Mental Illness Plagued Gosnell Employees Who ‘Snipped’ Baby’s Necks

By Cheryl Sullenger

Philadelphia, PA – Lynda Williams told a jury Tuesday that her boss, Kermit Gosnell, was aware she suffered from bi-polar disorder and depression when he hired her to work at his “House of Horrors” abortion clinic in West Philadelphia assisting with late-term abortions. In fact, she was being treated by Gosnell for the mental health illnesses.

Another clinic worker, Elizabeth Hampton, previously testified she suffered from depression and anxiety in addition to alcohol abuse, and that she once had a “nervous breakdown.” Yet another former Gosnell employee to testify, Sherry West, also admitted to being treated for mental health disorders.

Williams told the court that the practice of snipping the spinal cords of newborns through the back of the neck was “routine” at Gosnell’s clinic as a means of ensuring “fetal demise.”

“The problem with this notion is that newborn babies are not considered ‘fetuses’ anymore and killing them classified as murder. Gosnell never bothered to tell that to his undereducated and emotionally troubled clinic workers,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue.

Williams has already pled guilty to two counts of third degree murder for killing babies via Gosnell’s neck-snipping procedure and to conspiracy. By testifying against her former boss, she hopes to avoid the death penalty or life in prison. She will be sentenced after Gosnell’s trial concludes and face the possibility of 100 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore asked Williams if she knew what she did was murder. To that Williams responded, “No, I didn’t.”

“I only do what I’m told to do,” she told the court. “What I was told to do was snip their neck.”

One news report described Williams as testifying “in a flat, emotionless voice and at times seemed catatonic, taking several seconds before reacting to questions.”

She told the court how Gosnell was absent one day when an abortion patient spontaneously delivered her baby into a toilet after heavy doses of Cytotec, a drug that causes strong uterine contractions. As instructed by Gosnell, Williams turned the baby over and inserted the scissors into his neck.

“It jumped, the arm,” Williams testified, demonstrating the arm motion to the jury.

The News Journal described William’s testimony:

When Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore initially pressed Williams to describe what she saw when she cut the neck of the child delivered in a toilet, Williams responded with a blank stare and silence.

Williams also responded the same way when asked about seeing Gosnell cut the necks of babies who were delivered before abortion procedures, admitting after reviewing earlier statements that she had seen Gosnell do this at least 30 times.

Gosnell is currently standing trial on 7 counts of first degree murder for killing newborn babies delivered during abortions. Gosnell has also been charged with one count of third degree murder for the overdose death of his abortion patient, Karnamaya Mongar. If convicted, Gosnell could face the death penalty.

Williams, 44, told jurors that she went to work for Gosnell after her husband was murdered in 2007 and she could no longer keep the hours required of her job sterilizing surgical instruments at an abortion clinic in Wilmington, Delaware, where Gosnell also worked. Desperate for money, Gosnell gave her a job “under the table” even though she only had an eighth grade education and a certificate as a “phlebotomist.” Despite her troubling lack of education and training, after two weeks on the job she was doing ultrasounds and inserting IVs.

Williams began assisting with abortions and said Gosnell taught her how to turn the babies over and snip their spinal cords with surgical scissors.

Williams was present during Karnamaya Mongar’s abortion and testified that she repeatedly administered Demerol to her because Mongar was in pain. During the abortion, Williams mentioned to Gosnell her concern that Mongar’s breathing had slowed and she had turned gray. Williams testified that Gosnell continued with the abortion procedure then began to administer CPR. He told Williams to call 911.

Williams also testified that Gosnell would often alter medical records to make it appear that the babies he was aborting were under the legal limit in Pennsylvania of 24 weeks. She said that drugs were often out-of-date and ineffective. Williams told the court that if a woman squirmed in pain during the procedure, Gosnell would slap her leg hard enough to leave a handprint.

“The testimony from this trial is a rare look into abuses inflicted upon women daily by the abortion industry. As grisly as it is, it is important to understand this case because many of the abuses Gosnell inflicted upon women are also committed at abortion clinics around the nation. Many aspects of Gosnell’s seedy abortion operation are the rule and not the exception at U.S. abortion clinics. This trial is helping to expose that fact,” said Newman.

Gosnell Trial Archives

  • Gosnell Witness Recants Guilty Plea, Still Testifies of Abortion Horrors
  • Gosnell Employee: ‘It would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place’
  • Gosnell Sister-in-Law Emotionally Testifies of Mongar Death, Disposal of Bloody Remains
  • Aborted Babies Dramatically Testify Against Gosnell at Murder Trial
  • Homicide Determination in Abortion Death Sparks Outburst, Anger at Gosnell Murder Trial
  • Fight Breaks Out At Gosnell Murder Trial
  • State Inspector’s Horrific Discoveries at Gosnell’s Abortion Clinic Described In Court
  • Prosecution Reconstructs Abortion Room in Court for Gosnell Murder Trial
  • Abortionist Gosnell Rejects Plea Deal, Jury Selection Underway in Capital Murder Case
  • Jury Selection to Begin in Murder Case of Abortionist that Snipped Newborn’s Spinal Cords
  • Documents

    Read the full Grand Jury Report
    View photos of Gosnell’s victims
    View the Gosnell gang’s mug shots and description of charges

    Williams was expected to retake the stand Wednesday to complete her testimony. Operation Rescue will return to the courtroom next week to provide first-hand accounts from the trial.

    • Patricia

      They cannot be held accountable for mentel illness as they killed these children willingly and knew full well there were children they were killing. They should be tried for murder just as this monster.The horible pain these children suffered is beyond nighmares and they are all guilty of putting the babies though horrible torture. the mothers should be charged with murder too. Studies have proved that less than 4 percent of all abortions were done for legitimate reasons such as the life of the child or mother pr rape.The rest were simply because they did not want the child. If you don’t want a child use birthcontrol or give it up for adopdion. There are so many people with empty arms that would loved that child no matter what.I have been raped and was going to give it up but I lost it. I lost several others because I could not carry them to term. But I would never have thought about killing my children. They were a gift whether they were meant for me or another family. I had one child I was told I would never survive if I continued to carry it. by 3 doctors. I fired each of them till I found one who said their job was to do their best to get us to the fisish line alive and healthy. They said he would be very ill with complications like retardation and other damage. Instead he was born with a hard delivery but he grew up to be highly intelligent and high grades. Any doctor who tells you that you should abort you should tell them you would be glad to abort THEM and their doctor degree and run as fast as you can from them. Every childs life is worth giving a life and a chance to proceed at their best. If you cannot raise them ….their are many loving arms waiting for them.

    • Operation Rescue

      Patricia, all of Gosnell’s co-defendants have already pled guilty with the exception of Eileen O/Neill, who is on trial with Gosnell. Many have already pled guilty to murder charges and several have remained incarcerated since their arrest in 2011. Their sentencing will take place after the Gosnell trial and some may receive some leniency depending on the quality of their testimony against their former boss. All are expected to serve significant jail time.