Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lawyers in Abortion Trial Argue If Fetuses Were Killed

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lawyers in Abortion Trial Argue If Fetuses Were Killed

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA -- He is known only as "Baby Boy B," a fetus estimated to be 28 weeks old, found frozen in an altered one-gallon plastic water jug in Kermit Gosnell's West Philadelphia abortion clinic.

His passing went unnoticed and undocumented, but on Monday, prosecution and defense lawyers struggled to get Philadelphia's chief medical examiner to say whether he was stillborn or killed by Dr. Gosnell after being born alive during an abortion.

"Based on the totality of the evidence ... you cannot testify to anyone that this fetus was born alive?" Dr. Gosnell's lawyer, Jack McMahon, asked medical examiner Sam Gulino.

"No, I cannot," replied Dr. Gulino.

Then assistant district attorney Edward Cameron flipped around Mr. McMahon's question: "Can you think of any reason why the neck was severed if that baby was not born alive?"

Again, Dr. Gulino agreed. Mr. McMahon tried to salvage his first answer, only to be interrupted by Mr. Cameron.

Mr. McMahon exploded in anger, but was topped by Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart.

"Mr. McMahon, behave yourself!" Judge Minehart yelled. "Act like a lawyer."

Mr. McMahon, who once worked with Judge Minehart and Mr. Cameron in the district attorney's office, sat down, seething, and said nothing more.

The heated exchange capped the first day of the trial's fifth week.

Dr. Gosnell, 72, is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, seven infants allegedly born alive during abortions and killed by cutting their spinal cords with scissors.

Mr. McMahon has argued that none of the infants was killed, that they were in death throes from the abortion drug, Digoxin, that Dr. Gosnell administered earlier.

Dr. Gosnell is also charged with one count of third-degree murder in the Nov. 19, 2009, death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, a Virginia woman allegedly killed by an overdose of Demerol by Dr. Gosnell's untrained staff.

Also on trial is Eileen O'Neill, 56, of Phoenixville, an unlicensed medical school graduate who worked in the family practice area of Dr. Gosnell's Women's Medical Society. Ms. O'Neill is charged with participating in what prosecutors call the operation of a corrupt organization. …

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