Shockingly this story has not been front page news in many media outlets. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor, is currently on trial for illegal and vile late-term abortions that have lead to the death of one woman and seven newborns. The Commonwealth is seeking the death penalty as the trial enters its fifth week. Under Pennsylvania law, abortions become illegal after 24 weeks of the pregnancy. Evidence has indicated that Gosnell performed abortions well after 30 weeks.
The Commonwealth has presented testimony thus far indicating that Gosnell’s abortion clinic was in dirty and deadly condition. He is accused of killing the newborns with scissors. These and more gruesome details have emerged since the beginning of the trial last month. Former employees of Gosnell testified to helping with abortions even though they did not have the proper medical training. One of his former employees, Dr. Stephen Massoff has plead guilty to two counts of third degree murder after testifying that Gosnell taught him to cut the necks of the newborns to ensure that they were dead.
Over the past weekend testimony and evidence was presented about a raid that the police had conducted of Gosnell’s facilities. Authorities said that they found dozens of frozen fetuses and severed feet in the facility. The entire case was prompted when suspicion arose concerning the amount of prescription pain killers Gosnell had been handing out. Gosnell has plead not guilty to all counts. The Commonwealth will continue its case this week before the Defense will present their case. Because of a gag order preventing the lawyers from talking strategy it is unknown whether Gosnell will in fact testify. The trial is expected to last for at least another month.
What perhaps is most troubling about this case is the lack of exposure it has gotten in the mainstream media. Its basis in abortion alone will spark great debate. The Huffington Post wrote reports that anti-abortion advocates are using this case to argue that tougher restrictions need to be put in place for abortion. This include architectural changes to facilities to ensure basic safety for patients. Illyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, argues that the opposite effect could take place with these regulations. She argues that more back-alley procedures may take place because the regulations, which are said to be quite costly for smaller clinics, could shut them down all together and leave women with far less options.
This case is one that I will be following for the rest of the trial and I will be giving updates as the Commonwealth completes its case and the Defense presents theirs.