Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Found Guilty and Sentenced to Life

Filed under: Criminal Law, Death Penalty Cases by Contributor @ May 16, 2013

Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor who was accused of performing thousands of illegal abortions and operating a “pill mill”, was found guilty last Monday and was sentenced on Tuesday. Gosnell was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for aborting babies who were born alive, one count of involuntary manslaughter for the overdose of an adult patient, and hundreds of lesser charges. He was spared the death penalty by waiving his right to appeal his convictions. Instead, he was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison for two of the first-degree murder charges and is waiting to be sentenced for the other murder charge and for the involuntary manslaughter charge.

The investigation into Kermit Gosnell started in 2010 when federal agents raided Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic in west Philadelphia, searching for drug violations. Instead of finding the drug violations they were seeking, agents walked in on “deplorable and unsanitary conditions”, with aborted fetuses in jars and blood on the floor. His clinic was shut down and Gosnell’s license was suspended.

Since Gosnell’s clinic opened in 1979, many complaints were filed about Gosnell and there were 46 lawsuits against him, all of which were ignored by state regulators. Only five annual inspections were performed since the clinic’s opening. The nearly 300-page grand jury report paints Gosnell’s clinic as a disgusting mess, or as the district attorney called it, a “house of horrors”: A family physician not certified in obstetrics or gynecology, with no trained nurses or medical staff, performing thousands of late-term and dangerous abortions over three decades, netting the doctor millions of dollars. The furniture and blankets in the clinic were blood stained, instruments were not properly cleaned after use, disposable supplies were used repeatedly, and the whole building smelled of cat urine. On top of all that, there were bags, jars, and bottles containing aborted fetuses found throughout the building.

Gosnell was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder for aborting newborns that were allegedly born alive and was charged with third-degree murder for the death of a 41-year-old who received mass amounts of sedatives and painkillers while waiting for an abortion. He was also charged with hundreds of other crimes, including Conspiracy, Criminal Solicitation, Drug Delivery Resulting In Death, Corrupt Organizations, Infanticide, Theft By Deception, Corruption Of Minors, and Abuse Of A Corpse. Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart threw out three of the first-degree murder charges due to lack of evidence that the babies were born alive. Gosnell was acquitted of one of the remaining first-degree murder charges but was found guilty of the other three, and was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of the woman awaiting an abortion. He was also found guilty of hundreds of the lesser charges. Gosnell would have been charged with many more counts of first-degree murder but it was impossible to prove that most of the babies were born alive since Gosnell destroyed documents and records.

To perform the abortions, Gosnell would use scissors to cut the newborns’ spinal cords. Gosnell’s lawyer, Jack McMahon, argued that none of the babies were born alive and that the woman who died had other respiratory problems that could have been the cause of her death. Prosecutors concluded their five-week case with a former employee at the clinic who testified that she saw more than 10 babies who were alive and breathing before they were killed. McMahon did not call any witnesses and Gosnell himself did not testify. McMahon called the case “a prosecutorial lynching” and accused officials of “a targeted, elitist, and racist prosecution.” Even though he is facing two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, Gosnell is yet to be sentenced for the remaining charges. Please leave us comments if you can explain how one person can serve two or more life sentences consecutively…

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