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Philadelphia Abortionist Charged With Murder. Archdiocese Notes "Shock, Horror;" Affirms Readiness to Bury Babies Stored at Mill

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, JAN. 20, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has responded to a grand jury report about a doctor in the city who has been charged with eight counts of murder, seven for babies born alive at his abortion clinic and then killed.

"It was both a shock and a horror to learn of the practices of Dr. Kermit B. Gosnell and his staff who now face criminal charges, including murder, in connection with the Women's Medical Society at 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia, which was closed after a raid in February 2010," a statement from the archdiocese affirmed. "As Catholics, we believe in the dignity and sacredness of all human life from conception until natural death. 

"The repeated actions of Dr. Gosnell and his staff were abhorrent and intrinsically evil in their disregard for the lives of the unborn and the welfare of the women who sought their services."

The grand jury report was released Wednesday and details a list of shocking circumstances at the clinic. Though the clinic has been operational for decades, despite repeated reports to authorities about various horrors including the death of a woman in 2009, it was not until a raid last year as part of a drug investigation that Gosnell's crimes were brought to public attention.

The doctor, his wife, and several employees were charged Wednesday. In addition to Gosnell, various of the staff face murder charges.

The 262-page jury report, available at the Web site of the Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney, devotes considerable attention to the question, "how did this go on so long?" It notes that media attention was key to get government authorities to face the complaints leveled against the doctor.

The archdiocesan statement also noted that the jury report's use of "the language of 'infants and babies' for the unborn and the charges of murder underscore our conviction that every child in the womb is created in the image and likeness of God."

"The Archdiocese of Philadelphia offers fervent prayers for all who have been affected by these heinous practices," the statement concluded. "We are prepared to assist with support services for the women who suffered these abortions and stand ready to provide proper burial at the appropriate time for the aborted babies previously stored in Dr. Gosnell's office."