gosnellDr. Kermit Gosnell, if you can even call him a doctor, was originally facing eight murder charges for essentially conducting illegal abortions in his Pennsylvania practice. But now Judge Jeffrey Minehart, who is overseeing the grisly case in which women were left to die, has tossed out three charges against Gosnell. And all because the prosecutors reportedly didn’t provide enough evidence that these were “live” babies he was murdering. This already fraught term in the pro-choice vs. pro-life debates just got even messier.

Boston Globe reports that Gosnell is facing the death penalty if found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of four infants. He is also being held accountable (third-degree murder) for the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Monga, a woman who died under Gosnell’s “care.”

The decision by Judge Minehart to toss out these charges is described as a “split decision” and “rarely granted.” The crux of the decision seems centered on whether these aborted babies were born “viable”:

Prosecutors have argued that the babies were viable and Gosnell and his staff cut them in the back of the neck to kill them….The defense questioned testimony from staffers who said they had seen babies move, cry or breathe.

[Jack McMahon]

argued that each testified to seeing only a single movement or breath.

‘‘There is not one piece — not one — of objective, scientific evidence that anyone was born alive,’’ McMahon said. ‘‘These are not the movements of a live child.’’

Clearly, “live child” can (and has been) debated all up and down the nine-month pregnancy timeline — which many of my pro-life sisters across the aisle have advocated for at conception. Even some of our nation’s OBGYNS differ on when they think “baby” terminology can be used to described what is happening in your uterus. As of 2011, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) defined pregnancy as “when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, roughly a week after fertilization.” Some OBGYNS in the (albeit flawed) aforementioned study even admit that they aren’t sure themselves.

But due to Gosnell giving us an updated look at what illegal abortion looks like, we’re revisiting such statements once again.

(photo: Bork / Shutterstock)