Governor Tom Corbett has ordered his acting Secretaries of Health and State to investigate why neither department acted on numerous complaints about a Philadelphia abortion clinic.
In a special report, the grand jury that indicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on murder and other charges said there was a “total abdication” of the Health Department’s duties.
Inspectors visited Gosnell’s clinic just three times between 1979 and 2010, and neither Health nor State officials followed up on complaints about infected and injured women, or squalid conditions.
The clinic head, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was not certified to perform abortions, was charged with criminal homicide in the deaths of 7 babies who were born alive but then had their spinal cords cut with scissors. Gosnell is also charged in the death of a woman who received a lethal dose of painkillers during a 2009 procedure. Gosnell's aide Steven Massoff of Mount Lebanon was also charged with homicide and other counts.
Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley says after reading the report, the governor met with acting Health Secretary Eli Avila and acting Secretary of State Carol Aichele.
"And asked them to do an investigation of what went wrong, based on the findings of a grand jury. And to develop a plan – recommendations – of how this type of activity, behavior by a doctor – can be prevented."
Corbett will wait until the investigations are complete before deciding whether to back any specific legislative reform, according to Harley, who says the governor found the case’s details “horrific.”
Former Governor Ed Rendell says he was "flabbergasted" by regulators' inadequate inspections of that abortion clinic. Rendell said he ordered increased inspections after a raid last year on Gosnell's clinic yielded gruesome accounts of conditions there.