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April 12th, 2013
11:41 PM ET

Abortion doctor charged with murder

A grand jury investigation found that Pennsylvania health and licensing officials received reports about Dr. Kermit Gosnell's abortion practice, the Women's Medical Society, but took no action. Official inspections, dating as far back as 1989, repeatedly found health violations in the clinic, but no one ever ensured they were corrected.

The grand jury report also said, "the medical examiner of Delaware County informed the department that Gosnell had performed an illegal abortion on a 14-year-old girl carrying a 30-week-old baby." They also received official notice of the death of a 41-year-old woman, for which Gosnell now faces a murder charge.

The Pennsylvania Department of State, through its Board of Medicine, received a complaint a decade ago from a former employee of Dr. Gosnell, who according to the grand jury report, "laid out the whole scope of his operation: the unclean, unsterile conditions; the unlicensed workers; the unsupervised sedation; and the underage abortion patients; even the over-prescribing of pain pills with high resale value on the street." An investigator was assigned, but Gosnell was interviewed offsite. There was no inspection of the clinic or interviews with employees. Yet, the complaint was dismissed.

The clinic was finally shut down because of drugs – not the doctor's abortion practices. When the feds raided the clinic, they were horrified with what they discovered.

Gosnell faces eight counts of murder and has pleaded not guilty. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams says Gosnell killed babies when they emerged alive during illegal late-term abortions. If convicted, prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

Anderson Cooper spoke about the horrifying case with CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Joe Slobodzian and David Altrogge, who made a film about the sickening allegations. Watch the video for their insight on the lack of state oversight.

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Filed under: Abortion • Crime & Punishment
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. renee

    Thank you so much for reporting this. The media, besides FOX, has ignored this for a very specific reason-it doesn't fit into their narrative of unlimited abortion rights. Mr. Toobin lied about that fact. It's painfully obvious.

    April 16, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  2. Shari

    Thank you for covering this story, Mr. Cooper. Today was the first time I have heard about this man. I think we need a little more coverage about this story. But, again, thank you.

    April 15, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  3. Jen

    Thank you Anderson and thank you to the team who made the video. My understanding is that the Delaware clinic Gosnell was associated with is being investigated now as well. We can only hope. Make no mistake – this is one man (monster), if you think he is the only one doing this madness, you are sadly mistaken. Goznell has the spotlight now, but there are others out there just like him i.e. Tiller. There is nothing "clean"or "safe" about the abortion business. It scars women for life. They have to live with this awful decision for the rest of their days. He did not help a single woman, he is a butcher.

    April 15, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  4. cathy strunk

    Thank you, Anderson, for covering the horrors that occurred at the Gosnell abortion clinic. You are one of the few that have reported on it. Thanks for "keeping them honest".

    April 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  5. Angel

    There you go, exactly what you want...abortion on demand....so don't be shocked when clinics like this show up in the spotlight. As according to the information, a dam decade ago complaints were made and nothing was done about it.

    April 15, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
  6. at7958

    This guy is horrible. But are his murders any different than other abortions? Is there a proper and a "OK" way to take a life? What makes it a baby? All abortions are murder. It's sad to see how this country and its people lose respect for human life.

    April 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  7. Nancy

    Please explain to me why an abortion is not murder. A women decides she doesn't have time for a baby in her life, yet she still has sex, gets pregnant, and decides to abort. Maybe its 4 weeks or 27 weeks. Who is she to take a life!!!! She finds a baby killing doctor and staffs his or her clinic with people who help contribute to the deaths. The doctor is the killer, 1st degree murder, the mother makes the decision, 1st or 2nd degree murder, and the staff is the assistants for murder, 1st or 2nd degree murder.
    Why is our world accepting of this horrific act!! When as human beings have we became so collase as to allow this to happen. We should allow murder because the lack of responsibility from the individual and our government, .

    Our world is conditioned little by little to be accepting of this behavior. Why be upset at the murderers who go in a theater and kill dozens of people when we accept babies being killed every single minute. It is premeditated murder no matter how you look at it!!

    When we see these acts, why do we turn our heads? Afraid to stand up and do the right thing?? We are allowing murders to take place. I have a voice but no one cares!! I have never been more disapponted in our Country as I am right now. My heart is breaking watching our country fall apart piece by piece! We need to wake up!!!

    April 15, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Nancy

      Also, I believe everyone in Congress and President Obama should have to watch the videos of the full birth abortions.

      April 15, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Sergio

      Doctors don't kill babies. Their instruments do.

      April 16, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  8. Lilly

    thank you for covering this.

    April 15, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  9. Pete

    Toobin honestly wants us to believe that a sensational story like this is being ignored without any political considerations....don't expect much from MSNBC but certainly expect more professionalism from CNN and Anderson...

    April 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  10. Sad

    What's the difference between this doctor and all others who perform the same procedure every day.

    Murder is murder.

    April 15, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  11. Lisa DellaVecchia

    KUDOS to 3801 Lancaster director David Altrogge. We love what you are doing! Keep up the great work. Keep telling the story about the REAL war on women.

    April 15, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  12. kyle

    Good piece. Not a single important question was missed.

    April 15, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  13. Christine

    I'm grateful that there was coverage on this trial of Kermit gosnell, but I'm disappointed that it's not primetime. this story should be out there. Whether you are pro-life or pro choice, the public has a right to decide. It's sickening that the left wing media is afraid to pounce on this.afraid that all their philosophy in their left wing stance will have to take a second conscience bearing look and maybe decide that hey ,something about this is not right. Left wing media is afraid to open the proverbial " can of worms" where they might have to change their lonstanding views. Keep it coming Anderson I love you for at least putting it out there!

    April 15, 2013 at 7:04 am |
  14. Jeremy

    Thank for posting this!

    April 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  15. Michael Pfeifer

    Thanks for your coverage of the Gosnell abortion murder trial.

    April 14, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  16. Carol Kouba

    Dear Anderson,
    THANK YOU for your story about Dr. Gosnell and his Philadelphia horror clinic. As far as I know, you are the first reporter to thoroughly report on this outrage. When his trial comes up it will be interesting to see if any television station deems it worthy of the amount of coverage that young, female defendants such as Jody Arias and Casey Anthony seem to attract.

    April 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  17. nclaw441

    Five paragraphs to describe the murder of 7 babies born alive? First you describe unsterile conditions? Are you kidding? This is a largely unreported case of serial murder of over 100 babies born alive. It is an outrage that this has not been more widely reported. The media should be ashamed.

    April 14, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  18. What About The Others

    It's appalling that after 3 years more reporting hasn't been done on this story. You know there are other "houses of horror" out there just like this one. What's happened to the officials that should have shut this place down? Do they still have jobs? Have processes been changed to ensure it doesn't happen again? And what about those who worked for the doctor all of those years; will they face punishment? And what about the women who were damaged? There are SO MANY aspects of this that need to be reported IN DEPTH to ensure it doesn't continue to happen all across the country. If this had been a veterinarian killing animals, you could bet the coverage would be extensive and the outrage would be loud. This is FAR MORE TRAGIC than Newton and took far more lives. This was essentially state-sanctioned serial murder.

    April 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  19. Victoria

    I have worked in women's reproductive services for decades. This is disgusting and the Dept of Health should be just as guilty as he is. The reason for Roe v Wade is to keep women needing these services SAFE and PROTECTED during their medical procedures. No one should have to go to a place like this...unfortunately this is exactly what will happen all over the country should women lose access and ability to go to safe, legal and clean clinics with licensed and certified doctors and clinicians.

    April 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Jane

      Clean or dirty, the end result is the same: A dead baby and a wounded woman.

      April 15, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • lance

      where are the rights for the unborn Victoria?

      April 16, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Scott

      Because it's ok if a doctor in a clean room with modern equipment dismembers a 6 pound viable life?

      April 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  20. Leslie

    Thank you Anderson!
    It was becoming conspicuous that this story wasn't getting reported anywhere but Fox and on the internet.
    This guy needs to be convicted.

    April 14, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  21. RJ in CHWY

    Why isn't this page one? The president said we do not need laws to deal with children born alive from abortion when he was still a senator – did this change his mind? What laws do we need or need to enforce in the world of acceptable abortions of 30 week pregnancy? How is this legal? where is CNN's outrage????????

    April 14, 2013 at 12:11 am |
  22. Linda

    Thank you for finally talking about this subject.

    April 13, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
  23. GiannaT

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for covering this. This story needs to be told.

    April 13, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  24. Helga Bloom

    Thank you so much for deciding to expose this story.

    April 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  25. Maureen Louise

    Anderson, I really appreciated your reporting job on the Gosnell story. I'm glad you don't shrink back from controversy. I don't know why such a horrific situation hasn't been reported by any other media.

    April 13, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
  26. F. Bell

    Thank you Anderson Cooper and CNN for finally having the courage to perform an in depth coverage of a sad story that cries out for public discussion! However, I found CNN’s Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin assertion that the lack of news media coverage on this story was a simple "business decision", insulting to my intelligence. “Doctor” Gosnell is estimated to have performed thousands of abortions every year for more than 25 years on women and young girls who traveled from Philadelphia, Delaware, New Jersey and from regions all along the east coast. The horrific conditions in his office, the lack of government oversight and the sad story of those who worked for him read like a Charles Dickens novel. Are we then to believe that the corporate office at CNN doesn't see any public interest in this story? It seems apparent to me and to many others, that just like the health department in Pennsylvania, there has been a great reluctance of those who support abortion rights, (the news media), to cover this story. Up to now there has been a near universal blackout on this story in the mainstream media outside of Philadelphia where it has receives continual daily attention. Thanks again Anderson for asking the hard questions.

    April 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
  27. Tom Creesle

    There's so much more to this case. Why aren't journalists following up and telling the whole story?? The "Dr." is charged with the counts of murder because it is alleged by witnesses that worked at his "clinic" that he used scissors to sever the spines of babies that were aborted, but alive. It is also alleged that he kept jars and jars of fetal parts on site. The public needs to hear more than just a general discussion about what this man did. This man is a monster.

    April 13, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  28. Jessa

    I don't know what Toobin is on, but it's laughable for him to claim that this story isn't interesting, and therefore wasn't covered. Give me a break.

    April 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  29. mikesike

    When do babies become American citizens? Do they have constitutional rights? When? A doctor with a mother's consent can decide? Only a court can decide the Constitutionality of an execution.

    April 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  30. Sharon

    A lot of people worked there. Why are they not being charged? Did they not know right from wrong? They are all accomplices, they made a choice also.

    April 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  31. Pasquino Marforio

    Thanks Anderson. Finally.

    April 13, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  32. listeningtothebiblein90days

    Of course the silence of mainstream media has everything to do with politics. Only an idiot could come to any other conclusion. Any other trial where a witness testified "it was raining blood and body parts" would be an immediate front page sensation if it took place anywhere besides an abortion clinic. And if it happened to a child older than a few minutes.

    April 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  33. Carol

    Of course they did nothing about it. Anytime an abortion clinic or personnel are even looked at for any reason, the ACLU and pro-abortionist would attack and scream unconstitutional.

    April 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  34. Jethro

    Thank you CNN and Anderson Cooper for covering this story, finally it is revealed what was going on. the public needs to know the details. thanks again for great coverage, you're the best.

    April 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  35. KayD

    Excellent segment Anderson. But Mr. Toobin? Sorry. It doesn't take much more than a registered independent with a brain (me) to know that the liberal media's avoidance of this disgusting story is because it makes abortion look like....well....what abortion really is: murder.

    April 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  36. MrReasonable

    Finally, some good coverage of this story. I give Anderson Cooper some credit here. I hope he will continue to cover it, and describe exactly the horrors that went on at this clinic. Remember, this man is quite possibly the worst mass murderer in US history.

    April 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  37. John Jakubczyk

    Jeffrey Toobin is disingenuous when he claims CNN has not covered it because it is a "business decision." Right. The MSM supports abortion on demand. I give cooper kudos for reporting the story straight up and actually telling the public what is happening as well as asking why this went on for over 17 years. It happened because the people in power in PA at the time in positions of control all supported abortion. Both parties (Tom Ridge -R was not pro-life) had members who undercut the pro-life efforts to stop the killing. As for honest coverage, when will CNN show 4 D ultrasound at 11 weeks gestation so that the public can see the baby being killed in an abortion. What about asking the president of the United States why he opposed the Born alive infant protection act in Illinois while senator? Look at the corruption in the financial picture of Planned Parenthood. Then we can speak to honest transparent fair journalism.

    April 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  38. David Seward

    Mr. Toobin claims the mainstream media haven't persued this story because they pick stories that are of interest to the public. And the Gosnell case is of no interest to the public? He knows exactly why the MSM has avoided this story. It puts the nasty business of abortion front and center, something the Liberal media does not want. How do they square this story with President Obama's approval of late term abortion? The answer is they cannot.

    April 13, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  39. Ashley Ziegler

    Thank you for finally covering this! This is a news story, this is important and regardless of anyones fears of what this means for abortion, this is so simply black and white, absolutely wrong, illegal and gruesome, babies have rights and they should have more rights than what they do now,but regardless newborn babies are people who are protected by law and anyone killing them is generally on the news. This needs attention, history will repeat itself if we do not remember and do something about it. Thank you for covering this and please do not be afraid to cover the TRUTH. Regardless of your reputation. Now if everyone would just see that these babies have as many rights as those less developed, its the same being just further along.

    April 13, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  40. Suzanne Allen

    Thank you so much for having the courage and integrity to cover this tragic story when the majority of the press will not. My appreciation for your work is justified!

    April 13, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  41. comfypaws

    The statement by the legal analyst makes me angry. I joined the 'tweetfest' on Fri. on Friday to get media coverage of this story – not because I'm pro-life (which I am) but because of the way these women were treated. Abortion is a very difficult decision and the procedure can be done without jeopardizing the lives of the women. I read the Grand Jury report; this man and his staff did horrible things. Those babies suffered. The regulating agencies in PA are as guilty as the doctor and staff because they allowed this clinic to remain open. This isn't a political story it's a horror story. I'm hoping media coverage will light a fire under those responsible for enforcing laws so this doesn't happen to other poor women. There is a story of another filthy clinic in Delaware being investigated for botched abortions – more women's lives put at risk ... makes me sick. Thanks for your coverage. Please follow the Gosnell trial and keep viewers up to date.

    April 13, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  42. diana schafer

    I'm pro choice, but am really supprised there is barely a word spoken regarding the trial regarding the Dr in killing fetuses that were still alive after abortions. This is disturbiing, as I always felt CNN had fair and balanced news. If this story is true, maybe we should be banning late term abortions.

    April 13, 2013 at 8:20 am |
  43. Steph

    How many other clinics are there out there who also get away with not following basic hygiene standards because abortion is such a politically charged issue?
    This segment cries out for local and state government all around the country to take a hard look at whether or not they practice differing standards for abortion clinics compared with other types of medical clinics.

    April 13, 2013 at 7:01 am |
  44. E

    Why hasn't the media been all over this? It's a shocking story on so many levels. I'm sure this isn't the only one operating like this -- maybe this is the worst, but I'll bet there are other hellholes and other municipal and state agencies who are looking the other way.

    April 13, 2013 at 1:32 am |