Lawyer: Aborted babies in Philadelphia weren't born alive
By The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:18 p.m.
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Dog wardens will canvass state for license compliance
- Tobacco companies expected to contest Pennsylvania’s settlement on payments
- Louis Freeh gets expedited appeal to Graham Spanier suit
- West Chester University’s town-gown effort to tackle drinking lauded at LCB conference
- Many emergency room patients have dental problems
- Lawrence County cops dress as Amish to target flasher