Karnamaya Mongar
Associated Press/Philadelphia District Attorney
Karnamaya Mongar

Broken scales and death at the Gosnell trial


PHILADELPHIA—In 1951, the same year I was born, two baby girls in Prairie du Chien, Wis., were accidentally switched at birth, and the mistake did not come to light for 43 years. Yesterday at abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, I remembered that bit of trivia during the testimony of 31-year-old former Gosnell staffer Latosha Lewis. She was guided by the district attorney through a mind-numbing stack of clinic medical records that seemed casual at best and sloppy at worst. “When I would look at the chart, you couldn’t tell whether the patient had been given something,” said Lewis. Prosecutors allege that the death of a Virginia woman in Gosnell’s clinic in 2009 was due to overmedication by uncertified employees.

Much of this murder trial (don’t call it an “abortion trial”) has focused on invidious comparisons of Gosnell’s hygiene and medical practices to those of other hospitals. It is ironic that the sub-standard conditions now under indictment seem to have come about as the result of favoritism toward abortion rights. It was after the election of pro-abortion Republican Gov. Tom Ridge that inspections of such facilities in Pennsylvania dropped off.

Lewis graduated from Thompson Institute as a medical assistant, and then worked for Gosnell from 2000 to 2010, at first answering phones, drawing blood, giving injections, and taking vital signs. One man’s job creep is another man’s apprenticeship, and Lewis gradually did ultrasounds under Gosnell’s tutelage but was not certified. She eventually helped out in the “procedure room” where abortions took place, backing off from that duty in 2007 when she gave a woman too much anesthesia and became alarmed. Lewis also gave up administering Cytotec (a cervix softener in pill form) when she noticed that women were going into labor too fast.

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Lewis faces a maximum sentence of 80 years and a stiff fine, and testified yesterday as part of a plea agreement with the federal government, her sentence to be decided by a judge, based on her cooperation in the trial.

It was Lewis who conducted the pre-op interview with Karnamaya Mongar, the 41-year-old Virginia woman of Bhutanese descent, whose death casts a long shadow over the court proceedings now entering their fifth week. The DA elicited that Lewis did not enter the weight of the diminutive Mongar on her chart. When asked why, Lewis said, “The scale was broken.”

Abortion centers definitely need better inspecting to assure that records are accurately kept and cleanliness is maintained. The goal, after all, is to kill babies, not mothers.

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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