The vast majority of Gosnell’s post-24-week abortions we learned of from files. But there were some that came to the attention of other doctors and hospitals that were called on to treat his patients. This is how the Grand Jury learned of one third-trimester viable fetus that Gosnell caused to die before it was born. He did so by initiating an abortion on a 14-year-old girl who is estimated to have been 30 weeks pregnant. The teenager came to Gosnell for an abortion in September 2007. Although most post-first-trimester procedures took two days to complete – one day for insertion of laminaria and dilation of the cervix, with the patient returning the next day for extraction – a woman we will call “Nancy” was scheduled for a three-day procedure because her pregnancy was so advanced. On the first day, Gosnell inserted laminaria to begin dilation. Two days later, Nancy returned to have the laminaria replaced for further dilation. She was scheduled to return the following day, a Sunday, for the abortion procedure. At home at 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning, however, her membranes ruptured after several hours of labor. She attempted to contact the clinic, but was unsuccessful and went instead to Crozer-Chester Hospital. There, she delivered a stillborn baby girl weighing 2 lbs., 1 oz. Because the fetus was clearly beyond Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit for abortions, the hospital reported the stillbirth to the Delaware County Medical Examiner, Dr. Frederick Hellman.
Dr. Hellman’s autopsy established that the baby’s gestational age was at least 29 to 30 weeks, and perhaps as much as 34 weeks. This conclusion was corroborated by a neonatologist who testified before the Grand Jury. The expert witness told the jury that the average weight of a baby born at 29 weeks is a little over two pounds.
In response to a subpoena, Gosnell sent Nancy’s file and a letter to Dr. Hellman on September 28, 2007. In the letter, Gosnell stated that an ultrasound showed that the pregnancy was 24.5 weeks on September 7 (three days before the scheduled abortion). Gosnell’s own file, however, contained an ultrasound indicating that Nancy was more than 25 weeks pregnant, based on a measurement of the fetus’s head. Dr. Hellman testified that even that ultrasound appeared to have been manipulated to make the fetus’s head appear smaller. Dr. Hellman’s measurement of the skull during the autopsy showed that Nancy was almost 30 weeks pregnant. Baby girl aborted by Gosnell.
Gosnell also wrote in his letter to Dr. Hellman that he had injected the fetus with Digoxin the day before the birth, in order to cause fetal demise before the intended abortion procedure. The medical examiner, how ever, testified that he found no indication that the fetus had, in fact, been injected with Digoxin. The autopsy did not reveal any puncture wound from an injection, nor was Digoxin evident in the toxicology screen.
Based on scalp hemorrhage, the medical examiner concluded that the fetus had died during labor, possibly from the strong contractions that would have resulted from the heavy doses of labor-inducing medications. Dr. Hellman opined that Nancy’s baby was viable. The neonatologist told us that the survival rate for babies born at 29 weeks is 95 percent; at 30 weeks, the survival rate is nearly 100 percent.
If Gosnell had performed that abortion in Canada, there would be no legal recourse against him. A fourteen-year-old obtaining a thirty-week abortion without parental notification (let alone consent!)-- feminists are cool with that.
Carding about the baby's welfare and suffering and wanting regulations and laws to protect him? It's Fetus Focus Fallacy!