PHILADELPHIA (RNN) – The murder trial of an abortion doctor has started to receive national attention, as much for the news outlets not covering it as for its gruesome details.
Warning: This story and all links within contain graphic content. Read at your own discretion.
Kermit Gosnell, 72, has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, allegedly involving infants killed in illegal abortions. But the grand jury report cites hundreds of deaths caused by cutting the newborn's spinal cord at the back of the neck.
The report states late-term abortions were performed after 24 weeks of pregnancy by inducing labor with dangerous levels of drugs and then killing the infants after they were born.
At Gosnell's Women's Medical Society, in operation since 1979, untrained staff routinely administered drugs, and the doctor pre-signed prescription pads to be dispersed to patients, the report stated. Also, medical equipment – an EKG, a defibrillator, a pulse oximeter – were broken, and disease spread because medical equipment was not cleaned between uses.
The report further alleges Gosnell only exercised care with sedatives "When the patient was a white woman from the suburbs."
"When an employee asked him why, he said it was 'the way of the world," the report read.
The suspect is also charged with third-degree murder for a 41-year-old woman's death, allegedly by Demerol overdose administered at the clinic. In addition, there have been many other crimes charged to Gosnell and other members of the staff.
Four weeks into the trial, a former staffer gave testimony Thursday. Ashley Baldwin, 15 at the time, said she assisted in abortions and described seeing babies moving, breathing and, in one case, screaming before they were killed, according to philly.com.
The grand jury surmised all of this was done with a singular motive of profit without any regard for the health of patients. The practices were discovered during an FBI raid in 2010, when they were looking for evidence of illegal prescription drug sales.
In a case covering abortion, alleged medical fraud and gross mistreatment, emotional response can be expected. But many of the emotional comments made on social media and in news outlets are about the lack of coverage by some of the largest news organizations.
"To sum up, this story has numerous elements, any one of which would normally make it a major story," wrote The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf on Friday. "And setting aside conventions, which are flawed, this ought to be a big story on the merits. The news value is undeniable."
Several right-leaning sites, such as Breitbart.com and TheBlaze.com, claimed media bias because of the case's graphic depictions of abortion. Gosnell became a U.S. trending topic on Twitter and on the Facebook pages of news outlets. Many people asked why the story had not reached much of the populace, let alone become an everyday story the way Jodi Arias or other "national" trials had been.
Politicians also began to chime in. Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH, tweeted "[sic] b/c media not covering, many just hearing abt Gosnell case. Such a tragic story, & inexcusable lack of attn paid."
At 4:30 p.m. ET, CNN teased an upcoming segment on the Gosnell trial. Jake Tapper said the news giant had covered the story initially in March but had stayed away from the graphic content being put forth during the court proceedings.
In an opinion column Thursday in USA Today, Kirsten Powers wrote the case should have been on every news show and front page across the country.
"This is not about being ‘pro-choice' or ‘pro-life,'" she wrote. "It's about basic human rights. The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace."
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