Philadelphia, Pennsylvania abortion doctor, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, is now facing the possibility of a death penalty after authorities say that the 72 year-old killed babies that were born alive in his clinic.
In a ruling this past Tuesday, Judge Jeffrey Minehart threw out three of the eight murder charges originally filed against Gosnell. Four of the remaining murder charges are for first-degree murder, which carries the death penalty in Pennsylvania.
Though Judge Minehart did not elaborate on why the three charges were dismissed, it is most likely that there was not sufficient evidence provided by the prosecutor’s office to support the argument that those fetuses were viable at the time Gosnell allegedly killed them.
According to authorities and prosecutors, Gosnell aborted viable fetuses born inside his clinic by cutting the backs of their necks with scissors. Some of Gosnell’s former staff testified that they had seen the fetuses move, cry or breathe before Gosnell killed them. The prosecution has also introduced graphic photographs of the aborted fetuses.
Gosnell is also charged with third-degree murder after a woman died in his care. A 2011 grand jury indictment alleged that dozens of women who went to Gosnell’s clinic left with horrific personal injuries, including torn wombs or bowels, sexually transmitted diseases due to unsanitary conditions and use of non-sterilized equipment, and some with fetal remains still inside them.
Gosnell is also facing charges for violating Pennsylvania’s abortion laws by conducting abortions after the 24-week pregnancy mark. He further faces charges for abuse of a corpse after authorities say he removed the feet of aborted fetuses and stored them in specimen jars.
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