Doctor accused of killing woman, 7 newborns
Article Link: Calgary Sun
In a case that could light a torch under the abortion debate in the United States, a Philadelphia doctor has been charged with eight counts of murder, following the deaths of a female patient and seven newborns.
"A house of horrors," is how prosecutors labelled it.
District Attorney Seth Williams said the weapon used on the children was a pair of scissors. But the number of babies actually killed could number in the hundreds, he said.
Investigators found jars containing body parts, including severed feet.
"My comprehension of the English language can't adequately describe the barbaric nature of Dr. (Kermit) Gosnell," Williams told reporters during a news conference Wednesday.
Next week, the annual March for Life -- an anti-abortion protest -- will take place in Washington, D.C., drawing activists from across the U.S.
But the abortion debate has not been as heated as in past decades.
In fact, a church that was organizing a trip from Philadelphia to Washington had to cancel their bus because not enough people signed up.
But the case against 69-year-old Gosnell -- who the D.A. says charged as much as $3,000 for an illegal post-24-week abortion -- could help push the debate back into mainstream discussions.
The charges revolve around procedures performed inside a red brick, nondescript corner clinic in West Philadelphia, called the Women's Medical Society.
It was there that, over several decades, that he allegedly made millions catering to the poor and to immigrants.
Drug enforcement officers raided the building last spring after a woman died of cardiac arrest, allegedly after having been given narcotics.
"Gosnell staffed his decrepit and unsanitary clinic entirely with unlicensed personnel," Williams said in a written summation of the case.
"In addition, he regularly performed abortions beyond the 24-week limit prescribed by law. As a result, viable babies were born."
Their lives, Williams said, were ended when their spinal cords were severed.
A grand jury on Wednesday recommended criminal charges against the doctor and several staff members. They face a range of accusations, from murder, to drug violations to infanticide.
Ken Gavin, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, told QMI Agency that the sordid details of the case are likely to inspire strong local reaction, but couldn't say if it will ripple across the country.
An estimated 87 buses will travel from Philadelphia to Washington, down from 100 buses in 2009.
An official statement from the Archdiocese concluded: "The repeated actions of Dr. Gosnell and his staff were abhorrent and intrinsically evil in their disregard for the lives of the unborn and the welfare of the women who sought their services."
Williams says he may seek the death penalty for Gosnell.