Hermit Gosnell: A Monster’s Tale in the City of Brotherly Love

In the City of Brotherly Love there lurked a monster. For two decades it devoured little boys and girls, and on occasion adults. Local townsfolk had grown so accustomed to the monster’s presence, few thought about him; some where even happy his lair was located in the heart of their city. Of course folks with means avoided the monster’s lair. Those without means, however, who lived close to the monster’s crypt, hoped they’d never have to make the choice of actually entering the black pit. But many did.

All emerged, if they emerged at all, with scars and irretrievable loss. No one who entered escaped without paying their pound in flesh.

Where was the hero, you ask—the knight in shinning armor, the dragon slayer? Well, no one really knows. The appointed hero was perhaps too busy shining his armor to slay the dragon. Or perhaps, as some feared, he and the monster had some evil pact that allowed the dragon to continue chewing up little boys and girls while the hero slew other, lesser dragons.

Fearless others took up the hero’s helmet and shield and marched on the monster’s lair. But their heroic quest was unsuccessful. They had a hero’s heart, but not the hero’s sword nor spear to slay the dragon and seal up his den.

Eventually, however, another hero—a more powerful and determined hero than the hapless one—emerged with sword and spear and rescued many boys and girls from the dragon’s razor-like teeth, much to the joy of those who survived the thrashing of the monster’s tail but bore the monster’s mark.

I wish I could write that all the citizens in the City of Brotherly Love lived happily ever after . . . but I can’t because this story is no fairytale.

The devastation and death caused by the flick of the dragon’s tail is real. And while this tale concerns the monster in the City of Brotherly Love, you too have a monster in the heart of your own city. For dragon’s lurk in every village and hamlet. You see, the monster in the City of Brotherly Love, like the monster in your own hometown, was an abortionist.

The particular monster in our tale—the dragon of Philadelphia—was Kermit Gosnell, and his lair was the Women’s Medical Society.

The online documentary, 3801 Lancaster, chronicles the heroes—the Philadelphia District Attorney and the FBI—who “slew” the dragon and closed his lair. It also investigates the appointed hero—the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH)—who failed to monitor the monster.

Gosnell opened the Women’s Medical Society in 1979 and began performing abortions. Under state law, the Department of Health was charged with inspecting the clinic. But as the producers of 3801 Lancaster point out, the state allowed ten years to pass before conducting its first inspection. And despite the fact that Gosnell’s clinic was in violation of state law, the DOH granted the Women’s Medical Society a license to operate for another year, with a promise from Gosnell to comply with the law in the future. Yet, instead of checking on Gosnell’s progress the DOH let inspections of his clinic lapse for another three years.

In 1992, the Department of Health found that Gosnell hadn’t made the promised changes, but concluded that there were “no deficiencies” in his operation, and granted him permission to continue practice as an abortionist. In 1993, the DOH performed its last and final inspection. And though it discovered many violations, the agency once again granted another Certificate of Approval, which proved fatal.

Not only did thousands of unborn children die between 1993 and 2010, when the clinic was finally shut down, but so did four women seeking abortions. At no time after the deaths of these women did the Department of Health investigate Gosnell or the Women’s Medical Society. It wasn’t until the FBI and the DA’s office received information that illegal drugs were sold out of the clinic, and they performed a raid, did the truth about the dragon of Philadelphia come to light.

By that time it was too late for thousands of children and those four women.

Abortion is a monstrous business. We, as a society, have tried to cover up the monstrosity and ugliness of abortion behind white lab coats and sophisticated and sterile sounding words like “choice,” “procedure,” and “women’s rights.”

The documentary 3801 Lancaster, however, tells the tale of how ugly and monstrous abortion is.

The least we can do—and I mean the very least—is watch the film and share it. Who knows, perhaps a child or a mother might be snatched from the monster’s lair . . . even the monster in your hometown. And if that were to happen . . . well, that truly would be brotherly love.


I invite you to follow me on Twitter @derrickjeter.


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