‘Another Gosnell in Delaware?’ Democratic feminist Kirsten Powers asks
- Fri Aug 02, 2013 19:30 EST
The headline on Kirsten Powers’ op-ed in The Washington Post today is “Another Gosnell in Delaware?” Who is Kirsten Powers?
It was Powers who almost single-handedly dragged a reluctant and unwilling Establishment Media into giving token coverage to the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell who was convicted of three counts of murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter.
Gosnell never received 1/100th of the coverage his bizarre behavior warranted. After all, this was a man whom the grand jury said murdered hundreds of viable unborn babies by delivering them alive and then slicing their spinal cords. The two surgical procedure rooms in his Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic were described by one agent as resembling “a bad gas station restroom.” The whole place was unbelievably filthy and dangerous to the poor women of color who made up Gosnell’s clientele.
We can hope that today’s column does for Planned Parenthood of Delaware what Powers’ earlier columns did to awake a slumbering press corps to what Gosnell was doing at his “House of Horrors.”
NRL News Today has carried several stories about PP of Delaware, specifically its Wilmington abortion clinic. (See nrlc.cc/14oGVgF and nrlc.cc/18X1get, for example.) Powers plows some of that ground but adds many new and important details.
It was the Philadelphia Grand Jury’s 261-page report that assured that Gosnell would go on trial. But all of this started almost accidentally. Gosnell’s abortion clinic was raided because authorities suspected (and later confirmed) that he was making a fortune peddling illegal drug prescriptions.
Outside of Gosnell himself, the Grand Jury’s most indignant commentary was saved for the medical bureaucracy both in Philadelphia and the state level. They had plenty of warnings about what was going on but chose to avert their eyes.
The whistle-blowers in Delaware, former employees, are self-described “pro-choicers” who are interested only, they say, in making abortion “a safe procedure at Planned Parenthood of Delaware.” So if you were paying attention, as Powers was, your head would snap back when you heard nurse Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich testify that there are some “startling similarities between the situation with Planned Parenthood of Delaware and Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinic in Philadelphia.”
Her summary of those similarities? “Both operated extremely hazardous abortion clinics and their respective states refused to close them despite repeated warnings
Naturally PP of Delaware attacked Mitchell-Werbrich and another nurse, Joyce Vasikonis, as puppets whose strings were being pulled by pro-lifers. Besides being patently absurd, it got the dander up of Melody Meanor, a former health-care manager at Planned Parenthood of Delaware. To quote from Powers’ column:
Meanor testified that she felt compelled to come forward because she was “offended when Planned Parenthood of Delaware attempted to discredit the [prior] testimony” of Mitchell-Werbrich and Vasikonis who described what she too had witnessed.
Meanor, who previously had worked for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, described a lack of training of health-care assistants, who she said were not required to have medical credentials or prior health-care work experience. Said Meanor, "Most of the abuses I observed...stemmed from the fact that untrained health care assistants were assigned serious medical responsibilities that they were not trained to perform," such as assisting with abortions.
We’ve detailed the trail of allegations—and the non-response of Delaware authorities—on several occasions, another parallel to Gosnell.
Mitchell-Werbrich spoke bitterly this week at an ad hoc hearing, as she had previously at another ad hoc hearing, about her attempts to get higher-ups to pay attention to what was going on. There was plenty of blame to spread around—and she did—but inevitably a lot of attention was paid to itinerant abortionist Timothy Liveright. To quote again from Powers’ column, Mitchell-Werbrich said she saw him:
“slapping a patient," and placing patients on "operating tables still wet with the blood from the previous patient." He refused to wear sterilized gloves during procedures and would sing "hymns about sin to girls during the painful dilation phase of an abortion" and play "Peek-A-Boo’"with patients. She said he "rushed abortions" and allowed "sedated patients to wander down [the street] dazed and confused."
As Powers points out, if this sounds familiar, you’ve probably read the Gosnell Grand Jury report.
Joyce Vasikonis offered an important insight in an interview with Powers.
Vasikonis offered similarly scathing testimony, saying that, "[T]he culture of Planned Parenthood of Delaware was focused on maximizing profits and the bottom line; not quality healthcare for women. [S]peed was the ultimate goal." She told me that because abortion doctors were contractors and paid per procedure, they pushed the nurses to keep the women coming in and out as fast as possible, which put the women’s safety and health at risk. According to a report by the Philadelphia ABC News affiliate WPVI, "Since January , five patients allegedly have been rushed from the [Delaware] facility to the emergency room.”
Mitchell-Werbrich has aptly spoken of “Meat-market-style, assembly-line abortions.”
The column is so good I could write another 500 words, but it’s much more important that you read Powers at www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/08/02/another-gosnell-in-delaware.
The one-sentence take-away? What is really going on in more Planned Parenthood clinics than we might ever imagine destroys the myth that PPFA cares about women or about delivering “compassionate care.”