Gosnell's Defense: Hey, Abortion is "Bloody and Ugly," But It's Not Illegal

Guy Benson
Posted: Apr 29, 2013 5:07 PM

Abortionist and accused serial killer Kermit Gosnell's attorney wrapped up his defense presentation in a Philadelphia courtroom earlier this afternoon.  The Examiner's Tim Carney witnessed the closing argument:

“Every one of those babies died in utero.” That is the pillar on which abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s defense rests. Defense attorney John J. McMahon’s closing argument Monday boiled down to this: Gosnell’s supposed crimes were really just late-term abortions. The question in Gosnell’s case, McMahon said, is not “whether he was an abortion doctor,” or “is abortion bloody and ugly?” The question is whether Gosnell killed babies after they were born or while they were still in utero. One of Gosnell’s alleged victims was named Baby Boy A by the grand jury. He was so big that Gosnell allegedly joked “he could have walked me to the bus station.” “They have no case” regarding “Baby A because it was killed in utero,” McMahon said Monday. Gosnell, through the abdomen, injected a chemical called digoxin into the baby “to prevent a live birth. The was the goal of Dr. Gosnell with [the mother’s] consent: to kill the baby in utero.”  

Gosnell's attorney also told jurors that other measures -- such as snapping infants' necks and snipping their spinal cords -- were precautionary measures carried out on already-dead babies:

One baby was delivered into a toilet at Gosnell’s clinic. A clinic worker testified “I took the fetus out of the toilet. I snapped the neck. …” McMahon argued Monday that “not one line” of testimony in that case “indicates the baby was alive at any time.” Yes, Gosnell snipped many baby’s necks after delivery — but he had killed the baby in utero hours before with a shot of digoxin, the defense argued.  

Of course, other lurid testimony from the trial contravenes the defense's core assertion.  Nurses at the clinic have testified -- among other things -- that one baby screamed during a live-birth "abortion," and that another appeared to be "swimming" in the toilet into which it was delivered, as if he or she it was "trying to get out."  These are horrifying, but important, details.  Dead fetuses don't make moaning noises.  They don't try to escape.  They don't fight to breathe while being tossed into shoeboxes and discarded.  Plus, the "they were already dead" excuse doesn't explain Gosnell's macabre trophies (he stored the severed feet of his victims in jars around the office), nor does it cover the demise Gosnell's adult victim.  Defense attorney John McMahon clearly recognizes these gaps in his case, which is why he closed with a rant against the "racist" prosecution.  Cries of racism are especially rich, considering that Gosnell enforced a policy of de facto racial segregation at his unsanitary death mill, where white women were treated far better than women of color.  

But the very fact that prosecutors are forced to meet the burden of proving these infants were delivered alive simply draws attention to the baffling and unjust standards constructed by our abortion laws.  If a fully-formed unborn infant is poisoned in utero, chopped to pieces, then vacuumed out of the womb, that's legally permissible. It's a textbook late-term abortion.  But if that very same infant happens to be delivered alive before the lethal blow is struck, it's murder.  Thus, a murder trial hinges almost exclusively on the determination of the scene of the crime.  If the killings of the exact same victims took place in location X,  they're santitized into a "medical procedure."  But if they took place in location Y, they're felonies.  According to a witness, Gosnell once offered the following assessment of one of his victims: “This baby is big enough to walk around with me or walk me to the bus stop!”  But that very baby was not "big enough" to be sheltered from legalized pre-birth killing in many states.  How is this ethically, medically, or morally defensible?