May 13, 2013

Philly abortion doctor guilty in 3 babies' deaths

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Dr. Kermit Gosnell

The Associated Press

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Karnamaya Mongar is shown with her husband, whose first name was not given. Mongar, 41, died after seeking an abortion and is the subject of one murder count in the ongoing Philadelphia trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

AP Photo/Philadelphia District Attorney

Supporters of legalized abortion said the case was a preview of what poor, desperate young women could face if abortion is driven underground with more restrictive laws.

"Kermit Gosnell has been found guilty and will get what he deserves. Now, let's make sure these women are vindicated by delivering what all women deserve: access to the full range of health services including safe, high-quality and legal abortion care," said Ilyse G. Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Midway through the six-week trial, anti-abortion activists accused the mainstream media of deliberately ignoring the case. Major news organizations denied it, though a number promptly sent reporters to cover the trial. About 30 reporters were in court for the verdict.

After prosecutors rested their five-week case, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart threw out for lack of evidence three of seven murder counts involving aborted fetuses. That left the jury to weigh charges involving fetuses identified as Baby A, Baby C, Baby D and Baby E.

Prosecution experts said one was nearly 30 weeks along when the abortion took place, and was so big that Gosnell allegedly joked the baby could "walk to the bus." A second baby was said to be alive for about 20 minutes before a clinic worker snipped the neck. A third was born in a toilet and was moving before another clinic employee severed the spinal cord, according to testimony.

Baby E let out a whimper before Gosnell cut the neck, prosecutors alleged. Gosnell was acquitted in that baby's death, the only one of the four in which no one testified to seeing the baby killed.

Gosnell's attorney argued that none of the fetuses was born alive and that any movements were posthumous twitching or spasms.

Gosnell did not testify, and his lawyer called no witnesses in his defense. But McMahon branded prosecutors "elitist" and "racist" for pursuing his client, who is black and whose patients were mostly poor minorities.

"I wanted to be an effective, positive force in the minority community," Gosnell told The Philadelphia Daily News in a 2010 interview. "I believe in the long term I will be vindicated."

The defense also contended that the 2009 death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar of Woodbridge, Va., a Bhutanese immigrant who had been given repeated doses of Demerol and other powerful drugs to sedate her and induce labor, was caused by unforeseen complications and did not amount to murder, as prosecutors charged.

Bernard Smalley, a lawyer for the woman's family, said he now hopes to bring "some sense of justice and quiet to this family that's been through so much."

Gosnell still faces federal drug charges. Authorities said that he ranked third in the state for OxyContin prescriptions and that he left blank prescription pads at his office and let staff members make them out to cash-paying patients.

He performed thousands of abortions over a 30-year career, some on patients as young as 13. Authorities said the medical practice alone netted him about $1.8 million a year, much of it in cash. Authorities found $250,000 hidden in a bedroom when they searched his house. Gosnell also owned a beach home and several rental properties.

"He created an assembly line with no regard for these women whatsoever," Cameron said. "And he made money doing that."

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