72-year-old Kermit Gosnell, a Pennsylvania doctor, faces eight counts of murder for the deaths of seven babies, and a 41-year-old woman who died of an anesthetic overdose during a second-trimester abortion.
Gosnell performed abortions past the 24-week limit allowed by law, even allegedly as late as eight months into pregnancy. Authorities state he used scissors to sever the spinal cords of live newborns from their mothers.
Gosnell has pleaded not guilty and is about to stand trial. Jury selection was set to begin Monday. If he’s convicted, prosecutors would like to seek the death penalty. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said, “a doctor who cuts into the necks severing the spinal cords of living, breathing babies, who would survive with proper medical attention, is committing murder under the law.”
A grand jury investigation determined that health and licensing officials had received repeated reports about Gosnell’s practices for two decades, but had taken no action, Williams said.
The practice where Gosnell was employed was called the Women’s Medical Society and they served mostly low-income minority women for years.
When authorities searched Gosnell’s office, they found jars containing the severed feet of babies lined a shelf and the furniture and equipment was blood-stained, dusty and broken.