Jury to Hear How Gosnell Coerced Staff to Help Third-Term Abortions

State   Steven Ertelt   Mar 25, 2013   |   1:27PM    Philadelphia, PA

For good reason, most of the focus in the case against Kermit Gosnell has been on how he killed a patient in a failed abortion and “snipped” the spinal cords of babies in late-term live-birth abortions.

Now, the jury in the murder trial case may hear about how Gosnell abused his staff, treated and paid them poorly, and coerced them to participate in third-term abortions so they could make more money. From a local news report on what is expected this week.

In opening statements, Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said they were nearly as “desperate” as the women seeking late-term abortions. Three have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, and potentially face 20 to 40 years in prison. The two other “doctors” on Gosnell’s staff were medical school graduates without Pennsylvania licenses, one of whom, Steven Massof of Pittsburgh, worked for just a few hundred dollars a week, authorities said.

An employee giving anesthesia was a sixth-grade dropout, while a 15-year-old high school student helped in the surgical and recovery rooms, Pescatore said. That girl’s mother also worked at the clinic, and was charged, among other things, with corruption of a minor. Adrienne Moton has been the only worker to testify so far. Moton, a family friend, had moved in with the Gosnells in high school, then worked at the clinic from 2005 to 2008. She earned $8 to $10 an hour.

But she could make $120 on a busy Saturday, when Gosnell performed what he called “second trimester” cases and gave staff $20 per patient. Prosecutors charge that some of those procedures were illegal, third-term abortions. Moton, 35, has been in prison since the indictment two years ago, and awaits sentencing for third-degree murder. “I kept doing whatever I was told,” she told the jury last week.

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Gosnell has been charged with eight counts of murder and several of his staff at the abortion center, including his wife and sister-in-law, have been charged as well in the case with assisting in botched abortions, practicing medicine without a license or covering up the actions of those who did. The counts include grisly infanticides that involved Gosnell snipping the spines with scissors of babies who had purposefully been prematurely born so they could be killed moments later.

Gosnell has also been charged with third-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar(right)  and the national controversy that has erupted over Gosnell’s abortion business.

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.

Gosnell has been denied bail while the case against him moves forward. Women have spoken out about their treatment and one woman says she was drugged and tied up and forced to have an abortion.

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.

The grand jury investigation also shows state officials did nothing when reports came in about problems at Gosnell’s abortion center, which has upset incoming pro-life Governor Tom Corbett.

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.