Judge Throws Out 3 Charges Against Gosnell, Inviting Further Speculation As To What Constitutes A ‘Live Child’

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)

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  • Annie

    When this terrible avalanche of shit (shitvalanche, if you will) came to light, my first thought was how FUCKED RIGHT THE FUCK UP this was. The live births and spine snipping, cat feces, untrained staff administering anesthesia… pretty much everything that could be wrong with an abortion clinic was wrong. Especially the fetus feet in jars, how is that not a bizarre sex fetish thing? I mean, I don’t even!

    My second thought, equally knee-jerk, was ‘Oh Christ, this is going to make the anti-choicers go crazy’.

    I really, really, really can’t stress enough how NOT OKAY the pro-choice crowd is with this. What you’re looking at with this case is what we want to *prevent* by keeping abortion legal and easily accessible. This is the infamous back-alley abortion and what will happen if things continue the way they are.

    • Koa Beck


    • Blueathena623

      Yes, yes, yes, I agree with everything, especially the fact that pro-choice ppl do not support this.

  • Duh

    A lot of people are using this to fuel the pro”life” movement. However, I think this only helps the prochoice people. This is what happens when women aren’t given access to proper and timely care. Dr. Gosnell was a last resort. Women who were told it was too late, or who were forced to endure waiting periods, or who were too late because of waiting periods, went to Gosnell because they had no where left to go. Dr. Gosnell is disgusting and no one approves of his actions. If we eliminate waiting periods and stop letting doctors speak down to women and try ti dissuade them from getting abortions, then these clinics wouldn’t exist. This is an example of the abortion scene before Roe v. Wade. Making abortion illegal won’t make women stop having them. Roe v. Wade wasn’t the beginning of women getting abortions, it was the end of women dying from them (Dr. Gosnell’s patient being the exception).

    I’m 17 and I can see this. I wish the adults and elders who think differently could, too.

    • Annie

      Amen, little lady!

  • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

    I could NEVER have an abortion. Might I procure one for my daughter if she were raped and/or became pregnant at an early age? Maybe. Just thought I’d start off with that.

    That being said – I REALLY don’t understand how people think that outlawing it is going to do ANY GOOD WHATSOEVER!!!!! As the saying goes, “When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults.” You outlaw abortion, and these freakshows of abortion clinics are gonna start popping up everyfreakinwhere. Pro-lifers, hear this: If you outlaw abortion completely, WHAT are you gonna do when your daughter gets into a van in the alley behind The Sizzler and gets a coat hanger shoved into her hoohah and dies of sepsis? Sometimes you have to do what’s best for society as a whole, despite your personal beliefs. That’s all I’m saying.

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