe only enabled him to legally engage in butchery, one can’t help but wonder (again) just how abortion, legalized or not, helps women. Instead we are faced with another story of a man who clearly didn’t care about women and may have even hated them. (Mother’s Day!) Given the Grand Jury’s findings, he didn’t like minority women.

We come full circle. Why isn’t there more media coverage of the Gosnell case? Because on some level most people know it’s true. Regardless of their beliefs about abortion, people know it’s not a great thing for women and many would rather pretend the whole mess didn’t exist. Incidentally,  the creator of the super coil, Harvey Karman, is remembered for his “safe” abortion techniques, as if the women from the Mother’s Day Massacre didn’t count or simply never existed.

 

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  • Guiomar Ochoa

    Thanks for this, Pia. Interestingly, Jim Carney was asked about it today at the White House press briefing. No comment from Obama but at least it’s being acknowledged.

    http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/04/white-house-declines-comment-on-gosnell-trial-161674.html

  • Chuck Donovan

    Harvey Karman was a well-known figure from the days of legal (and illegal) abortion around the time of Roe. He was initially convicted of performing an illegal abortion in California in the 1960s, using a nutcracker. Dr. Bernard Nathanson reported working with him in his first account of his own abortion career – he describes Karman as a “crepuscular” figure, clad all in black, who worked in the New York abortion trade in the early 1970s. International population groups sent Karman to Bangladesh to teach field workers his “supercoil method” of carrying out abortions. A propaganda volume called The Population Activist’s Handbook praised Karman as a revolutionary for actions like these. The Handbook was brought out by a major publisher, Macmillan and Co. In short, Karman was lionized by many groups who now would have us think they are appalled by the crimes of a Kermit Gosnell.


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