The lead prosecutor in the Kermit Gosnell murder trial made it clear today what the trial is and is not about. He said the case has less to do with abortion than it does the fact that Kermit Gosnell is a killer who took the lives of newly-born babies.
Gosnell is charged with more than 30 criminal counts including the killing of seven newborn infants and a female patient in a botched abortion.
Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore appeared before a jury of 12 people — a mix of men and women and people who are black and white — sitting in the Common Pleas Court jury. She called Gosnell a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” who “used and abused desperate women.”
Meanwhile, the defense in the case is attempting to make it appear the prosecution is racist, and essentially accused the horribly shoddy conditions at Godnell’s clinic, saying it’s not supposed to be that high quality because of its location in West Philly.
Pescatore told the jury that abortion is legal in Pennsylvania up until the 24th week of pregnancy. Gosnell, however, specialized in what the prosecutor called “high-volume high-profit” illegal late-term abortions that “almost guarantee a live birth.”
“If a baby is born alive, it’s alive and no one has the right to take some solution to kill it,” Pescatore said.
Defense attorney Jack McMahon gave the jury a starkly different view of the case, telling the jury that prosecutors are trying to impose “Mayo Clinic” standards on a West Philadelphia clinic that serves the urban poor.
“They’re trying to hold him up to the standards of the Mayo Clinic the standards of a West Philadelphia clinic,” McMahon said. “If you want Mayo Clinic standards than you go to the Mayo Clinic.”
McMahon argued that all doctors lose patients but that the prosecution is redefining medical complications as murder: “It fits their needs, this elitist, racist prosecution, to make this a homicide.”
Another report adds more and shows how Gosnell also broke the law in other way:
Gosnell ran a late-term “house of horrors” abortion business for one reason, prosecutors claim: money.
“He had high volume and maximum profit,” Philadelphia prosecutor Joanne Pescatore told jurors. “This is not a case about abortion; this is a case about murder.”
For the first day of his trial, Gosnell entered court in a suit and tie and with a cheerful disposition, smiling at his attorney. He took notes at a furious pace during the opening statement, which lasted just under an hour.
Pescatore said Gosnell told his staffers that everything they were doing was legal. She called his anesthesiologist “pathetic” and told jurors that Linda Williams had only a 6th grade education. She promised jurors they’d see the “deplorable” conditions at the clinic.
“We’re going bring the facility to you — you’re going to live it with us,” she said.
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The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act says women who want an abortion cannot be more than 24 weeks pregnant. Late-term abortions can only be performed to preserve the life of the mother or “prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of bodily function.”
The prosecution said Gosnell ignored the 24-week ban as well as the 24-hour rule, which prevents doctors from performing on-the-spot abortions. Women must first go through a counseling session and then wait 24 hours for the procedure.
“In at least 200 cases, that did not happen,” Pescatore said.
Pescatore said women who went to Gosnell’s clinic had to pay for different levels of anesthesia. She accused him of treating white women differently than everyone else, meeting with each one face-to-face in a separate office, a level of attention he did not offer up to minorities.
When staffers asked him about it, according to Pescatore, he said, “It’s the way of the world.
Gosnell, whose squalid “house of horrors” abortion clinic and callous, has had almost flippant attitude toward his macabre abortion practices shocked the nation.
“The Gosnell case is a watershed moment for the issue of abortion,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “The discovery of his horrific practices helped shed light on an abortion industry that has run amok without oversight or accountability for decades, and has prompted significant changes in abortion laws and attitudes toward enforcement in several states.”
In all, Gosnell faces 43 criminal counts, including eight counts of murder in the death of one patient, Karnamaya Monger, and seven newborn infants. Additional charges include conspiracy, drug delivery resulting in death, infanticide, corruption of minors, evidence tampering, theft by deception, abuse of corpse, and corruption.
Gosnell could face the death penalty if convicted and he faces a mandatory minimum 20 years. A pool of 125 was narrowed down to 43 potential jurors this afternoon and the death penalty played a role.
The first day of jury selection began with a panel of about 125 people, but most were quickly excused for a variety of factors, including opposition to the death penalty in this potential capital case, personal hardship caused by serving in a trial expected to last 6 to 8 weeks, and having a fixed opinion on the case. At the end of the first day, three female jurors had been selected. The three jurors chosen Monday told Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart they supported abortion.
Previously, 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 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.
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.