Give CBS News credit for putting this on the front page of their website, prompted perhaps in part by their local affiliate’s coverage of the trial. Thanks to the surprise decision by the defense to rest their case without presenting any witnesses, the jury heard closing arguments in the murder trial of Kermit Gosnell and his co-defendants, and will begin deliberations today:
A Philadelphia jury is expected to start weighing murder charges in the trial of a veteran abortion provider charged with killing four viable babies after they were born alive.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, performed thousands of abortions over a 30-year career. He maintains that he helped desperate women and teens who had no other access to medical care.
According to prosecutors, Gosnell routinely cut live babies in the back of the neck to sever their spines because he did not know how to do a proper abortion in utero.
Defense counsel Jack McMahon tried to minimize the testimony heard during the trial:
Defense lawyer Jack McMahon argued that prosecutors who blasted the clinic as a filthy, flea-infested “house of horrors” in a 2011 grand jury report sensationalized the case to make headlines.
“This isn’t a perfect place by any stretch of the imagination — but it isn’t what they say it is,” McMahon argued.
Local protesters want more than just Gosnell and his staff held accountable:
Members of the local pro-life community were outside Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center today to call attention to the trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell going on inside.
Some were accusing the Pennsylvania Department of Health of complicity in the alleged crimes. Others were calling for a ban on all abortions.
Surrounded by silent protesters holding signs, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, DC, said he came to Philadelphia “to pray for justice, the victims, and to stand for justice and human rights and clinic regulations and inspections.”
Mahoney contends that the alleged conditions at Gosnell’s clinic were due to a lack of governmental oversight of abortion facilities.
Most of those who followed the trial probably expect a quick jury decision, but don’t be too sure. There are a lot of charges to consider, and multiple defendants make it more time-consuming for jurors to assign specific and individual blame. The jury will be a representative sample of the Philadelphia community, which may have more sympathy for abortion operations than, say, the Hot Air reader community. The stark and shocking testimony will be difficult to ignore, but perhaps equally difficult to process.
The issues raised in the Gosnell prosecution won’t go away after the jury verdict, either. An attorney representing Americans United for Life made that clear yesterday (via JD Mullane, who has done a terrific job in reporting the story):
But attorney Jeanneane Maxon of Americans United for Life spoke to reporters outside the court Monday and said her organization plans to use the Gosnell case to push for additional safety legislation for abortion, including Born Alive Infant Protection laws to mandate lifesaving treatment for babies who survive attempted abortions, and stricter standards for abortion facilities.
“This is today’s back-alley abortion situation,” Maxon said of Gosnell. “This is not an aberration. Situations like Kermit Gosnell occur across the country.” She said that in the last three years, fifteen states have had abortionists under investigation for similar crimes.
Maxon said she doubted Gosnell’s lawyer’s claim that only dead babies had their necks “snipped.” “Why are they snipping the backs of the necks of these babies if they were not born alive?” she asked reporters.
She alleged that at one point during the trial, McMahon said “We don’t have the answers [as to why their necks were snipped]. Maybe they were feeling pain.”
Said Maxon, “Why would a dead baby feel pain?”
Jurors might want to consider that question very carefully — and so should everyone else.