Lawyer: Aborted babies in Philadelphia weren't born alive
PHILADELPHIA — A lawyer for a Philadelphia abortion provider charged with killing seven babies allegedly born alive tried on Wednesday to show that at least the first baby had died in the womb and that the mother was not as far along in the pregnancy as the prosecution claims.
A young woman who was 17 when she aborted “Baby A” spent several hours testifying in Dr. Kermit Gosnell's murder trial.
The prosecution says she was nearly 30 weeks in her pregnancy. And one of Gosnell's medical assistants, who had testified that late-term babies were routinely cut with scissors after delivery, said she was disturbed by the baby's size and pinkish color.
But defense lawyer Jack McMahon suggested that no babies survive after the drug digoxen is administered into the womb. The drug was used on the teen mother, according to her medical records, which also show her aunt paid $2,750 in cash for the abortion.
Prosecutors believe she was well beyond the 24-week limit in Pennsylvania. Gosnell started a three-day outpatient procedure on the teen in 2008 in Delaware, where the limit is 20 weeks. The baby was delivered at his clinic in West Philadelphia.
The medical assistant, Andrienne Moton, has said she was so concerned by the baby's appearance that she took a cellphone picture of it. Moton testified this week that late-term babies were routinely cut with scissors after delivery, and she acknowledged that she performed the technique at least 10 times.
McMahon asked the prosecution's medical expert if gestational age isn't an imprecise estimate, with a second-trimester range of about two weeks on either side.
“This isn't an exact science where two plus two equals four?” he asked Dr. Daniel Conway, a Philadelphia neonatologist with St. Christopher's Hospital.
Conway agreed that gestational age is an estimate, but said the estimate is based on a scientific calculation of a long list of variables that includes head size, femur length, skin development and the mother's last menstrual period.
Gosnell, 72, is charged with first-degree murder in the seven infant deaths, and third-degree murder in a patient's overdose death. He faces the death penalty if convicted in the infant deaths.
The jury of seven men and five women, along with five alternates, endured graphic testimony and photographs throughout the day.