Talking publicly for the first time since his trial and conviction on three counts of murder, one count of involuntary manslaughter and more than 200 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act, Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell insists he is “spiritually innocent.”
Speaking exclusively to Philadelphia magazine writer Steve Volk for a new magazine article and e-book, Gosnell—who was convicted in May of snipping the necks of babies born alive during abortion procedures in his West Philadelphia clinic—believes he was serving the best interests of his community and the women who came to him. “In an ideal world,” he said, “we’d have no need for abortion. But bringing a child into the world when it cannot be provided for, that there are not sufficient systems to support, is a greater sin. I considered myself to be in a war against poverty, and I feel comfortable with the things I did and the decisions I made.”
Gosnell contends he is “innocent” of the charges against him, laying out complicated—and not particularly credible—reasons he should have been found not guilty. When Volk asked him if he was actually referring to his own sense of “spiritual innocence,” Gosnell responded, “Yes.”
Gosnell said he considers his conviction to have been motivated by religion and politics. “I have come to believe that the presumption of guilt was compounded by religious convictions,” Gosnell said. “ … Were you aware that Seth [Williams, Philadelphia’s district attorney] was an altar boy? Did you know of the strong Catholic presence in the homicide division?"
Over the course of several weeks this summer, Volk received 12 letters from Gosnell, more than 50 emails, and more than two dozen phone calls. Gosnell also sent several poems he's written, including one dated April 2013:
Are Labeled Killers!
Not Physicians, Oathed To Heal
Lest We Forget,
What Chance Have Those?
Those Without The Support
Of Their Parents
Their Societies …
Without Sufficient Support
Stumble Into Drugs
Into Mental Illness
Into Institutions … And …
Languish in Jails …
The story, entitled "Gosnell's Babies," runs in the October issue of Philadelphia magazine, which hits newsstands this week. You can read an excerpt here. The magazine is simultaneously publishing an expanded version of "Gosnell's Babies" as an e-book. Buy it for Kindle, iPad/iPhone, Android, Windows and Mac exclusively at amazon.com.
Steve Volk and Philadelphia magazine Editor-in-chief Tom McGrath held a Google Hangout on Sept. 26 to discuss “Gosnell’s Babies.” Watch it below.