Gosnell attorney: Maybe a 16-week deadline for abortion and more regulation would be better

posted at 6:41 pm on May 22, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

I’m not going to comment too much on this except to say it seems… important and unexpected. Kermit Gosnell’s attorney, Jack McMahon, spends 8:30 minutes defending Gosnell, proving himself to be one of the few still willing to align themselves publicly with the former abortion doctor, convicted of three counts of first-degree murder of infants this month. Having spent so much time with a late-term abortion doctor and defending him even post-conviction, one assumes McMahon is among the most understanding and lenient toward the pro-choice position of just about anyone in the country.

And yet, in his last 30 seconds, McMahon asserts that he now believes a 16-week cut-off for legal abortions would be preferable to Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit. That would be more restrictive than the 20-week viability limit many pro-choice activists decry and much earlier than many states, which allow abortions much further into the second and third trimesters. He also places much of the blame for Gosnell’s clinic conditions on a lack of regulation, partly as a way of absolving Gosnell, calling for more frequent inspections and more regulation for abortion clinics and undercutting a key pro-choice talking point that it was regulation that caused the problem.

The whole interview is fascinating, thanks to Kelly’s sharp but respectful questioning and McMahon’s surprising pronouncements.


“I’ve come out of this case realizing that 24 weeks is a bad determiner. It should be more like 16, 17 weeks. That would be a far better thing because the babies would not be even arguably viable at that point in time and I think the law should be changed to that. I think pro-choice would have still the right to choose, but they’ve got to choose quicker, and I think that’s something that should come out of this. More regulation should come out of these locations. I’m not sitting here saying this was all done right.


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