As the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell continues, testimony about the goings-on inside his Philadelphia abortion clinic, known as the “house of horrors,” have gotten increasingly graphic. While Gosnell is charged with killing seven babies who were born alive at the facility, as well as a 41-year-old woman who had gone there for an abortion, an assistant testified that while working at the clinic he witnessed the murders of scores more babies born alive.
Stephen Massof, 50, who went to work for Gosnell in 2003 after attending medical school in Grenada, has pled guilty to third-degree murder in the deaths of two infants at the clinic. But he estimates that in his five years working there he witnessed the births of some 100 babies, whose spinal cords were then snipped with a surgical scissors — “literally a beheading,” he said. It was, he added, nothing less than “separating the brain from the body.”
In his testimony Massof said that when women were administered medication to speed up their deliveries, “it would rain fetuses — fetuses and blood all over the place.” The assistant testified, “I felt like a firemen in hell. I couldn't put out all the fires.... I would run around with scissors.”
Ironically, Massof said he thought that Gosnell was genuinely trying to be of service to vulnerable women who he thought would be helped by abortion. “I believe that Dr. Gosnell was honestly trying to help women and protect them from abuse and neglect,” Massof, a prosecution witness, said during cross-examination.
“The statement came in questioning about why Gosnell kept fetal samples, including severed feet, in jars at the clinic,” reported the Huffington Post. “Massof said that Gosnell measured the feet to estimate gestational age, which could help confirm or disprove sexual assault allegations. Prosecution experts have said there are no sound medical reasons for an abortion provider to do that, when blood and other samples can be stored.”
Massof, who never earned a medical license, said that when he first started at the clinic he shadowed Gosnell, but within two months he was performing gynecological exams on his own and prescribing medication to women using a prescription pad pre-signed by Gosnell. Massof testified that he also performed ultrasounds, explaining that the ultrasound machine had been altered to make pre-born babies appear smaller and younger, leading to more abortions.
Massof said that he was paid around $200 to $300 per week for his work, and that Gosnell had convinced him that he was having a hard time trying to make ends meet running the clinic. “He always led me to believe he was a poor, struggling urban physician and surgeon,” Massof said. “I thought he was hurting financially.”
But prosecutors charge that Gosnell took in more than $1 million a year at the clinic, with women being charged up to $3,000 for an abortion. They noted that federal agents searching Gosnell's home discovered about $250,000 in cash under a mattress.
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Photo of directory at Kermit Gosnell's abortion clinic in Philadelphia: AP Images