AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Davida Johnson, 30, believes she contracted a venereal disesase at Kermit Gosnell's clinic.
Perhaps the worst part of the horrifying allegations against a Philadelphia abortion clinic is that it operated for 17 years before anyone did anything.
72-year-old Kermit Gosnell has been charged with killing seven babies and accused of killing hundreds in gruesome and illegal late-term abortions.
Prosecutors claim Gosnell "snipped" the necks of viable babies and exploited low-income, immigrant women who couldn't get abortions anywhere else.
Gosnell — who wasn't licensed to practice obstetrics and gynecology — is also accused of giving women venereal diseases by using dirty instruments, and of causing the death of a 41-year-old immigrant from Nepal. His lawyer insisted in court Wednesday that the clinic never killed any babies.
The clinic was not inspected from 1993 to 2010, when FBI agents finally raided the place. They found moaning women covered in blood-stained blankets and jars with severed fetus feet, according to the 281-page grand jury report.
The grand jury report that lays out allegations against Gosnell has an entire section called "How did this go on so long?" The simple answer is politics.
Pennsylvania's health department stopped routine inspections of abortion facilities in the state after Tom Ridge, a pro-choice Republican, became governor in 1995.
Health department lawyers "changed their legal opinions and advice to suit the policy preferences of different governors," health department official Janet Staloski said in grand jury testimony. In this case, she said the state didn't want to be "putting a barrier up to women" who wanted abortions.
In 1999, high-level Pennsylvania officials met to consider starting up regular inspections again but decided not to, state lawyer Kenneth Brody testified, according to the grand jury report. He told the grand jury that officials were concerns that abortion clinics wouldn't meet inspection standards and then there "would be less abortion facilities."
The state's politics-driven policy continued until the gruesome allegations regarding Gosnell came to light.
Inspections finally resumed in 2010 after more than 15 years. When pro-life Republican Gov. Tom Corbett took office in 2011, he asked officials to issue a report on the state's failure to inspect facilities for so long, the AP reported.
By February 2011, Corbett had announced sweeping changes at the health department — including routine, unannounced inspections of abortion facilities.
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