Lawyers give closing arguments in abortion doctor's trial

April 30, 2013 at 12:45 AM
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PHILADELPHIA, April 30 (UPI) -- Lawyers gave their final arguments Monday in the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia doctor charged with the murder of babies born live after abortions.

Deliberations were expected to begin Tuesday after instructions to the jury from Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Mineheart, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Gosnell is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, all involving newborn infants, and with the third-degree murder of a woman who died after allegedly being overdosed with the painkiller Demerol. He is also charged with performing 24 abortions in the third trimester, illegal in Pennsylvania, and 227 counts of ignoring the 24-hour waiting period.

The 72-year-old doctor could receive a death sentence if he is found guilty of first-degree murder.

A former associate, Eileen O'Neill, 56, a doctor who worked at Gosnell's Women's Medical Center but did not have a current medical license, is charged with theft by deception and participating in a corrupt organization.

Gosnell's lawyer, Jack McMahon, who did not put on any defense witnesses, argued the prosecution case was based on "hype." He also said the news media made a "rush to judgment" when the news broke of conditions at the clinic.

"You have a choice, a real choice ... to roll with the tsunami of simplistic press and rhetoric, or the choice to stand against the power of that tsunami," McMahon told jurors.

In his cross-examinations during the trial, McMahon suggested there was no evidence any of Gosnell's alleged victims were born alive and said any movements observed might have been involuntary reflexes.

Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron said he recently had to put his family's dog to sleep.

"My dog was treated better than he treated these babies and women, and that's because he didn't care," Cameron said.

In his weekly letter to Philadelphia-area Catholics, Archbishop Kenneth Chaput said the Inquirer has done a good job of covering the trial but the national media have ignored it.

"Forty years after the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, resistance to permissive abortion remains high. And the vivid details of the Gosnell clinic tragedy have the kind of salacious appeal that few national media would normally avoid -- if the issue were anything else," Chaput said. "Abortion is too often, and in too many newsrooms, exactly the kind of topic that brings on a sudden case of snow blindness."

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