3801 Lancaster: Inside Gosnell’s House of Horrors, and how this was allowed to happen

What will it take for the people who claim to be working for the health and welfare of women to actually do so?

The country was horrified when Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s disgusting house of horrors was exposed in Philadelphia. He’s currently in jail, awaiting trial for eight murders: seven babies and one woman, Karnamaya Mongar. A documentary released this week takes us inside his house of horrors, showing the world what happened behind Gosnell’s doors. More importantly, it raises some disturbing questions. Chief among them, how was this allowed to happen?

Watching this documentary was heartbreaking on so many levels. Seeing the bodies of the babies senselessly murdered was awful. Listening to the stories of the victims – one given an abortion against her will, both unable to bear children now thanks to Gosnell’s handiwork – was almost unbearable. It’s terrible knowing that so many lives were ruined…and it all could have been avoided.

Gosnell could have been stopped. None of this had to happen.

Large amounts of blame can be laid at the Pennsylvania Departments of State and Health, as well as the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The filmmakers expose a shocking cover-up, showing violation after violation dating as far back as 1989. Time and time again, until the clinic’s last inspection in 1993, violations were found. Yet the clinic was allowed to remain open and in operation, with no punishment for Gosnell or restrictions on his medical license.


In 1996, the Department of Health was notified that a patient had suffered a perforated uterus at the hands of Dr. Gosnell and had to undergo an emergency hysterectomy. They took no action. A pediatrician notified the Department of Health that patients of his who had seen Dr. Gosnell were returning with a sexually transmitted disease. They took no action. In 2001, a former employee informed the Pennsylvania Department of State that the conditions at Gosnell’s clinic were abysmal – including the fact that he permitted flea-infected cats to roam the clinic – and that he was allowing unlicensed workers to give anesthesia to patients. They took no action. In 2002, the Department of State was notified that Semika Shaw, a 22-year-old woman, had died of sepsis and a perforated uterus in 2000. They took no action. In 2003, the Philadelphia Health Department received a tip that aborted babies were being stored in paper bags at Gosnell’s clinic. They took no action. In 2005, an attorney filed a complaint with the Department of State on behalf of his client, who had suffered seizures after Gosnell administered anesthesia which was contraindicated for people on methadone, which she was. She had informed him of this prior to the administration and asked him to stop as she began to seize. The Department of State took no action. In 2007, the Department of Health received a report of a stillborn, 30-week-old baby girl. The baby was induced in the course of an abortion. Abortions at 30 weeks are illegal. They took no action. In 2008, and then again in 2009, an employee with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health visited the clinic and informed them of the disgusting conditions there. They took no action. In 2009, Gosnell notified the Department of Health that Karnamaya Mongar had died at his clinic. There were requests to open an investigation. They took no action.


Kermit Gosnell.

Finally, in 2010, the FBI raided Gosnell’s clinic. What they found was horrifying.

There is blood on the floor. A stench of urine fills the air. A flea-infested cat wanders through the facility, and there is cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions are moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sit on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets. A row of jars contains the severed feet of fetuses.

It wasn’t until then that Gosnell’s medical license was suspended, and they began the process of shutting down the clinic.

There’s quite a common thread there. Multiple patients died. Violations were found and reported over and over again. Complaints were repeatedly made. And every time, officials looked the other way. Had they acted sooner, there is no telling how many lives would have been saved. The question is, why would Philadelphia and Pennsylvania officials ignore all of this?

The filmmakers of 3801 Lancaster have two answers.

The first: politics. Barack Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act three times, claiming he thought it could curtail women’s abortion rights. Pennsylvania lawmakers felt similarly, feeling that regular inspections on abortion clinics could keep women from getting abortions. Better for women to have access to abortions, even if it might cost them – and God knows how many infants – their lives.

The second: income and color. Gosnell’s patients were for the most part poor minority women. These are exactly the people whom the abortion industry targets, and they’re the easiest ones for officials to turn a blind eye to.

What’s truly sad about this is that it’s overwhelmingly clear that Gosnell’s house of horrors isn’t even an isolated incident. From despicable conditions in every single one of Virginia’s abortion clinics to the disgusting clinic uncovered in Michigan, these clinics are allowed to operate and thrive. Pro-abortion advocates fight not against them, but for them, tooth and nail. Any attempt to subject abortion clinics to any kind of standards or regulations – the kind that even hair and nail salons have to abide by – is met with outrage and anger from the pro-aborts.

Kermit Gosnell was eventually caught and brought down, but not before countless lives were unnecessarily lost. How many other clinics are operating under similar conditions, with local officials turning the other way in order to protect the abortion industry? The filmmakers hope to find, expose, and shut down other clinics around the country operating in the manner of Gosnell’s clinic.

Until then, how many more women will be injured or killed due to shoddy medicine? How many more pro-abortion activists and local officials will look the other way?

What will it take for the people who claim to be working for the health and welfare of women to actually do so?

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