The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

April 29, 2013

Lawyer: Pa. abortion clinic no 'house of horrors'

PHILADELPHIA —

 The description of a shuttered abortion clinic as a "house of horrors" is a "political press fabrication," a lawyer for a doctor charged with killing four babies allegedly born alive there said Monday.

Authorities say Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, ran a clinic where desperate women sought late-term abortions they could not get elsewhere. And he got rich doing so, prosecutors said, making millions of dollars over a 30-year career.

Gosnell is charged with killing four babies allegedly born alive and in the overdose death of a 41-year-old patient.

During closing arguments Monday, defense attorney Jack McMahon showed photographs of a relatively neat waiting room and other areas in Gosnell's clinic, saying that pictures don't lie.

He said the clinic wasn't perfect but it wasn't the criminal enterprise that prosecutors claim. The district attorney has called it a "house of horrors."

McMahon said he's not backing down from his opening remarks that the case is an elitist and racist prosecution against Gosnell, who is black.

Prosecutors say Gosnell killed viable babies born alive after putting a steady stream of often low-income, minority women through labor and delivery. Former employees have testified that Gosnell taught them to "snip" babies' necks after they were delivered to "ensure fetal demise."

"Why would you cut a baby in the back of the neck unless you were killing them?" Assistant District Attorney Ed Cameron argued last week, as he asked a judge to send all seven first-degree murder charges to the jury.

Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart, though, threw out three of those counts for lack of evidence they were viable, born alive and then killed.

Gosnell is also charged in the overdose death of a patient, 41-year-old refugee Karnamaya Mongar, of Woodbridge, Va.

The jury must now weigh the five murder counts, along with lesser charges that include racketeering, performing illegal abortions after 24 weeks, failing to observe the 24-hour waiting period and endangering a child's welfare for employing a 15-year-old in the procedure area.

McMahon has argued that there were no live births at the clinic, and he found some support from a prosecution witness, Philadelphia's top medical examiner. Dr. Sam Gulino, who examined 47 aborted fetuses stored in freezers at the clinic, said he could not definitively say if any had taken a breath because the lung tissue had deteriorated.

The prosecution's other evidence to support the live birth argument comes from former employees, who testified that they saw aborted babies move, breathe or even cry. McMahon challenged them on cross-examination, questioning whether they had instead seen post-mortem spasms.

"You have to have definite, voluntary movement," McMahon argued.

The jury has seen a graphic photograph of some of the aborted babies and a worker testified that Gosnell joked that one was so big "it could walk to the bus."

Lynda Williams, Adrianne Moton and Sherry West, all untrained clinic workers, and unlicensed doctor Stephen Massof have each pleaded guilty to third-degree murder charges and testified against Gosnell. And four others have pleaded guilty to lesser charges, including Gosnell's wife, Pearl.

Gosnell did not testify, but could take the stand in the penalty phase if he is convicted of first-degree murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Gosnell is a misogynist for the way he treated female patients while the inner-city doctor described himself as an altruist in a 2010 interview with the Philadelphia Daily News.

"I wanted to be an effective, positive force in the minority community," Gosnell said.

Also on trial is former clinic employee Eileen O'Neill, 56, of Phoenixville. She is charged with theft for allegedly practicing medicine without a license.

O'Neill's lawyer said in his closing arguments that prosecutors failed to prove their case against her.

 

 

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • GROUNDED U.S., other countries ban flights to and from Israel

    A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel’s main airport, prompting a ban on all flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine.

    July 23, 2014

  • REPORT: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

    A pharmacy supervisor at the VA was placed on leave after complaining about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients at a hospital in Palo Alto, California. In Pennsylvania, a doctor was removed from clinical work after complaining that on-call doctors were refusing to go to a VA hospital in Wilkes-Barre.

    July 22, 2014

  • Veteran's Ducks Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks

    An Army veteran who hurt his back during the Iraq War is worried a citation will result in him losing his 14 pet ducks, which he says are therapeutic.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stacked Apartment.jpg New York building shows how mod design stacks up as cool

    In a city piled high with ambitious architecture, a seven-floor structure off the beaten path boasts a distinction of its own: It’s billed as the first multistory, modular-built apartment building to open in the nation’s apartment capital.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scores dead in first major ground battle in Gaza

    The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting exacted a steep price Sunday: It killed 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers and forced thousands of terrified Palestinian civilians to flee their neighborhood, reportedly used to launch rockets at Israel and now devastated by the fighting.

    July 21, 2014

  • Traditional lottery games hold their own

    Ohio’s traditional lottery games are mostly doing well despite competition from their electronic counterparts at four racinos.

    July 20, 2014

  • HIV diagnosis rate fell by third in U.S. over decade

    The rate of HIV infections diagnosed in the United States each year fell by one-third over the past decade, a government study finds. Experts celebrated it as hopeful news that the AIDS epidemic may be slowing in the U.S.

    July 20, 2014

  • Suddenly, the sun is eerily quiet: Where did the sunspots go?

    The sun has gone quiet. Almost too quiet.

    July 20, 2014

  • Monitors try to secure Ukraine plane crash site

    International monitors moved gingerly Saturday through fields reeking of the decomposing corpses that fell from a Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, trying to secure the sprawling site in hopes that a credible investigation can be conducted.

    July 19, 2014

  • Israeli bulldozers destroy Hamas tunnels in Gaza

     Israeli bulldozers on Saturday demolished more than a dozen tunnels the military said were being used by Hamas gunmen to sneak beneath the southern border of the Jewish state and carry out attacks on its soldiers and civilians.

    July 19, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video