- (Photo: Screengrab, NBC-10 Philadelphia, Pa.)
Editor's Note: Warning, graphic material in the following article.
Abortionist Kermit Gosnell, 72, could receive the death penalty or life in prison if jurors find him guilty of any one of the four counts of first-degree murder for killing four babies born alive in his West Philadelphia abortion clinic. He also faces charges for one count of third-degree murder in the death of patient Karnamaya Mongar who died at his clinic in 2009.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday.
In his closing arguments, defense attorney Jack McMahon told members of the jury not to allow the graphic photos showing babies' severed spinal cords to impact their final decision in the Gosnell murder trial, because as he said, abortion is not on trial.
"When you see pictures of a dead fetus with a hole, it affects you. You have to transcend that. ... You're here to decide whether he's a cold-blooded, first-degree murderer," said McMahon, who accused prosecutors and the media of being prejudiced against Gosnell, according to NBC-10 in Philadelphia, Pa.
Although McMahon accused the media of tainting the public's perception of Gosnell, few in the media have covered the trial. During the first three weeks of Gosnell's murder trial, pro-life group Operation Rescue, and local Philadelphia and Delaware reporters were the only media in the courtroom. Few in the national media have regularly covered the trial, with the exception of Fox News. Two weeks ago, 72 members of Congress sent letters to news executives at ABC, NBC and CBS asking them to explain their failure to cover the murder trial in their evening news coverage.
The Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group, has revealed that during the 42 days of the Gosnell murder trial "…ABC's Good Morning America has aired 41 stories – about one per day – on other sensational criminal cases, including the Amanda Knox re-trial and the Jodi Arias case, totaling 109 minutes of coverage." But no airtime was given to cover the Gosnell trial.
McMahon also said he stands by his opening remarks from seven weeks ago, in which he accused the prosecution of "lynching" Gosnell because they're racists and elitists. He also accused them of wanting to "put Mayo Clinic standards in West Philadelphia."
"This is nothing more than elitist, racist, prosecution of a black man," McMahon had said about the prosecution after they revealed in court that Gosnell would put black women in dirty rooms where a 15-year-old would administer treatment, but would provide a one-on-one consultation for white women, who were placed in cleaner rooms, because he believed they would be more likely to report him.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Gosnell and have alleged that he killed babies who were born alive, and made millions of dollars off of his "House of Horrors" abortion clinic in West Philadelphia, where he performed illegal late-term abortions.
The jury will deliberate over the five murder counts, along with lesser charges that include racketeering, performing illegal abortions after 24 weeks, failing to observe the 24-hour waiting period and endangering a child's welfare for employing a 15-year-old who was allowed to administer anesthesia and help with abortion procedures in the clinic.
Last Wednesday, Judge Jeffrey Minehart clarified his decision to throw out three of the first-degree murder charges, and noted that he didn't intend to drop first-degree murder charges against Gosnell in the case of "Baby C," whom witnesses' testified was breathing for 20 minutes before its neck was "snipped" by employee Lynda Williams in front of Gosnell. Instead, first-degree murder charges were dropped in the case of "Baby F," for which there was "less compelling evidence," according to Cheryl Sullenger, a senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue, who's covering the Gosnell trial.
Gosnell's Women's Medical Society abortion clinic was allowed to operate in unsafe and unsanitary conditions because the Pennsylvania Department of State and the Pennsylvania Department of Health failed to inspect the abortion clinic for more than 17 years, "even after the Department of Health had been informed of Mrs. Mongar's death months earlier," according to the grand jury report. In the report, District Attorney R. Seth Williams reveals that Gosnell profited $10,000 to $15,000 a day at his late-term abortion clinic – not including the $200,000 he made from writing 2,300 illegal prescriptions for OxyContin and other addictive drugs.