Abortion Doctor’s Grisly Murder Trial Starts Today

CBS Philly reports: “Opening statements and the start of testimony are scheduled for Monday in one of the most gruesome and disturbing criminal cases in Philadelphia history. Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is charged with seven counts of first degree murder, and one count of third degree murder. The prosecution alleges he induced labor and delivered live babies, then killed them by cutting or snipping their spinal cords with scissors. Witnesses who worked at the clinic are expected to testify it was a common practice.”

Huffington Post adds:

A devastating 2011 grand jury report describes nearly unfathomable conditions: fetal body parts stored in glass jars and staff refrigerators; filthy, blood-stained operating areas; women and teens maimed after Gosnell perforated a uterus or colon.

“Anybody walking into that clinic should have known immediately that it should have been shut down,” said Bernard Smalley, a lawyer for the family of Karnamaya Mongar, the 41-year-old refugee who died after being given too much anesthesia and pain medication during a 2009 abortion.

Philadelphia prosecutors accuse state and local authorities of turning a blind eye to laws requiring regular inspections. And they say the occasional complaints that trickled in, one after an earlier patient death, went nowhere.

Philly.com’s Crime & Punishment blog reports:

So two crucial questions for each prospective juror involved their feelings about capital punishment and abortion. Capital punishment was the easy one and jurors readily told Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart whether they could impose the death penalty if warranted.

On the abortion question, Minehart asked the prospect if they were pro-life, pro-choice or neither. Many, if not most, replied “neither.”

Even Minehart and the lawyers seemed surprised at how often neither was the response. Under further questioning, almost all of the neithers turned out to be pro-choice: they said it was a woman’s right to choose abortion. Some tried to explain how their view of the right to choose involved the circumstances of each woman and her pregnancy. Others, perhaps apprehensive because of the extreme polarization of last year’s electoral campaigns, seemed to seize on neither as a convenient euphemism.