Unlicensed Philadelphia Abortion ‘Doctor’ Gets 6 to 12 Years

Steven Massof, who testified against “House of Horrors” abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell last year, received a sentence of 6 to 12 years in state prison yesterday.

“I’m not here to make excuses. I’m here to take full responsibility for my actions and my inactions,” an emotional Massof, 51, said before being sentenced by Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner.

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Kermit Gosnell Is Smart, Funny, Warm … and Bent

kermit-gosnell-philadelphia-400In the 16 years I’ve been a journalist, no story disturbed me quite as much as my most recent, on Kermit Gosnell. I could recite a long list of reasons, Gosnell himself chief among them. In conversation, Gosnell is smart, funny, warm—and bent.

His case is more complicated than most media portrayals allow. Yet, up close, his story is worse than we knew—a lesson in how self-righteousness and cold rationalizations blur distinctions between man and monster. But the other source of my discomfort is that true crime stories don’t often intersect, so inextricably, with politics—let alone the most contentious subject in politics: abortion.

To be straight about it, I have always been comfortably pro choice—a moderate lefty content with Roe. But covering the Gosnell trial provoked a new unease.

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The Real Reason the Media Kept Its Distance from the Gosnell Trial

In writing the story of Kermit Gosnell, even in the form of a 13,000 word e-book, there is a lot of material I had to leave behind. One topic I wanted to address is the role the media played, or didn’t play, in covering Gosnell’s case and the trial as it happened.

Conservative commentators and bloggers thought the lack of coverage reflected pure liberal bias—a pro choice media that didn’t want to pull the covers off the dark practice of abortion.

The furor actually did seem to shame some outlets into providing additional coverage of the story, including the Washington Post. But I felt, at the time, as a reporter sitting in the courtroom, and continue to feel today, that what the right was really complaining about was TV.

Where were the cameras?

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Exclusive: Kermit Gosnell Says He Is “Spiritually Innocent”–and Sends Abortion-Inspired Poetry from Prison

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.”
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Pro-Life Groups Protest, Want to Bury “Gosnell Babies”

NewsBusters, a right-wing site, reports on efforts to pressure the Philadelphia Medical Examiners Office to release dead fetuses seized from Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic.  The office is reportedly withholding the bodies from third parties, but pro-life groups want to provide a formal burial.

On Friday, July 19, several pro-life leaders demanded justice and burial for the bodies of 45 babies found in convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia abortion clinic. They organized a prayer vigil outside the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, and promised to risk arrest when the office barred its doors to their inquiries.

The speakers, including Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Students for Life’s Kristan Hawkins, Christian Defense Coalition’s Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Stand True Ministries’ Bryan Kemper, and Alliance Defending Freedom’s Catherine Foster, endured the sweltering heat to deliver a letter requesting information about the remains. The Medical Examiner’s Office, which agreed to meet with them just hours before, locked its doors and called the police as they approached.

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, stressed to the MRC that the Medical Examiner’s Office responded twice when he previously requested the babies’ remains. While the office first considered his appeal, it later decided to withhold the bodies from all third parties – without explanation.

“Meanwhile,” said Pavone, “we’re doing two things: we’re asking ‘Why not?’ and, ‘What do you intend to do with these bodies?’ The public has the right to know where these bodies are, what’s going to be done with them.”

Now, the groups say, they are planning a “national call” for pro-life allies to come to Philadelphia and pray outside the examiner’s office, invoking “civil rights imagery.” No information on when such a protest might materialize.


Kermit Gosnell to Plea Again in Ongoing Pill Mill Case

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is expected to enter a second change in plea in his federal pill mill case, in which he is accused of illegally selling prescription pills out of his West Philly practice, the Women’s Medical Society. Between July 2009 and February 2010, when the DEA and FBI raided Dr. Gosnell’s building, he is believed to have charged $10 to $20 for prescriptions for drugs like oxycodone, codeine syrup, and alprazolam.  Sales allegedly totaled more than $200,000. It was the pill mill activities, in fact, that brought Dr. Gosnell’s illegal abortion clinic down, with investigators discovering the facilities following the drug raid. Dr. Gosnell is expected to accept the prosecution’s offer in today’s hearing. [NBC]

Gosnell Surprises Lawyer By Pleading “Not Guilty” To Drug Charge

The Inquirer reports:

West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell continued working from his own playbook Wednesday, rejecting for a second time a federal prosecutor’s plea agreement in a case charging him with selling prescriptions for dangerous narcotic drugs.

The plea would have landed him 20 years in prison, on top of the three life sentences he’s already serving. By rejecting the offer, after reviewing “meticulous notes written on graph paper,” he surprised not only court watchers, but his own lawyer Jack McMahon.

“I thought he would [plead guilty] today, but he said no,” McMahon said.

All of which means: Gosnell will be headed back to the courtroom come September 9th.

Kermit Gosnell to Plead to Federal Drug Charges

Kermit Gosnell, mostly known as the abortion doctor who murdered born-alive babies in his West Philadelphia clinic, will reportedly plead today on a separate list of charges that he also operated the clinic as a “pill mill.” NewsWorks reports:

he FBI first uncovered the horrific details of Gosnell’s abortion clinic as part of a 2011 grand jury investigation into allegations that Gosnell was providing prescriptions for OxyContin and other commonly abused painkillers out of his clinic. Earlier this month, Gosnell, 72, was sentenced to three consecutive life terms on state charges of first-degree murder.

Peter Vaira, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, noted that Gosnell has nothing to lose by altering his plea.

“He’s got complete life sentences, no parole, so what he pleads to over on the federal side doesn’t mean a hill of beans,” Vaira said.


Bill Would Prohibit Abortions After 20 Weeks; Gosnell Cited

Politico reports:

Weeks after re-introducing a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks in Washington, D.C., Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) has rewritten it to set the 20-week limit across the country. “The crushing fact is that abortions on babies just like the ones killed by Kermit Gosnell have been happening hundreds of times per day, every single day, for the past 40 years,” Franks said in a Friday statement, days after the Philadelphia abortion provider was found guilty. The House Judiciary subcommittee chaired by Franks will hold a hearing on his bill this Thursday.

Gosnell, of course, was the West Philly abortion doctor sentenced to life in prison last week after being convicted of murdering three babies who were born alive by severing their spinal cords with scissors.

Gosnell Drops Appeal to Avoid Death Penalty

The Inquirer reports:

Cordial, smiling – and acknowledging he will never get out of prison – West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on Tuesday agreed to waive his appeal rights to escape the chance of death by lethal injection.

(Judge Jeffrey) Minehart immediately sentenced Gosnell to two consecutive life prison terms without parole on two of the first-degree murder counts.

Gosnell returns to Minehart’s courtroom Wednesday morning for a formal sentencing hearing on the final first-degree murder charge and the remaining counts on which he was found guilty.

NewsWorks adds:

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty because Gosnell killed more than one person, and his victims were especially vulnerable given their age. But Gosnell’sadvanced age had made it unlikely he would ever be executed before his appeals ran out.

AP goes behind the scenes:

Gosnell’s lawyer, Jack McMahon, said his client accepts the verdict and isn’t sorry he went to trial. He said Gosnell gave up a somewhat better deal early on but wanted to air the issues in court and is satisfied that he did so.

“He wanted this case aired out in a courtroom and it got aired out in a courtroom in a fair way. And now he’s accepting what will happen. He’s an intelligent guy,” said McMahon, who said Gosnell would now plead to federal drug charges that are still pending.

The sentencing deal, reached after hours of terse negotiations, spares Gosnell’s family the task of pleading for his life in court, McMahon said. Gosnell has six children, the youngest of them a teenager born to his third wife, who has also pleaded guilty in the case.


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