Philadelphia abortion clinic worker testifies of snipping babies' necks
By The (Wilmington Del.) News Journal
Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 8:51 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — A woman who worked at an inner-city abortion clinic testified on Tuesday that snipping the necks of babies that patients might deliver before their abortions was “standard procedure.”
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, owner of the Women's Medical Society clinic in West Philadelphia, taught her how to flip a baby's body over and do the procedure, said Lynda Williams, 44, of Wilmington, Del. But one time when she followed his orders after a baby was delivered in a toilet at the clinic, she saw the child move.
“It jumped, the arm,” she said, showing the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury by raising her arm.
Williams told investigators she only snipped a neck the one time “because it gave me the creeps.”
“I only do what I'm told to do,” she said. “What I was told to do was snip their neck.”
Williams said she asked Gosnell about the movement. Gosnell told her it was an “involuntary response” and a “last breath” because the fetus was “already dead” from drugs that had been administered earlier.
“I never knew it was murder,” Williams told investigators and repeated to the jury.
Gosnell, 72, is charged with killing a woman patient and seven newborns at his clinic that catered to minorities, the poor and women with late-term pregnancies. He occasionally took notes during Tuesday's testimony but did not react. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
Much like former employee Sherry West of Bear, Del., who testified Monday in the trial that is in its fourth week and is expected to last until May, Williams initially said she could not remember key details, and prosecutors had to remind her of earlier statements to investigators.
When Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore initially asked Williams to describe what she saw when she cut the baby's neck, Williams responded with a blank stare and silence.
West, who has pleaded guilty to several charges in connection with this case, had testified Monday that a baby still alive after being aborted screamed one night amid other bodies of aborted fetuses kept on a shelf in the clinic.
She said the large baby's eyes and mouth were not yet completely formed, but it was still alive. Under the terms of her plea agreement, she must cooperate with prosecutors. She could receive up to 70 years in prison.
Gosnell has been charged with murder in the 2009 death of one of his abortion patients, Karnamaya Mongar.
Prosecutors contend that Mongar died because of an overdose of pain medication administered by Gosnell's staff.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- W.Va. man dies in Greene County ATV crash
- Penn State on pace for record number of applications
- Trucker cited for slow speed in fatal crash on I-80
- Penn State trustee resigns, regrets Paterno vote
- Philly, state leaders hopeful for pope visit in 2015
- Warren County probation officer allegedly groped, intimidated client
- Corbett selects hockey executive for PSU board
- Retired Pa. Game Commission chief to get $220K severance payment
- Man guilty of conspiracy in killing
- GOP says privatizing LCB could aid budget
- Greene County proposes more than $200,000 for Brave sewage plant rehab