Convicted US abortion doctor gets life

Philadelphia — An abortion doctor convicted of killing three babies born alive at his rogue clinic dodged a possible death sentence on Tuesday in a hasty post-verdict deal with prosecutors.

Dr Kermit Gosnell, aged 72, waived his right to appeal in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. Gosnell was convicted on Monday of first-degree murder in a case that became a flashpoint in the nation's abortion debate.

Former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania's 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants dispatched the newborns by "snipping" their spines, as he referred to it.

Prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty because Gosnell killed more than one person and his victims were especially vulnerable given their age. But Gosnell's own advanced age had made it unlikely he would ever be executed before his appeals ran out.

Gosnell's lawyer, Jack McMahon, said his client accepts the verdict and isn't sorry he went to trial. He said Gosnell gave up a somewhat better deal early on but wanted to air the issues in court and is satisfied that he did so.

"He wanted this case aired out in a courtroom and it got aired out in a courtroom in a fair way. And now he's accepting what will happen. He's an intelligent guy," said McMahon, who said Gosnell would now plead to federal drug charges that are still pending.

Proud man

The sentencing deal, reached after hours of terse negotiations, spares Gosnell's family the task of pleading for his life in court, McMahon said. Gosnell has six children, the youngest of them a teenager born to his third wife, who has also pleaded guilty in the case.

"He's a proud man. To bring his young family into court was something he did not want to do," said McMahon.

Gosnell was instead sentenced on Tuesday to two life sentences for two of the infant deaths. He faces a mandatory third life term on Wednesday in the third death, when he will also be formally sentenced in the overdose death of a patient and hundreds of lesser charges.

A 2011 grand jury investigation into Gosnell's alleged prescription drug trafficking led to the gruesome findings about his abortion clinic. An FBI raid had turned up 47 aborted foetuses stored in clinic freezers, jars of tiny severed feet, bloodstained furniture and dirty medical instruments, along with cats roaming the premises.

Prosecution experts said one teen was nearly 30 weeks pregnant when Gosnell aborted her foetus, and then allegedly joked the baby was so big it 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.

A fourth baby 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.

Gag order

McMahon has argued that none of the foetuses was born alive and that any movements were posthumous twitching or spasms.

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

"I wanted to be an effective, positive force in the minority community," Gosnell told The Philadelphia Daily News in a 2010 interview, when he predicted he would be "vindicated".

He declined to offer any remarks in court Tuesday to Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart but thanked McMahon and said he was "very satisfied" with his legal representation.

Prosecutors continued to refrain from commenting on the case, citing a gag order that is expected to be lifted on Wednesday when the sentencing concludes.

Pennsylvania authorities had failed to conduct routine inspections of all its abortion clinics for 15 years by the time Gosnell's facility was raided in 2010. In the scandal's aftermath, two top state health officials were fired, and Pennsylvania imposed tougher rules for clinics.

Gosnell was also convicted of infanticide, racketeering and more than 200 counts of violating Pennsylvania's abortion laws by performing third-term abortions or failing to counsel women 24 hours in advance.

- AP
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Regte Boer 2013-05-15 09:10:26 AM
Damn sick bastard!
Mally Gee 2013-05-15 09:18:40 AM
All abortion is murder no matter whether it occurs 1 minute after conception or 30 weeks. No human has the right to determine that poking a baby to death with a forceps while inside the womb (ie murder unseen) is simply a legal abortion; while snipping the spine of a 30 week baby outside the womb is murder. How very stupid and self-satisfying we have become. No person or government has the right to create man-made laws to permit murder “as long as it is unseen” within the confines of a womb. When should we expect all governments who permit abortion to stand trial for murder? That time will come!
KevanFoxcroft 2013-05-15 09:42:59 AM
This is what happens when laws condone the action of man. This is what happens when people deem life "incovenient" to them. They remove all evidence of having sex and the result there of. I can understand abortion if lives are at risk.. Society is sick, Life is cheap. Note the "He is a Proud man" we are being fed, so was Stalin..... Note the manner of his take of life when he jokes about the foetus the could walk to the bus. Once again Stalin said "One mans death is a tradgey , A million dead is a statistic" . Then again have a look at where new borns are being found just here in SA. But fret not!! As long as the Prez can have a homestead and the gupta's can have access to government property for private use, while corruption and nepotism is rife and rampant , it is all par for the course.
MC 2013-05-15 09:52:48 AM
At last! Some justice in this sick world! Babies have been murdered after being born alive like this for years. He deserves the death penalty for this. I hope that an example is made of him. Then please start putting away all the rest of the doctors that have adopted the same shocking methods.
Tracey Freer Meredith 2013-05-15 10:32:30 AM
pity the little babies could not "dodge the death sentence"!
Fired up 2013-05-27 01:44:48 AM
This is beyond disgusting, bear in mind these babies were upward of 24 weeks along in gestation. Note this sarcastic whatever your name is.
Fired up 2013-05-27 01:47:30 AM
The justification some people use to support unbelievable inhumane practices is astounding.