Abortion provider won't testify, call witnesses

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm •  Published: April 24, 2013

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia abortion provider won't testify or call witnesses at his capital murder trial, leaving jurors to weigh five weeks of prosecution evidence.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is charged with killing four babies allegedly born alive at a clinic that authorities have described as filthy. He is also charged in the 2009 overdose death of a 41-year-old refugee who died just months after coming to the U.S.

Gosnell's defense rested Wednesday without calling a witness. The jury is expected to hear closing arguments on Monday.

Former employees have testified that Gosnell relied on untrained, unlicensed staff to sedate and monitor women as they waited for abortions. Three workers have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder charges, admitting they helped medicate the adult victim or "snipped" babies' necks after they were born alive to make sure they died.

They told jurors that Gosnell had taught them the technique, and said they trusted that it was legal. At least one, though, admits she grew so concerned about conditions at the clinic that she took pictures of the outdated equipment, messy rooms and stacked specimen jars containing the severed feet of aborted babies.

Gosnell told staff he sometimes kept the samples for DNA purposes in case the pregnancy led to assault charges. Prosecution experts said there were less invasive ways to preserve DNA.

"Once fetuses leave the mother, they are then due the respect that would be given any human being," Assistant District Attorney Ed Cameron argued Tuesday, in support of abuse of corpse charges filed over the severed feet.

Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart, though, agreed with a defense motion to drop those charges.

Continue reading this story on the...