Illness prevented me from commenting on the result of the case of Dr Kermit Gosnell.
Dr Gosnell was an abortionist. He was estimated to take $10,000 to $15,000 for a few hours' work each day. His abortion clinic in Philadelphia was dirty and reeked of urine. There were cat faeces on the stairs. There was blood on the floor, and furniture and blankets were bloodstained. The emergency exit was padlocked and no one knew where the key was.
Medical equipment, according to the grand jury report, was generally broken, and when it worked, it wasn't used. Disposable medical supplies, intended to be used once, were used until they broke. Venereal disease was spread with infected instruments. Bowels, cervixes and uteruses were perforated and women left sterile.
Gosnell had staff, but there was not a qualified doctor or a qualified nurse among them, and they were allowed to give repeated doses of drugs at their discretion. He would seldom arrive at the clinic before 8pm. Foetal remains were stored haphazardly in milk jugs, orange juice cartons, cat food containers and plastic bags. Dead foetuses were stored in paper bags in the employees' lunch refrigerator.
Gosnell was known as a doctor who would perform abortions at any stage. Abortions were performed long after the legal limit by inducing delivery of the babies, who were then killed by having their spinal cords cut with scissors. One clinic worker testified that a baby she estimated at 30 weeks had been delivered into a toilet. She had slit the baby's throat.
Officials from the Department of Health had not inspected the premises in 17 years, and ignored complaints against the doctor and 46 lawsuits filed against him, said prosecutors.
Gosnell faced charges of first-degree murder of babies born alive, one charge of third-degree murder of a 41-year-old Bhutanese refugee from an excess of drugs before her abortion, multiple charges of performing abortions past the legal limit, conspiracy, drug delivery resulting in death, infanticide, corruption of minors, evidence tampering, theft by deception, abuse of corpse and corruption - and despite the sensational evidence there was a virtual media blackout on the case, apparently because the case didn't fit the pro-abortion position of the majority of the American media. It was left to a couple of journalists and bloggers to shame the media into some coverage, but the case then apparently receded once more into oblivion until sentence was passed.
(In Britain, there was an occasional story in the Telegraph, the Times and the Guardian. The exception was the Daily Mail, which was said to have printed 26 stories on the case since 2011 - more than all the stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, NBS, and CNN combined.)
The prosecution could have asked for the death penalty. But since Gosnell might have died from natural causes by the time he had exhausted the appeal process - he was 72 years old - the prosecution is reported not to have asked for the death penalty in exchange for a promise not to appeal the sentence. He was sentenced to several life sentences without parole.
One pro-life organisation said when given the choice, Gosnell had chosen life. It was a pity, they said, that the children he had killed were not given the same choice.
Leaders of pro-life organisations said the incidents at Gosnell's "house of horrors" were not unique, but reflective of abuses that characterised the entire abortion industry. Other authorities seem slow to prosecute.