Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA — A judge has thrown out three murder charges against a Pennsylvania abortion doctor that alleged the deaths of babies born alive.
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
Dr. Kermit Gosnell
2011 AP file photo/Philadelphia Daily News/Yong Kim
Here is a guide to the trial:
Dr. Kermit Gosnell is on trial, charged with murder, in the deaths of a female patient and seven babies prosecutors say were born alive at the abortion clinic he ran. Tuesday's ruling reduces the number of cases involving the deaths of babies to four. A look at the facts in the case:
In February 2010, agents from Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI who were conducting two raids on Gosnell's clinic in search of drug violations instead stumbled upon "deplorable and unsanitary" conditions, including blood on the floor and parts of aborted fetuses in jars.
State regulators shut down the Women's Medical Society clinic in west Philadelphia and suspended Gosnell's license.
THE GRAND JURY REPORT
A nearly 300-page grand jury report released in January 2011 described Gosnell's clinic as a filthy, foul-smelling "house of horrors" that was overlooked by regulators.
Prosecutors said Gosnell made millions of dollars over three decades performing thousands of dangerous abortions, many of them illegal late-term procedures. The clinic had no trained nurses or medical staff other than Gosnell, a family physician not certified in obstetrics or gynecology, yet authorities say many administered anesthesia, painkillers and labor-inducing drugs.
The grand jury report stated furniture and blankets in Gosnell's clinic were stained with blood, instruments were not properly sterilized and disposable medical supplies were used repeatedly. Bags, jars and bottles holding aborted fetuses were scattered throughout the building, which reeked of cat urine because of the animals allowed to roam freely.
State regulators ignored complaints about Gosnell and the 46 lawsuits filed against him and made just five annual inspections since the clinic opened in 1979, investigators said. Several state employees were fired and two agencies overhauled their regulations after the allegations.
Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder. After Tuesday's ruling he stands accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of four newborns and third-degree murder in the 2009 death of a 41-year-old Bhutanese refugee prosecutors say received lethal doses of sedatives and painkillers at the clinic while awaiting an abortion. He also is charged with violating Pennsylvania abortion law by performing abortions after 24 weeks, operating a corrupt organization and other crimes.
He pleaded not guilty and has remained held without bail since his arrest. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the infant deaths.
Prosecutors estimated Gosnell ended hundreds of pregnancies by inducing labor and cutting the babies' spinal cords and caused scores of women to suffer infections and permanent internal injuries, but they said they couldn't prosecute more cases because he destroyed files.
Eight clinic workers including Gosnell's wife, a beautician accused of helping him perform illegal third-term abortions, have pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes. Three of Gosnell's staffers, including an unlicensed medical school graduate and a woman with a sixth-grade education, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for their roles in the woman's overdose death or for cutting babies in the back of the neck to ensure their demise.
In an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News after the clinic was raided, Gosnell described himself as someone who wanted to serve the poor and minorities in the neighborhood where he grew up and raised his six children, who include a doctor and a college professor.
Gosnell's defense lawyer, Jack McMahon, disputes that any babies were born alive. He has suggested that the woman who died, Karnamaya Mongar, had undisclosed respiratory problems that could have caused fatal complications.
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