By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
More than 40 Pennsylvania lawmakers have signed a letter to Governor Tom Wolf which raises serious questions about Secretary of State nominee Pedro Cortes. Cortes previously served as Secretary of State during the Rendell Administration, a period of time in which the Department of State took no action against infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
Gosnell was suspected of killing hundreds of full-term babies and causing the deaths of female patients in a West Philadelphia abortion facility, which was called a “House of Horrors” by prosecutors. Gosnell is now in prison after being convicted of killing three babies and causing the death of a woman. Prosecutors say they were unable to bring charges in the rest of the cases because Gosnell destroyed the evidence.
The letter from the legislators states, “To fully understand the gravity of the failures of the department throughout Secretary Cortes’ service, one needs to read directly from the grand jury’s damaging report.”
According to the grand jury report, “Between 2002 and 2009, Board of Medicine attorneys reviewed five cases involving malpractice and other complaints against Gosnell. None of the assigned attorneys or their supervisors, suggested that the Board take action against the deviant doctor. In fact, despite serious allegations, three of the cases were closed without any investigation. The other two were investigated and then closed — without any action being taken.”
The letter from the lawmakers notes, “In his resume and biography Secretary Cortes takes credit for various achievements in dealing with occupational and professional licensure complaints and investigations during his tenure. Yet at the same time he takes no responsibility for the documented blatant failures of those same units under his leadership.”
The letter goes on to say, “…it is deeply troubling to us that you would nominate someone for such an important position as Secretary of the Commonwealth despite his deep ties to this national nightmare.”
You can read the full letter and see the names of the legislators who signed it here.