Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore told Common Pleas Court Gosnell, 72, was a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who "used and abused desperate women" and specialized in "high-volume, high-profit" illegal late-term abortions that "almost guarantee a live birth."
"If a baby is born alive, it's alive, and no one has the right to take some solution to kill it," Pescatore said in her opening remarks.
Gosnell owned a now-closed West Philadelphia abortion clinic which prosecutors called a fetus-strewn "house of horrors," and faces the possibility of a death sentence for allegedly delivering seven premature babies and killing them by cutting their spinal cords with scissors, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
He additionally faces a host of other charges, including a third-degree murder count for allegedly prescribing a fatal drug overdose to a woman following a 2009 abortion, The Philadelphia Inquirer said.
Defense attorney Jack McMahon told jurors prosecutors are attempting to impose "the standards of the Mayo Clinic on the standards of a West Philadelphia clinic" serving the urban poor.
McMahon added the evidence will show none of the infants Gosnell is accused of killing was born alive, and argued the prosecution is redefining medical complications as murder.
"It fits their needs, this elitist, racist prosecution, to make this a homicide," McMahon said.