Embattled abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell appeared in court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to federal drug charges. Gosnell is the Philadelphia abortion practitioner who faces murder charges in the deaths of seven babies and a patient in a botched abortion.
Federal prosecutors contend Gosnell also used his abortion facility as a pill mill — giving patients prescriptions for highly addictive painkillers. The 71-year-old abortion doctor faces trial next year after pleading not guilty to the eight murder counts. The murder charges in connection with the deaths of the babies are related to hundreds of unborn children he reportedly caused to be born alive and prosecutors say he and his staff used scissors to kill them by “snipping” at their spinal cords with the scissors.
Authorities raided the medical offices of Kermit Gosnell in January, 2010, on suspicion that he was operating a pill mill that was the largest source of illegal painkillers sold on the streets of Philadelphia.That was when they discovered a squalid “house of horrors” where illegal late-term abortions were done on drugged, dazed women, where the late-term babies were born alive then murdered by severing their spinal cords with scissors, and where the severed feet of those late-term babies were kept in jars as trophies.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has more on the charges regarding Gosnell allegedly selling prescriptions for almost a million pills containing the narcotic painkiller Oxycodone and the generic version of the antianxiety drug Xanax.
Wearing an olive prison jumpsuit, his hands cuffed behind him, Gosnell smiled broadly and winked at defense attorney Emily B. Cherniack as he waited his turn to be arraigned by U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth T. Hey.
Gosnell quietly responded “not guilty” after Hey read the list of charges in the April 11 superseding indictment: conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, counts involving distribution of controlled drugs, and operating a continuing criminal enterprise.
Gosnell and three workers at his Women’s Medical Society Clinic at 3801 Lancaster Ave. were originally charged by the federal grand jury in December 2011 with operating the “pill mill” from 2008 until January 2010. The alleged scheme netted Gosnell at least $200,000 in illegal profits, prosecutors said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Natali said the superseding indictment does not lodge additional criminal charges against Gosnell but does make some editorial changes. Two of Gosnell’s three codefendants were also arraigned Thursday and entered not-guilty pleas.
Four other former Gosnell workers were charged separately in the alleged pill mill’s operation. Three of the four have pleaded guilty and are expected to testify for the government when the case goes to trial.
That could be some time, however. U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe has marked the trial “complex” and a trial date has not been scheduled.
Gosnell is expected to be tried on the abortion-infant murder charges in March, 2013. He could face the death penalty if convicted and Gosnell faces a mandatory minimum 20 years. Attorneys for both sides of the abortion and drug cases have been placed under a gag order.
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In December, Gosnell’s wife Pearl pleaded guilty to assisting her husband at his Philadelphia abortion center where he killed a woman in a botched abortion and kills hundreds of babies in abortion-infanticides.
Pearl Gosnell was considering a plea deal similar to the one several of Gosnell’s former abortion center employees have made where they have pleaded guilty to receive a lesser sentence in exchange for testifying against Gosnell. Pearl also worked at the abortion center Gosnell ran that had him kill and injure women in failed abortions and kill perhaps hundreds of babies in grisly infanticides by birthing them and “snipping” their spinal cords.
She worked at the Women’s Medical Society abortion business her husband ran as a full-time medical assistant from 1982 until she married Kermit Gosnell in 1990, when she switched to only working on Sundays. At that time, the abortion business was officially closed but would do its latest-term abortions possible.
The grand jury report indicates Pearl Gosnell testified that she alone helped Kermit do abortions on Sundays when she would “help do the instruments” in the operating room despite no medical training.
Previously, Judge Lerner ruled two other former employees, Eileen O’Neill and Madeline Joe, are not allowed to have their cases separated from that of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Neither O’Neill nor Joe are charged with killing babies in infanticides and, although their attorneys argued the horrifying allegations against Gosnell could unfairly taint their cases, they were not allowed to plead guilty in deals as was the case with six other former employees.
The murder charges also came in connection with the botched abortion death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died at Gosnell’s abortion clinic after a failed abortion. Mongar died November 20, 2009, after overdosing on anesthetics prescribed by the doctor. Mongar’s family filed a lawsuit against Gosnell’s abortion business seeking damages.
Gosnell and several staffers at his abortion center, including his wife Pearl, were arrested in January after a grand jury indicted them on multiple charges after officials raided his abortion business following a woman’s death and discovered a “shop of horrors” filled with bags of bodies and body parts of deceased unborn children and babies killed in infanticides. Pearl Gosnell, Kermit’s 49-year-old wife who has no medical license, faces a charge of providing an abortion at 24 or more weeks and conspiracy and other charges.
Authorities searching the facility last year found bags and bottles holding aborted babies scattered around the building, jars containing babies’ severed feet lining a shelf, as well as filthy, unsanitary furniture and equipment.
While the trial moves forward, a pro-life group and state lawmakers are pressing for legislation the state House needs to pass that responds to the grisly abortions and infanticides at Gosnell’s facility. Gosnell’s abortion center was inspected only after a federal drug raid in 2010. It was the first time the facility had been inspected in 17 years because state officials ignored complaints and failed to visit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society for years.
The abortion industry has been forced to suspend two abortion businesses that employed embattled abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who has been the subject of national controversy over his abortion business in Philadelphia.
Following revelations that Gosnell is associatedwith two other abortion centers in Louisiana and Delaware, the National Abortion Federation made the decision to suspend the memberships of both. Atlantic Women’s Medical Services, the Delaware abortion business that employed Gosnell one day a week to do abortions, and the Delta Clinic abortion center of Baton Rouge, have both had their memberships suspended. Leroy Brinkley owns both abortion businesses. Atlantic operates abortion centers in Wilmington and Dover.