The staffers of a number of prominent Republican members of Congress attended a briefing and screening Friday morning on the case of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor who practiced abortions for nearly four decades and is now on trial for murder. Gosnell is accused in the deaths of a female patient and seven babies at his Philadelphia clinic.
Staffers from the offices of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., watched the graphic documentary, "3801 Lancaster," which detailed the squalid conditions of Gosnell's clinic and showed graphic images of the babies who are believed to have died there.
Several of the staffers winced or turned away from the screen when images were shown of babies Gosnell allegedly aborted by "snipping," a practice by which a baby's spinal cord is severed with scissors.
The documentary was made by independent filmmakers and screened on the Hill by the Pennsylvania Family Institute and the Washington-based pro-life group the Susan B. Anthony List.
"There are only one of two ways to respond to this. The first is to do what we all feel like right now, which is to recoil... and hope that it goes away," SBA List head Marjorie Dannenfelser told staffers after the film concluded. "But that's not why we're here on Capitol Hill."
Dannenfelser encouraged staffers to specifically look into potentially lax regulation of abortion clinics in their home states, as well as fetal pain legislation at the federal level.
She told Whispers that the prominence of the Gosnell case "amplifies our arguments" and "strengthens our ability to succeed."