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The Case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FLEMING. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is, indeed, a pleasure to be here tonight to talk about a very, very important subject, and that is the case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

Before I do, I do want to mention a couple of things about the previous Special Order of my friends on the other side of the aisle who were talking about, for instance, Medicare and coverage under Medicare and ObamaCare, pointing out that insurance companies are not as good as the government in terms of denying care. I would suggest to my friends that at least you can change your insurance companies. You cannot change your government. So I see that as a fatal flaw, among many, with ObamaCare.

Also, a lot of time was spent talking about income disparity. I absolutely agree with my friends that the rich are getting richer and that the poor are getting poorer in America--but President Barack Obama has been our President for the last nearly 5 years. It's his policies that are creating that situation. In fact, unemployment levels among minorities, particularly Hispanics and African Americans, are at historically high levels. It is because of the policies of Obamanomics, ObamaCare regulations, Dodd-Frank, and the excessive spending that has been occurring in Washington that have led to this problem.

Then, finally, my friends talked about the fact that the President has submitted a couple of jobs bills and that we've refused to take them up or to pass them. I would submit, Mr. Speaker, that these jobs bills are nothing more than mini-stimulus bills which passed this House, under Democrat control, in the first 2 years of the President's first term. What did we get as a result? Only more deficits and more debt. We did not get an improvement of the jobs picture.

On the other hand, in the last term, under a Republican-controlled House, we passed 33 jobs bills, and the President and the Senate, controlled by Democrats, would not take up even a single one. One of them included diverting revenue from energy on Federal lands to rebuilding bridges and highways, the very infrastructure that they're talking about.

So again I would submit, Mr. Speaker, and to our friends on the other side of the aisle, that perhaps they need to update their talking points. They're giving the same ones they gave in 2009 at the beginning of the Obama administration. Now we're nearly 5 years down the road in the second Obama term, and the policies we're living under and have been the Obama economic policies, not Republican policies, and certainly not President Bush.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to talk about Kermit Gosnell. The mayor of Philadelphia says that Dr. Kermit Gosnell is an aberration, an outlier, a rare case. Gosnell, of course, is the abortionist in Philadelphia who is awaiting a verdict on charges of killing four babies and a woman, though we know that there were many more. Philadelphia's mayor said of these atrocities, ``This is a highly unusual situation.''

Perhaps it's no wonder why some see Gosnell as an aberration. His clinic was inspected only three times in 31 years, and it was never inspected from 1993 to 2010. The gruesome discovery of multiple body parts from aborted babies, blood splattered on the walls, and other deplorable conditions were discovered only by accident.

I want to point out that I think we know what Dr. Gosnell was all about. He was not about elevated principles of doing right for women, women's health and this sort of thing. Mr. Speaker, it was about money, and you'll see why.

Despite the fact that this had been going on for 31 years, it went undiscovered. Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration entered the clinic with the correct belief that Gosnell was running an illegal prescription drug business selling OxyContin and many other highly addictive drugs. He was writing about 1,900 prescriptions a month, and customers were picking them up in a takeout fashion.

Again, it was not about elevated principles and women's health; it was about money.

Law enforcement had no idea, until they raided Gosnell's clinic in 2010, that the pill mill he was running by day was a gruesome abortion mill by night. Gosnell had been performing late-term abortions for decades, and his procedures caused so much harm to women that he was being hit with malpractice lawsuits.

You see, in late term, doing those kind of abortions, it is very damaging to the womb. In many cases, they use sharp instruments to literally cut up the little baby, to puncture the skull. That's very damaging to the womb, and, of course, women can have excessive bleeding, a perforated uterus. These things lead to complications and, of course, lawsuits.

So it is a sad irony, but abortion supporters have argued for years that making abortion legal protects women from the kind of butchery performed by doctors like Gosnell. But you see, Dr. Gosnell, after having literally dozens of lawsuits, he decided that it was safer for Gosnell--not for the women--to stop trying to kill the babies in the womb. He just went ahead and induced labor in late term and then killed the baby shortly thereafter the birth.

How did he do it? He did what he referred to as ``snipping.'' He would thrust a pair of scissors in the base of the skull, in the back of the neck, clip the spinal cord, destroy the lower part of the brain and make the baby stop breathing. In fact, witnesses said that in a number of cases, the late-term babies, but somewhat premature but certainly well enough mature to have survived outside of the womb, would be there breathing before he did his heinous acts, or in some cases were actually crying.

I know we'd like to wish that Kermit Gosnell was an aberration. In fact, I hope there's a day when we look back and see the practice of abortion itself as a horrible aberration in a culture that should defend life and protect the innocent.

Since Bill Clinton first said it in 1996, the pro-abortion side has been telling us that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, yet there are still more than a million abortions each year in the United States. We know that they're never safe for the unborn child because the child dies, of course. And as we can see, they're often dangerous for the women involved not only during the procedure, but shortly thereafter and often long term. We know statistics tell us that the infertility rate down the road, suicide rate, depression and many other scales by which we measure quality of life are all diminished after abortions. And the more abortions, the worse the outcomes.

How many other Gosnells work in secret without inspections or regulations, as in this case? Perhaps they're not really so rare. Take, for example, Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who was responsible for the abortion procedure earlier this year in Maryland that ended with the death of a 29-year-old woman who was 33 weeks pregnant. Carhart had another patient die after a similar procedure in 2005.

In Muskegon, Michigan, details are just surfacing about another abortionist who is accused of leaving the decapitated head of an unborn child inside a woman's womb after rupturing her uterus and nearly taking her life. The Michigan State Legislature is investigating why the State Board of Medicine did not pursue earlier complaints about this same doctor.

You see, what we're finding in many cases is that the medical agencies who are responsible for oversight are turning their heads when it comes to the issue of abortion. They're all about inspecting hospitals and doctors' offices; but when it comes to abortion, they don't want to even go there, apparently.

In recent weeks, we've seen undercover videos from the group Live Action showing doctors and medical personnel at abortion clinics with a callous and even heinous disregard for life. In the most recent video, a woman who is at 23 weeks gestation in her pregnancy asked if there was any chance her baby might be born alive and could she take it home if it is. A clinic counselor assures her that it is not likely to happen and says that if the child happens to be born alive during the abortion procedure, the medical staff will make no efforts to preserve the child's life but will allow it simply to die.

That's no surprise, considering the Planned Parenthood representative who testified about the late-term abortions in March before a Florida State House subcommittee. When asked what Planned Parenthood would want to happen if a baby was born alive and still struggling to live after a botched abortion, she said, ``We believe that any decisions that's made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.''

When pressed further about what Planned Parenthood physicians do if a baby is alive and moving and breathing on the table, she answered, ``I do not have that information.''

Doesn't that sound familiar?

Remember that President Obama was once asked, ``When does life begin?'' of course implying, does it begin at conception? His answer was it was above his pay grade. Mr. Speaker, if it's above the President's pay grade, where do we go from there? Certainly Planned Parenthood doesn't know the answer either.

I can tell you I do. I'm a physician. It's called the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, a Federal law that was enacted in 2002, that extends legal protections to any infant born alive during an attempted abortion. There shouldn't be any doubt or any question about what to do with that baby. It is a life that is to be preserved.

Remember, Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in this country. So if a Planned Parenthood representative in Florida thinks it's okay for the family to decide to let the child die, is there really any doubt that there are many more cases like Kermit Gosnell?

Beyond cases of infanticide, badly injured women, and even women who have died during abortions, there has been an increase in the number of reports of dangerous and filthy conditions at abortion clinics. State officials in Delaware are investigating Planned Parenthood of Delaware for unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

In Virginia, again, elaboration here, there are many different examples of problems. In Virginia, an abortion clinic closed this month because it didn't want to operate under new safety standards and proper inspections that have been long overdue in the Commonwealth. Virginia's State Legislature and the State's Board of Health overwhelmingly saw the need for commonsense rules, like making sure doorways are wide enough for an emergency gurney to pass through so a patient can be taken to an ambulance in case of an emergency.

Sadly, the abortion industry, with its focus on bottom-line profits--and remember Kermit Gosnell. He ran a pill mill during the day and performed late-term abortions at night. We know what he was all about. It was not elevated principles. It was not women's health. It was all about the almighty dollar.

What the Gosnell case and these others have helped to expose is the sad truth that some States simply look the other way while abortion clinics run amuck and the health and lives of women are endangered. Let's be clear: there's no such thing as a safe abortion. Not only does the pregnant woman face emotional and physical risks, up to and including death, but each abortion is the ending of an innocent human life.

So, how is it that we have a Humane Society for animals but we don't have a humane society for the most vulnerable and innocent humans, babies? Why is it that the media and many Americans go crazy over the treatment of wild and domesticated animals, yet seem to turn a deaf ear to the silent screams emanating from inside the womb of millions of young women.

Mr. Speaker, what can be done about such alleged murderers as Gosnell? How many more Gosnells are out there damaging wombs and killing babies? If we wait on the media and State health care officials to find them, we may have to wait many years while many deaths occur.

Therefore, I call on State legislatures and Governors to write ironclad laws and regulations to protect mothers and infants from these heinous acts, State regulators to ensure that abortion clinics and abortionists are adhering completely to every rule and law now in place and the many more that will be established in the future, we hope. And, I call on prosecutors and judges to make sure that abortionists and abortion clinics that break the law and that defy the Born-Alive Act face the full measure of law.

Finally, we stand today with our national conscience stirred by the Gosnell trial to stop and look again at life in the womb. Kermit Gosnell was killing babies who could otherwise survive had they been given the chance. But his trial is merely scratching the surface of the greater reality that medical technology has been showing us now for more than a decade: the life that is developing in the womb is a baby. It is a growing and developing child that feels pain, we know scientifically, as early as 20 weeks gestation, midpregnancy, and maybe even earlier. And destroying that life is extremely painful to the baby and should not--that is, abortion--be an option.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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