A Philadelphia abortion doctor was found guilty on Monday of murdering three babies during late-term abortions at his clinic.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is also guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 abortion death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old legal immigrant who died from a drug overdose after going to him for an abortion.
The death penalty is now an option in the sentencing phase for the three first-degree murder convictions.
Jurors found Gosnell had committed first-degree murder when he allowed the babies to be born alive, then "snipped" their spinal cords with scissors - a practice his employees said they saw him perform "hundreds" of times.
The jury heard five weeks of testimony in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia and deliberated for 10 days.
Former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal late-term abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants "snipped" the newborns’ spines, as he referred to it.
Authorities said the clinic was a foul-smelling "house of horrors" with bags and bottles of stored fetuses, including jars of severed feet, along with bloodstained furniture, dirty medical instruments, and cats roaming the premises.
The jury earlier in the day said it was deadlocked on two counts, without specifying which ones. But Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Minehart ordered the seven-woman, five-man panel back to resume deliberations.
Gosnell's defense had claimed there was no evidence the babies were alive after they were aborted. He also contended that the 2009 death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who had been given repeated doses of Demerol and other powerful drugs to sedate her and induce labour, was caused by unforeseen complications.
Eight other defendants have pleaded guilty to a variety of charges and are awaiting sentencing. They include Gosnell's wife, Pearl, a cosmetologist who helped perform abortions.
Gosnell did not testify, and his lawyer called no witnesses in his defence. But McMahon argued that the doctor provided desperate young woman with "a solution to their problems."
The case focused a spotlight on the controversial practice of late-term abortions and drew national attention after anti-abortion advocates complained that it was being ignored because of media bias in favor of abortion rights.
According to LifeSiteNews, pro-life leaders are "thrilled, ecstatic and relieved" by guilty verdict. At the same time many of them pointed out that Gosnell is not alone, and that abortionists across the country are continuing to brutally kill children, sometimes outside the womb, but more often inside, and with the full protection of the law.
Rep. Chris Smith, one of the staunchest pro-life legislators in Congress, welcomed the verdict, but urged Americans to consider the question: “How different really is Gosnell’s House of Horrors from abortions that occur in clinics throughout the country?
"Not much, not much at all."
"Some abortionists may have cleaner sheets than Gosnell, and better sterilized equipment and better trained accomplices, but what they do—what Gosnell did—kill babies and hurt women—is the same," he said.
Gosnell performed thousands of abortions over a 30-year career. Authorities said the medical practice alone netted him about $1.8 million a year, much of it in cash. Authorities found $250,000 hidden in a bedroom when they searched his house.