Tuesday, January 23, 2018
More than 24 years ago, Pam and her husband Bob were serving as missionaries to the Philippines and praying for a fifth child. Pam contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in contaminated food or drink.
She went into a coma and was treated with strong antibiotics before they discovered she was pregnant. Doctors urged her to abort the baby for her own safety, telling her the medicines had caused irreversible damage to her baby. She refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted.
While pregnant, Pam nearly lost their baby four times, but still refused to consider abortion. She recalled making a pledge to God with her husband: If you will give us a son, we’ll name him Timothy and we’ll make him a preacher.
Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and eventually gave birth to a healthy baby boy August 14, 1987. Pam’s youngest son is indeed a preacher. He preaches in prisons, makes hospital visits and serves with his father’s ministry in the Philippines. He also plays football. His name is Tim Tebow.
By Jodi Gemma
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May 14, 2013 4:29 PM
Kermit Gosnell Update: Convicted Pa. abortion doctor gets life in prison
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was convicted Monday of first-degree murder in the deaths of the babies who were delivered alive and killed with scissors.
In a case that became a flashpoint in the nation's abortion debate, former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania's 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants dispatched the newborns by "snipping" their spines, as he referred to it.
Prosecutors agreed to two life sentences without parole for two of the three first-degree murder convictions, and Gosnell was to be sentenced Wednesday in the death of the third baby, an involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of a patient and hundreds of lesser counts.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty because Gosnell killed more than one person, and his victims were especially vulnerable given their age. But Gosnell's own advanced age had made it unlikely he would ever be executed before his appeals ran out.
Gosnell has said he considered himself a pioneering inner-city doctor who helped desperate women get late-term abortions. Defense lawyer Jack McMahon said before the sentencing deal that his client's bid for acquittal was a battle.
"The media has been overwhelmingly against him," McMahon said. "But I think the jury listened to the evidence ... and they found what they found."
The gruesome details of Gosnell's operation came out more than two years ago during a grand jury investigation of prescription drug trafficking. Authorities raiding Gosnell's clinic for drugs instead found bags and bottles of fetuses, including jars of severed feet, along with bloodstained furniture, dirty medical instruments and cats roaming the premises.
Partisans on both sides of the nation's polarized abortion debate were quick to weigh in after the verdict. Abortion foes said the case helped to illustrate the disturbing reality of abortion.
"This has helped more people realize what abortion is really about," said David O'Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee. He said he hopes the case results in more states passing bills that prohibit abortion "once the unborn child can feel pain."
Supporters of legalized abortion said the case offered a preview of what poor, desperate young women could face if abortion is driven underground with more restrictive laws.
"Kermit Gosnell has been found guilty and will get what he deserves. Now, let's make sure these women are vindicated by delivering what all women deserve: access to the full range of health services including safe, high-quality and legal abortion care," said Ilyse G. Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Pennsylvania authorities had failed to conduct routine inspections of all its abortion clinics for 15 years by the time Gosnell's facility was raided. In the scandal's aftermath, two top state health officials were fired, and Pennsylvania imposed tougher rules for clinics.
During the trial, Gosnell proved a solitary figure from beginning to end, with no friends or relatives in the courtroom, despite the fact he's been married three times and has six children, nearly all of them adults.
Gosnell did not testify, and called no witnesses in his defense. But McMahon branded prosecutors "elitist" and "racist" for pursuing his client, who is black and whose patients were mostly poor minorities.
"I wanted to be an effective, positive force in the minority community," Gosnell told The Philadelphia Daily News in a 2010 interview. "I believe in the long term I will be vindicated."
Gosnell was also convicted of infanticide, racketeering and more than 200 counts of violating Pennsylvania's abortion laws by performing third-term abortions or failing to counsel women 24 hours in advance.
Prosecution experts said one of the babies was nearly 30 weeks along when the abortion took place, and was so big that Gosnell allegedly joked the baby could "walk to the bus." A second baby was said to be alive for about 20 minutes before a clinic worker snipped the neck. A third was born in a toilet and was moving before another clinic employee severed the spinal cord, according to testimony.
A fourth baby let out a whimper before Gosnell cut the neck, prosecutors alleged. Gosnell was acquitted in that baby's death, the only one of the four in which no one testified to seeing the baby killed.
Gosnell's attorney argued that none of the fetuses was born alive and that any movements were posthumous twitching or spasms.
The defense also contended that the 2009 death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar of Woodbridge, Va., a Bhutanese immigrant who had been given repeated doses of Demerol and other powerful drugs to sedate her and induce labor, was caused by unforeseen complications and did not amount to murder, as prosecutors charged.
Bernard Smalley, a lawyer for the woman's family, said he now hopes to bring "some sense of justice and quiet to this family that's been through so much."
Complete coverage of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial on Crimesider
Saturday, December 31, 2011
2 abortion providers charged with murder in Maryland
By BEN NUCKOLS | AP – 11 hrs ago
December 30, 2011
December 30, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) — Authorities say two out-of-state doctors who traveled to Maryland to perform late-term abortions have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder, an unusual use of a law that allows for murder charges in the death of a viable fetus.
Dr. Steven Brigham, of Voorhees, N.J., was taken into custody Wednesday night and is being held in the Camden County jail, according to police in Elkton, Md. Authorities also arrested Dr. Nicola Riley in Salt Lake City and she is in jail in Utah. Each is awaiting an extradition hearing.
A grand jury indicted the two doctors after a 16-month investigation, police said.
The investigation began in August 2010 after what authorities say was a botched procedure at Brigham's clinic in Elkton, located near the border of Maryland and Delaware.
An 18-year-old woman who was 21 weeks pregnant suffered a ruptured uterus and an injured bowel, according to documents filed in a previous investigation by medical regulators. Rather than call 911, Riley drove her to a nearby hospital, where both she and Brigham were uncooperative and Brigham refused to give his name, documents show.
A search of the clinic after the botched abortion revealed a freezer containing 35 late-term fetuses, including one believed to have been aborted at 36 weeks, the documents show.
Brigham, 55, is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy. Riley, 46, faces one count each of first- and second-degree murder and one conspiracy count.
The charges relate to the botched procedure as well as other abortions performed at the Elkton clinic or fetuses found there, authorities said.
Cecil County State's Attorney Ellis Roberts declined to elaborate on the charges or the circumstances that led to them, saying it would be inappropriate to comment before Brigham and Riley, who were taken into custody on fugitive warrants, had seen the indictments.
Maryland is one of 38 states that allows murder charges to be brought against someone accused of killing a viable fetus. The 2005 state law has so far only been used for cases in which defendants were accused of assaulting or killing pregnant women.
"We are in uncharted territory," Roberts said. "At some point in time," he added, "you will hear our explanation" of the charges.
The state law allows for murder or manslaughter charges to be brought against a person who intends to kill or seriously injure a fetus or who wantonly disregards the safety of a fetus. It does not apply to doctors administering lawful medical care and does not impinge on a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy.
Brigham's attorney, C. Thomas Brown, said in an emailed statement that he does not believe his client has violated any Maryland laws. He said he has not seen any charging documents or spoken with Brigham since the arrest.
"Dr. Brigham has fully cooperated with this investigation," Brown said. "I had an agreement with the state's attorney's office that if Dr. Brigham was charged, he would voluntarily come to Maryland to surrender. For reasons unknown to me, the state did not honor that agreement. ... It is my opinion that Dr. Brigham's arrest in New Jersey was orchestrated to ensure that he remained in custody over this holiday weekend."
An attorney for Riley also took issue with her client being behind bars.
"We believe the charges are without legal merit," said attorney Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum. "We believe it's inappropriate for her to be held without bond. She is not a flight risk and she should be released on her own recognizance."
Krevor-Weisbaum said Riley's legal team would comment further after they had seen the indictment.
A spokeswoman for the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal advocacy group, said she was not aware of any cases in the United States in which an abortion provider had been charged with murder in the death of a fetus. A Philadelphia doctor, Kermit Gosnell, faces murder charges in the deaths of seven newborn babies but has not been charged with killing fetuses.
The botched 2010 abortion led regulators to order Brigham to stop practicing medicine in Maryland without a license, and Riley's Maryland license was suspended. Brigham's New Jersey license was also suspended, leaving him without a valid license in any state, and New Jersey authorities are pursuing revocation of his license there. New Jersey authorities have cooperated with the Maryland criminal probe, said Thomas R. Calcagni, director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.
According to regulators, Brigham would begin abortions in New Jersey and have his patients drive themselves to Maryland to complete the procedures, taking advantage of Maryland's more permissive laws. Brigham was not authorized to perform abortions in New Jersey after the first trimester, and regulators called his actions manipulative and deceptive.
In Maryland, licensed physicians can perform abortions before the fetus is deemed capable of surviving outside the womb, and abortions of viable fetuses are permitted to protect the life or health of the mother or if the fetus has serious genetic abnormalities. Doctors generally consider fetuses to be viable starting around 23 weeks.
Anti-abortion activists hailed the arrests of Brigham and Riley.
"These two individuals are now where they belong and should be in jail for the rest of their lives," the Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said in a statement. "Even those who believe abortion should be legal can join with us to stop the out-of-control practices of people like Brigham and Riley."
Associated Press writer Beth DeFalco in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this report.