The directory at Kermit Gosnell's Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia.
Associated Press/Photo by Matt Rourke
The directory at Kermit Gosnell's Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia.

The indefensible impugning the indefensible at the Gosnell trial


PHILADELPHIA—When you are dealing with indefensible people trying to impugn other indefensible people, the following examples are what it comes to in the courtroom.

The prosecutor in abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial questions his witness, Ashley Baldwin, about her experience taking Gosnell’s patients to the restroom to “precipitate” a baby into a toilet, asking her how many times that happened. She answers, “About five times.” They have a discussion about whether she saw the baby move in the toilet, and if so, how precisely the child moved. He asks how big the baby was, whereupon she extends her hands, and the judge tells the stenographer the number of inches the witness has indicated.

Then the defense attorney comes up and he challenges the number of times, to see if Baldwin is exaggerating, and he challenges what she saw in the toilet: Was the baby moving of his or her own accord, or was the movement nothing more than what any object makes when falling into a watery basin? And how reliable is anybody’s pantomimed estimate of the length of a baby anyway?

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The prosecutor elicits from his next witness, staff worker Lynda Williams, that she once saw a baby’s arm move after an abortion. The defense attorney comes back and gets Williams to admit that a quick up-and-down motion of one arm (not two arms, after all!) is all she saw—that’s the only time in 16 years—and that she never saw breathing or detected a heartbeat. He furthermore elicits that Gosnell had explained that arm movement to Williams as the involuntary spasm of an already dead baby.

Next up is the subject of baby feet in jars, and the defense draws out of Williams how few 20 specimen jars of baby feet is, when one considers all the years of Gosnell’s practice. And he reminds the jury that by the time the FBI raided the abortion facility, there were in fact only four jars, buttressing Gosnell’s claim that he merely saved selected baby feet for women who had been raped or otherwise needed the remains for DNA testing purposes.

When the debate descends to this level, ladies and gentlemen, and you are way down in the sewer fighting over whether it was four dead babies or five, and whether it was one arm moving or two, you cannot help but think of a scene from the famine in Samaria, where a king once observed two starving mothers in similar argumentation. It went like this:

“… the king asked her, ‘What is your trouble?’ She answered, ‘This woman said to me, “Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.” So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, “Give your son, that we may eat him.” But she has hidden her son.’ When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes … and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body …” (2 Kings 6:28-30).

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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