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Guide to Philadelphia abortion doctor murder case

 

April 29, 2013, 2:55:46 PM EDT

 Dr. Kermit Gosnell is on trial, charged with murder, in the deaths of a female patient and four babies prosecutors say were born alive at the abortion clinic he ran. A look at the facts in the case: ---

THE INVESTIGATION

In 2010, federal agents who were raiding 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.

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THE GRAND JURY REPORT

 

A nearly 300-page grand jury report released in 2011 described Gosnell's clinic as a filthy, foul-smelling operation that was overlooked by regulators. The district attorney called it a "house of horrors."

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.

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THE CHARGES

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.

 

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THE DEFENSE

McMahon has accused officials of "a targeted, elitist and racist prosecution" and "a prosecutorial lynching" of his client, who is black, and of applying "Mayo Clinic" standards to Gosnell's inner-city, cash-only clinic. He said Gosnell performed as many as 1,000 abortions per year, and at least 16,000 over his long career, with a lower-than-average complication rate.

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THE TRIAL

During the trial, which began March 18, Gosnell's former employees have testified that they were just doing what their boss trained them to do and described long, chaotic days performing gruesome work for little more than minimum wage paid under the table. An assistant testified she snipped the spines of at least 10 babies at Gosnell's direction, sobbing as she recalled taking a cellphone photograph of one baby she thought could have survived, given his size and pinkish color.

Mongar's 24-year-old daughter testified about the labor-inducing drugs and painkillers her mother was given as she waited hours for Gosnell to arrive for the procedure. She said her mother was later taken to a hospital, only after firefighters struggled to cut bolts off a side door of the clinic, but she died the next day.

Prosecutors wrapped up their five-week case April 18 with a former worker at Gosnell's clinic who testified that she saw more than 10 babies breathing before they were killed. The defense called no witnesses and Gosnell did not testify in his own defense, but he could take the stand in the penalty phase if he is convicted of first-degree murder.

McMahon reiterated in closing arguments his assertion that Gosnell was targeted because he is black. He said his client's clinic wasn't perfect but it wasn't the criminal enterprise and "house of horrors" that prosecutors claim.

 

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This article, Guide to Philadelphia abortion doctor murder case, is syndicated from Ocala Star-Banner and is posted here with permission. Copyright 2013 Ocala Star-Banner

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