May 6, 2013

Jurors have yet to reach verdict in Pennsylvania abortion clinic trial

By Maryclaire Dale / The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia jury reviewed laws addressing murder and manslaughter without reaching a verdict Monday in the high-profile case of an abortion provider accused of killing a patient and four babies who prosecutors say were born alive, then killed with scissors in unorthodox, late-term abortions.

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Dr. Kermit Gosnell

The Associated Press

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, ran the Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia, which served mostly low-income women and teens and went years without a state inspection. Former staff members have testified that Gosnell taught them to "snip" babies in the back of the neck after they were born to ensure they were dead.

Gosnell also faces charges of racketeering and of hundreds of abortion-law violations, for allegedly performing third-trimester abortions and failing to counsel women a day in advance.

The jurors must also decide whether Gosnell caused the 2009 overdose death of a patient, Karnamaya Mongar of Woodbridge, Va., a 41-year-old mother of three and recent refugee to the U.S. who died after an abortion at Gosnell's clinic.

Co-defendant Eileen O'Neill, 56, of Phoenixville, a former employee of Gosnell's, is charged with billing as a doctor when she did not have a license.

Eight former employees have pleaded guilty since the 2011 indictment, and all but Gosnell's wife testified against him. Four others have pleaded guilty to murder charges for either "snipping" the babies with scissors after they were born, or helping sedate Mongar despite a lack of training.

The jury includes several transit authority bus drivers, a water department inspector, a day care worker and a bank teller. They have been deliberating since Tuesday afternoon.

Gosnell's lawyer argued that there were no live births at the clinic and blamed Mongar's death on unforeseen medical complications. O'Neill's lawyer said she worked under Gosnell's supervision.

Gosnell has been in custody since his 2011 arrest, while O'Neill remains free on bail.

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