FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Inside the Charnel House

Kermit Gosnell spent more than 30 years performing illegal abortions. Many of his clients were 6, 7 or even 8 months pregnant. If babies were born alive, as they often were, he killed them by snipping their necks. He punctured women’s uteruses, left fetal bits and chunks inside them to cause sepsis and infections. He cut off little feet, placed them in jars and arrayed them on a shelf. A woman would be given labor-inducing drugs, then told to sit on a toilet to “precipitate” her baby into the shitter. High on the wall outside Gosnell’s clinic, there’s a white metal silhouette of a man and woman swinging a child between them. “FAMILY PLANNING” is among the advertised services.

Gosnell is a well-known figure in Powelton Village, where his clinic is located, and Mantua, where he has a mansion on a hill, overlooking the Schuylkill River. Before opening his “baby charnel house” abortion mill, Gosnell operated the Mantua Halfway House. Even as he collected millions in government funding to rehab drug addicts, he dealt methadone. He even hired a noted artist, Joe Tiberino, to paint an anti-drug mural on the building where he sold drugs. At the Powelton clinic, Gosnell also dispensed pills illegally. Prescriptions were pre-signed, to be handed out by a 15-year-old receptionist. Hey, if Queen Victoria could push opium, and the C.I.A. ferry tons of heroin here and there, why shouldn’t this small time doctor drop a few tablets onto needy hands?

Mantua, also known as “The Bottom,” is a crime and drug ridden neighborhood. It’s curious that Gosnell, a millionaire, would buy a house there, albeit a Victorian mansion. He decorated it with oil paintings, hired Polish maids. Tall, well-educated and exercised, Gosnell belongs to a family that’s been financially comfortable for generations. The power and prestige of the black elite were undercut by racial integration, however. Your average black man could now enter a white restaurant, put his money in a white bank, open his mouth to a white dentist. Gosnell survived this sea change by selling drugs to his fellow blacks and by aborting or killing black babies. When white women entered his clinic, they were led to a cleaner area and treated with more consideration. As he explained, quite candidly, to his mixed race staff, “It’s the way of the world.”

Nearly half of all black pregnancies in America end in abortion. Whatever your politics, that should be an alarming statistic. (Worldwide, the highest rate of abortions belongs to the country of my birth, Vietnam.) A week before the Gosnell story broke, there was a news item about a Memphis high school where 90 girls were pregnant. High rates of abortions and teen pregnancies can only result in head and heart aches.

The sexual revolution coincided with better and more accessible methods of contraception, but as this sexual culture became all pervasive and entrenched, means for dealing with it responsibly have not always been available. Many poor women have no doctors, hence no birth control pills. Pregnant, they have inadequate or no prenatal care. Should they need an abortion, they must wait to come up with the cash. In Italy, home of the Catholic Church, where many nuns work in public hospitals and there’s a crucifix in every hospital room, abortions are performed for free. Why? Because they have universal healthcare.

Indicting Gosnell, the Philadelphia District Attorney stated, “Pennsylvania is not a third-world country. There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago.” Casualties of his botched abortions were also routinely brought to local emergency rooms, yet no outside doctors intervened. In short, plenty of people saw what was happening, but they were either too callous, cynical or bureaucratic to care.

If bad, corrupt and neglectful government and atrocious healthcare are signs of third-worldness, then much of the United States is already there. We’re number three! Our brand of Third World is unique, however. We have managed to become both over and under developed. Unlike teeming Third World shanty towns, our slums are desolate and nearly devoid of street activities. Even before dark, everyone is bolt, chain and padlocked inside, watching 500 channels. Poverty always means the pettiest commerce, peddling and hustling, selling stuff and service from home or on the sidewalk, but this unregulated trade exists much less in America. With the strictest zoning laws on the planet, we basically outlaw survival on the lowest rungs. You can’t just set up a two table restaurant in your kitchen, offer candies and sodas on your stoops, or walk around mumbling, “Cigarettes, cigarettes,” though our poorest do try.

Recently, I sat in a bar in West Philadelphia, not far from Gosnell’s clinic. Within three hours, three men wandered in to sell incense, sheets of a Xeroxed, quite atrocious poem and (probably fake) Sex in the City perfume. Just outside Philly, in Chester, where Martin Luther King went to college, you can see men sell body oils, incense, clothing and nominal books on the sidewalks of its abject downtown. This mode of survival will spread, so the government should leave these tenacious Americans alone. What it shouldn’t neglect to do, however, is to protect our most vulnerable—and you can’t be more helpless than a newly born infant—from predators like Kermit Gosnell.

Several days have passed since this story broke, yet there’s no uproar from the mainstream or even alternative media. This is the biggest mass murder in U.S. history. Within walking distance of downtown Philadelphia, and merely six blocks from UPenn, a $40,000 a year, Ivy League school, hundreds of babies were butchered as government officials looked the other way. With failure and depravity on so many levels, there has been no national mourning or soul searching. That in itself is a tragedy.

LINH DINH is the author of two books of stories and five of poems, and the recently published novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.

 

 

More articles by:

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.

July 19, 2018
Rajai R. Masri
The West’s Potential Symbiotic Contributions to Freeing a Closed Muslim Mind
Jennifer Matsui
The Blue Pill Presidency
Ryan LaMothe
The Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of White Evangelicals
Paul Tritschler
Negative Capability: a Force for Change?
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: ‘Social Dialogue’ Reform Frustrations
Rev. William Alberts
A Well-Kept United Methodist Church Secret
Raouf Halaby
Joseph Harsch, Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb: Three of the Very Best
George Ochenski
He Speaks From Experience: Max Baucus on “Squandered Leadership”
Ted Rall
Right Now, It Looks Like Trump Will Win in 2020
David Swanson
The Intelligence Community Is Neither
Andrew Moss
Chaos or Community in Immigration Policy
Kim Scipes
Where Do We Go From Here? How Do We Get There?
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail