By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
A bill now before the House Judiciary Committee seeks to provide greater protection for babies and mothers in Pennsylvania.
House Bill 643, sponsored by state Rep. Matthew Baker (R-Bradford, Potter, Tioga Counties), would ensure that there are no time limits for prosecuting infanticide. The measure would also expand the window of opportunity for prosecuting illegal late-term abortions to five years after the alleged crimes occurred.
The legislation stems from recommendations made by the grand jury in abortionist Kermit Gosnell's "House of Horrors" case. Gosnell has been called the worst serial killer in U.S. history, given the fact that he is suspected of killing hundreds of full-term babies by "snipping" their spinal cords. The West Philadelphia abortionist also caused the deaths of unsuspecting female patients who did not know about the dangers lurking in his seedy, uninspected abortion center.
Gosnell is currently serving life sentences in prison in connection with the deaths of three full-term babies. He was also successfully prosecuted in connection with the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who lost her life as a result of an overdose of anesthesia.
Members of the grand jury expressed frustration that they could not bring Gosnell to justice for hundreds of other suspected murders. This was due to the fact that he destroyed so many records--and that he had, in essence, "beaten the clock" when it came to the judicial system.
For that reason, grand jurors wanted to see Pennsylvania law changed. As they stated in their grand jury report:
1. There should be no statute of limitations for infanticide.
"We recommend that the legislature amend the statute of limitations so that infanticide is treated as what it is – homicide. It is important to extend the statute of limitations not only because of the seriousness of the offense, but also because the crime is hard to discover. Gosnell, we are convinced, committed hundreds of acts of infanticide.
"He got away with them for decades because they all took place inside his clinic. We are disappointed that we can charge him for only the babies he let die in the past two years.
"Homicide has no statute of limitations, and neither should infanticide."
The Gosnell grand jury also wanted to ensure that those who perform illegal late-term abortions are held accountable:
2. The statute of limitations for illegal abortions beyond 24 weeks should be extended to five years.
"Like infanticide, illegal abortions can go undetected for years, or forever. There is no one to complain and, most often, no witness to testify. Again, the jurors were frustrated that we could not recommend charges against Gosnell for scores of crimes we know he committed. We recommend that the statute of limitations for illegal post-24-week abortions be extended to five years."
Justice came too late for some of Gosnell's victims. Sadly, it never arrived for others. House Bill 643 is one additional legislative effort to ensure that the horrors of Gosnell are not repeated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.