Sunday, October 28, 2018

Innocents Lost

Reflections on the Case of Kermit Gosnell 

“In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”
(Matt. 2:18)

Exhibit A[1]

By Gaylene Goodroad 

Scrolling through the television channels a few weeks ago, my attention was grabbed by a trailer for a new film called Gosnell. The advertisement alleged that it was the “true story of the world’s biggest serial killer.” But this prolific murderer was strangely unfamiliar to me. The twist in this story I discovered, unlike a film documentary on someone like the notorious Ted Bundy, is that that Dr. Kermit Gosnell was an abortionist who killed living babies after they survived initial abortion procedures—many older than 24 weeks. The proverbial plot thickens.

The movie advertisement piqued my interest enough to see Gosnell, a film based on the NYT Best Seller Gosnell – The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer—by the husband and wife team of Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, who also produced the movie.[2] It chronicles the investigation and subsequent trial of Dr. Gosnell, whose clinic was raided by DEA, FBI, and other law enforcement agents, like detective James “Woody” Wood, played by Dean Cain, for suspicion of illegally selling prescription drugs.[3] It was during this raid that officials soberly discovered things far more sinister than ever anticipated.

Exhibit B[4]

The film reenacts these events culminating with the arrest, trial, and conviction of Dr. Gosnell—utilizing court documents and evidence exhibits to tell this compelling story—a story that political operatives and media outlets refused to tell and tried to bury.[5]

Author Conor Friedersdorf, writing for The Atlantic in 2013, provides a gruesome overview of this case from the grand jury report on the Kermit Gosnell murder trial: (WARNING – this material is graphic and disturbing)

The grand jury report in the case of Kermit Gosnell, 72, is among the most horrifying I've read. "This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy - and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors," it states. "The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels - and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths." 

Charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, Gosnell is now standing trial in a Philadelphia courtroom. An NBC affiliate's coverage includes testimony as grisly as you'd expect. "An unlicensed medical school graduate delivered graphic testimony about the chaos at a Philadelphia clinic where he helped perform late-term abortions," the channel reports. "Stephen Massof described how he snipped the spinal cords of babies, calling it, 'literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.' He testified that at times, when women were given medicine to speed up their deliveries, 'it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place.'" 

One former employee described hearing a baby screaming after it was delivered during an abortion procedure. "I can't describe it. It sounded like a little alien," she testified. Said the Philadelphia Inquirer in its coverage, "Prosecutors have cited the dozens of jars of severed baby feet as an example of Gosnell's idiosyncratic and illegal practice of providing abortions for cash to poor women pregnant longer than the 24-week cutoff for legal abortions in Pennsylvania..."[6]

Friedersdorf continues this alarming account:

On February 18, 2010, the FBI raided the "Women's Medical Society," entering its offices about 8:30 p.m. Agents expected to find evidence that it was illegally selling prescription drugs. On entering, they quickly realized something else was amiss. In the grand jury report's telling, "There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets. All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff." Authorities had also learned about the patient that died at the facility several months prior. 

Public health officials inspected the surgery rooms. "Instruments were not sterile," the grand jury states. "Equipment was rusty and outdated. Oxygen equipment was covered with dust, and had not been inspected. The same corroded suction tubing used for abortions was the only tubing available for oral airways if assistance for breathing was needed. There was no functioning resuscitation or even monitoring equipment, except for a single blood pressure cuff." Upon further inspection, "the search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic - in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers..."[7]
Exhibit C
Gosnell’s Philadelphia Clinic in 2013[8]

And there is more, so much more flagrant depravity that finally came to light in this landmark case. Readers interested in these disturbing details can read Charlie Spiering’s article, “58 horrific details from the Kermit Gosnell trial that you do not want to read,” from The Washington Examiner HERE.

The grand jury testimony would go on to say that upwards of 20 percent of the fetuses Gosnell aborted were older than 24 weeks, which is illegal in Pennsylvania. Because most premature babies survive after 24 weeks, Gosnell resorted to a procedure he called “snipping” which ensured “fetal demise.” He would stick a scissors in the back of the baby’s neck and snip its spinal cord. Over the course of his 30-year career, Gosnell performed hundreds of “snippings.” Most of these cases will never be prosecuted, however, because Gosnell destroyed the evidence and records while the community, city agencies, and media ignored his crimes. Fortunately, however, there were a handful of files that Gosnell failed to get rid of:

…Among the relatively few cases that could be specifically documented, one was Baby Boy A. His 17-year-old mother was almost 30 weeks pregnant -- seven and a half months -- when labor was induced. An employee estimated his birth weight as approaching six pounds. He was breathing and moving when Gosnell severed his spine and put the body in a plastic shoebox for disposal. The doctor joked that this baby was so big he could "walk me to the bus stop." Another, Baby Boy B, whose body was found at the clinic frozen in a one-gallon spring-water bottle, was at least 28 weeks of gestational age when he was killed. Baby C was moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an assistant came in and cut the spinal cord, just the way she had seen Gosnell do it so many times. And these were not even the worst cases….[9]

It was a chance photo of Baby Boy A, taken by a clinic worker who succumbed to compassion, that would be Gosnell’s undoing. It became the most powerful piece of evidence in Gosnell’s trial that gave the jury, and the world, a snapshot of the true evil behind the prolific abortion doctor and baby killer.

The producers of Gosnell are to be commended for their dignified handling of these horrible details. They did not resort to a gratuitous display of graphic imagery, which most Hollywood productions would surely have done. They never showed the photo of Baby Boy A, or even an imitation of it, but made it available to moviegoers who wanted to view it on the Gosnell website.[10] I went to the movie’s website when I got home and reluctantly clicked on the photo link. Yes, it was horrifying, but not because of a gory, unrecognizable blob exploited for all to see. This was the unfortunate first and last portrait of a beautiful, perfectly formed little boy, who lost his life simply because he was unwanted and because someone was willing to accept cash in order to end his life. His death was facilitated by greed, immorality, and a wanton disregard for human life.

This precious child was abused, murdered, and discarded—but not forgotten. I sat in silence for several minutes as I looked at his image recalling that my youngest son, born premature, was much smaller and frailer than this child had been. It is inconceivable that any human being, much less a doctor, could shamelessly “snip” his precious life away so callously, so coldly, so completely. Instead of a grave to mark his passing, the only evidence to show that Baby Boy A even existed was that crude photograph taken by a clinic employee—that had become a court exhibit. He was unceremoniously laid to rest in a plastic shoebox. Babies B, C, and beyond, undoubtedly left this world in a red medical waste disposable bag.

But God knows their names.

Exhibit D
Author’s son at 2 weeks old

One of the most sobering scenes in the movie was the testimony given by a female abortionist, Dr. North, played by actress Janine Turner, concerning legal abortions. She was called to contrast the actions of her clinic with that of Dr. Gosnell. The defense attorney, Mike Cohan, played by Nick Searcy (who also directed the film), showed her photographs of fetus sonograms and asked her to defend the legality of her practice, ironically suggesting that no difference existed. At one point, he held up a syringe with a long needle, using it to demonstrate on an enlarged photo of a sonogram. The witness emphatically denounced Gosnell’s method of ending the life of babies born alive by stating that her clinic never had a live birth because they habitually confirmed death before delivery. She testified that her skilled practitioners routinely filled such a syringe with a lethal chemical that was injected into the heart of each fetus, in utero, thus insuring instant death. I wondered how she was able to morally separate the difference between chemically stopping the heart of such a little life, while housed within its mother, and that of cutting the spinal cord of the infant once it exited the birth canal. Had Baby Boy A been given this lethal injection before 24 weeks, his death would have been legal, and Dr. Gosnell would never have been prosecuted for his death.

Without blinking, the lady abortionist proudly defended her practice that had performed 30,000 such injection procedures, snuffing out the lives of tens of thousands of innocents. A sickening feeling came over me as I combined the total deaths of these unborn babies in my head, with that of the serial “snipping” victims of Dr. Gosnell. Then I thought of the countless souls lost at abortion clinics around the nation…and the world.

My husband and I sat in a bare theater in Indianapolis with only four other people watching this powerfully, yet sensitively crafted film. As the credits were rolling, we all sat still. I could hear the lady sitting to the left of me sobbing. As I stood up, I said aloud, “It’s a shame that more people aren’t in here watching this movie.” Sadly, I discovered later that many theaters have even refused to show this film.[11] Facebook and NPR have blocked advertisements for the movie.[12]

Friedersdorf voices his disapproval on such public apathy:

Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed -- a major human rights story if there ever was one -- doesn't make the cut." Inducing live births and subsequently severing the heads of the babies is indeed a horrific story that merits significant attention. Strange as it seems to say it, however, that understates the case. 

For this isn't solely a story about babies having their heads severed, though it is that. It is also a story about a place where, according to the grand jury, women were sent to give birth into toilets; where a doctor casually spread gonorrhea and chlamydia to unsuspecting women through the reuse of cheap, disposable instruments; an office where a 15-year-old administered anesthesia; an office where former workers admit to playing games while giving patients powerful narcotics; an office where white women were attended to by a doctor and black women were pawned off on clueless, untrained staffers. 

Any single one of those things would itself make for a blockbuster news story. Is it even conceivable that an optometrist who attended to his white patients in a clean office while an intern took care of the black patients in a filthy room wouldn't make national headlines? But it isn't even solely a story of a rogue clinic that's awful in all sorts of sensational ways either. Multiple local and state agencies are implicated in an oversight failure that is epic in proportions!... 

There is, finally, the fact that abortion, one of the most hotly contested, polarizing debates in the country, is at the center of this case… [13] [bold added] 

No, abortion advocates—and they are many—don’t want this story told.

Exhibit E[14]

“For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.”

(Ps. 139:13)

1. Image: 9 week old baby in the womb; Collection by Cleveland Right to Life;
2. See the Gosnell movie website:
3. See IMDb website: 
4. Image taken from the Gosnell movie website;
5. “Media Ignores Movie On Abortionist Gosnell, America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” Daniel John Sobieski, Flopping Aces, Oct. 19, 2018; 
6. Conor Friedersdorf, “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell's Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story,” The Atlantic, April 12, 2013; 
7. Ibid, Friedersdorf. 
8. Photo taken from the Washington Examiner website: “58 horrific details from the Kermit Gosnell trial that you do not want to read,” Charlie Spiering, The Washington Examiner, April 18, 2013;
9. Ibid, Friedersdorf. To view the photo of Baby Boy A, scroll to the bottom of the movie’s Resources webpage;
10.  “Suppression: Theaters Drop 'Gosnell' Movie Despite It Being a Top-Grossing Film,” Beth Baumann,, Oct 20, 2018;; “EXCLUSIVE: 253 Theaters Drop 'Gosnell' Amid Media Blackout to Defend 'Sacrament' of Abortion,” Tyler O'Neil,, October 23, 2018;
11. “'Gosnell' Is the Movie Hollywood Does Not Want You to See,” Jerry Newcombe, Newsmax, October 24, 2018;
12. Ibid, Friedersdorf. 
13. Image taken from UCLA Health website:

Ed. Note: To read about the rapidly rising heresy that calls abortion a "rite", read the two Herescope articles: 
"Oprah Magazine: God's 'in' Abortions?"
"Un-Sacred Spaces: Theology to Justify Abortion"

Tuesday, October 09, 2018


Herescope Testimony Series

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters….”
(Isaiah 55:1a)


“O God, Thou art my God;
early will I seek thee:
my soul thirsteth for Thee,
my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land,
where no water is;”

(Psalm 63:1)
By Sarah Huling Leslie

Have you ever been really thirsty? Really thirsty?

I had been a nominal Christian for several years, and I was a chronic backslider. I was converted out of the hippie movement into the Jesus movement. But I was a fragile baby believer, and without solid discipleship the weeds of sin soon flourished, crowding out my faith. I struggled to be a Christian but without much success. Many years later I would realize that during my college years I had been put through various psychological and sociological experimentation programs without my full knowledge and informed consent—all of them designed to erode faith. I didn’t know how to stand firm, and I definitely didn’t know how to walk in the faith.

But God had His own plan for my life. One year after I graduated from college I surrendered and entrusted God with 100% of my life. Corrie ten Boom had come to Des Moines in a pivotal weekend in May of 1976, and my Christian friends and I went to listen to her in every place where she spoke. Her sincere and simple faith guided me into recommitting my life to the Lord. In a key moment of time I recognized that Jesus was real and alive, and He was asking me to follow Him the rest of my life. I immediately rushed to flush my cigarettes down the toilet. From that point on I desired to live a more pure and holy life.

During this time I had been working in a group home with emotionally disturbed adolescents. Even though I didn’t talk about my new-found faith, the teenagers noticed the change in me. Inevitably a few of them wanted to know about Jesus and they requested that I take them to church. Each Sunday that I was on shift I would drive a van load of adolescents to a local Bible-preaching church. Several of them had accepted Jesus into their hearts. As a consequence I was asked to quit my job. I was told by the staff psychologists that believing in God was a sign of “emotional weakness” and they couldn’t tolerate someone “mentally unstable” working with the kids. They claimed that believing in Jesus would cause further emotional damage to these teenagers. These were atheists and this was what they believed. Thus I had to quit my first fulltime job with poor prospects of obtaining a good recommendation from them for my next job.

Suddenly I found myself confronted with the necessity of living totally on faith. I had no job, no income, and my parents were living overseas. There was no one I could turn to for help. Scared, helpless and lonely, I rushed into the arms of Jesus and begged the Lord to sustain me. I had to learn to live on faith alone. But even as a fledgling believer, I had hope. I knew in my heart that the Lord was telling me to wait on Him, that He would open a door for me for a new job, He would show me my next step. I wanted to be in His perfect will. Many people thought this was crazy, but I knew that I needed to obey Him. So I waited… and waited… and waited for God to “give” me a new job. And the Lord encouraged and sustained me with many precious promises from His Word, especially Psalm 16:3: “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” (RSV)

Two months later, still without a job, I was asked by a pastor friend to accompany his church youth group as an adult chaperone for a trip to Colorado to do a week of volunteer service. With nothing else to do I readily agreed to go.

I had never been to the Colorado Rockies before. I immediately fell in love with the high rugged peaks. The church youth group headquartered itself in a Christian retreat center, sleeping bags lined up in one big open area. Our volunteer duty was to assist a small group of forest rangers with culling dead wood by carrying it out of the forest. Each day was filled with physically demanding forestry projects conducted at a very high altitude. At night we fell into bed exhausted.

Near the end of the week, one of the forest rangers suggested that on Saturday we could climb one of the high peaks nearby. All week long we had seen its beautiful summit off in the distance. Climbing a mountain had always been one of my dreams so I quickly jumped at the chance. Only a handful of the teens felt like they were up to it.

That night we were dropped off to camp in a cabin in a pine forest at the base of the summit. None of us slept very well; there was a constant rustling noise. In the morning we arose to discover that the food in our backpacks had been tampered with by mice! We had less food, but we figured it would be enough to sustain us on the climb.

Just before dawn we began our assent. It was a vigorous climb. For those of us accustomed to lower altitudes this posed a real challenge. It was much more of a strain on the body than we had anticipated. One step at a time… breathe… step… breathe… step… stop and rest…. One step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other. Perseverance.

We passed the beautiful timberline by sunrise and began our assault on the summit. After a few hours we stopped upon a broad plateau above a lush green field to gaze far down at the earth below. It was a beautiful reward for our laborious trudging. We could barely recognize anything—it was all so far away. There was utter silence. Not even tree leaves were there to rustle in the gentle breezes. We could only hear our own huffing and puffing from exertion. We sat there for a long time and rested. The hardest part was yet to come.

We were surprised to see early hikers coming down off the summit. They had already reached their goal. A father and his son wearing shorts and hiking boots had jogged past us up to the summit. An hour later they jogged past us again on their way down the mountain. They paused to talk and told us that over the summer it was their goal to climb every mountain peak over 13,000 feet in the Rockies. No wonder they were so physically fit that they could run up the mountain!

Meanwhile we were crushingly exhausted, painfully swallowing huge gulps of air with each footstep upward. The path became rocky, narrow and circuitous, winding and curving, ever going upwards. Often we could often only see a few steps ahead. Scriptures such as Proverbs 3:23 suddenly began to seem more literal: “Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.”

By mid-morning we had depleted our small water supply. The teenage boys on our hike had only brought a few canteens with them. We hadn’t calculated for the increased need for water caused by our extreme physical exertion and high altitude. Our bodies began to complain for water. It began to dawn on us that we might not make it to the top. In between gasping breaths we discussed the possibility that we would have to turn around and go back. We were sorely disappointed. We wanted to make it to the summit—to achieve our goal!

Just at the bleakest moment, a young man hiking about twenty paces ahead of us called down to us, “Hey! There’s a glass of water on this rock!” We didn’t believe what we heard. He must be joking. We couldn’t see his location but we could hear his voice calling down from the curve of the boulders. Surely there wasn’t a real “glass” of water anywhere on this desolate summit!

We stumbled upwards to the rock ledge where he was standing and, sure enough, he was telling the truth! There was a sparkly clean glass sitting on a rock. A literal glass! It was filled with the clearest water I had ever seen. We looked upwards to see the source of the water and traced a tiny stream back to a melting glacier. The ranger had warned us not to drink mountain water unless we could ascertain that it was from a pure source that was uncontaminated. This water was definitely safe to drink—a result of mid-summer glacial melt! We greedily gulped up the ice cold water and began refilling our canteens. It was the best water I had ever tasted.

As I trudged the last 500 hundred feet of rocky path winding up to the summit, it slowly began to dawn on me that the Lord was revealing a very important lesson for life. Just at the brink of utter discouragement, when I would become most weary and my own strength was failing, there would be a miracle—a “glass of water on a rock.” I remembered one of my favorite passages in Scripture. Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:14 that “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” and that it would be a “well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Remarkably, my strength was replenished by that glass of water! I had the physical ability to go on, to persevere, knowing that I could reach the summit. I pondered the spiritual meaning of this experience to my current life situation. Was God trying to tell me something?

The teens and I stood there at the rock at the top of the summit for a good long time, trying to embed that spectacular view into our memories. We recalled the Scripture in Psalm 121:1-2: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

We marveled at the miracle of the glass and asked unanswerable questions. Who had carried it up there and placed it next to that tiny streamlet for water for the weary climbers? How did a fragile glass survive the mountain weather without breaking? How could it be right there on that rock just at the moment we most needed it? By God’s mighty providence we realized we had been blessed with liquid sustenance, giving us renewed bodily strength to reach the summit that day. We were able to complete our task and accomplish the goal—even after things seemed to be most hopeless. We peered down and marveled at how far we had come, and affirmed, like the Apostle Paul, that we had “fought a good fight… finished [the] course… kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). We called to mind the Scripture from Isaiah 55:

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price…. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 55:1,6-9)

The Rest of the Story
A few weeks after this trip, and at the end of three months of unemployment, the Lord did indeed miraculously provide me with a new job, just as He had told me. One day when I was walking down a hallway in a building on the local college campus a man yelled out at me from his desk in an office, “Hey! Are you looking for a job?” He happened to be the roommate of my former boss, the one who had asked me to resign, so he guessed I might still be unemployed. He insisted that I take a typing test, and let me take it over and over again until I finally passed the required minimum words-per-minute.

The next day I received a phone call from a lady who started the conversation by bluntly asking me, “Well, do you want the job?” She then proceeded to tell me that I had the job even before I went to interview for it! I didn’t even know what the job was so I had to ask her. It turned out to be a clerical job that, in addition to a salary, provided free tuition which would enable me to start graduate school. I had felt the Lord’s calling to do this, so this was an amazing confirmation.

Waiting upon the Lord also had resulted in other benefits—rewards that were totally unexpected. My new job placed me in an office location where I immediately encountered my future husband, Lynn. We married a few months later. I now shudder to think what might have happened if I had gone ahead on my own strength and will, trying to work out my own future without obeying God.

Meditating on the Scripture in Isaiah 55 describes our experience with the glass of water on the rock. God offers life-giving water that has no price. His water is pure and uncontaminated by the world. It “satisfieth” and is “good” (vs. 2). In fact, my experience with the glacier ice water seemed to be described by verses 10-11: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing where to I sent it.” The water of the Lord’s Word is pure and restores the soul. Truly it just as the Lord promises:

“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace:
the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing...

(Isaiah 55:12a)

This article is another testimony in an ongoing series to encourage readers to boldly persevere in God’s holy faith.