Michael Carl is a veteran journalist with overseas military experience and experience as a political consultant. He also has two Master's Degrees, is a bi-vocational pastor and lives with his family in the Northeast United States.More ↓Less ↑
PHILADELPHIA – The jury in the Kermit Gosnell abortion murder trial ended the first day of deliberations with no verdict.
The case was handed to the jury by Judge Jeffrey Minehart who charged the panel on the points of law members are to consider during their deliberations.
Minehart told jurors to focus on how the testimony relates to Pennsylvania’s 24-week abortion statute, the 24-hour waiting period statute and the personhood statutes.
They are also to disregard any information that was not entered into evidence during the trial.
Lawyers and legal analysts present estimate that the deliberations could be lengthy, noting that the seven-woman, five-man jury has to work through a 30-page verdict sheet.
That sheet includes four first-degree murder charges, one third-degree murder charge, and 24 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s 24-week abortion law.
Even as the panel begins the task of determining Gosnell’s guilt, more details of Gosnell’s lengthy career as an abortion practitioner keep coming to light.
Journalist Kirsten Powers wrote for USA Today that 20-year-old Desiree Hawkins was prepared to testify against Gosnell as a defense rebuttal witness.
Hawkins was willing to come forward when she discovered that one of the pairs of feet Gosnell kept as a souvenir was the pair of feet from her 23-week old baby.
Powers writes that Gosnell laughed at Hawkins during the abortion.
“She also would have avoided the trauma visited upon her by Gosnell. Hawkins described the licensed medical professional as laughing at her during the procedure as she cried and begged him to stop because of the pain,” Powers wrote.
Hawkins told Powers that Gosnell said, “Stop being a baby,” to her when she cried because of the pain during the abortion.
It’s also been reported that Pennsylvania’s Planned Parenthood CEO may have been misleading about Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic.
In February 2010 Dayle Steinberg told WHYY News, “We do anticipate that women who might have scheduled appointments for abortion procedures at the Women’s Medical Society will be calling Planned Parenthood.”
“Steinberg says she knows that Gosnell has provided abortions in Philadelphia for many years, but says she hadn’t heard of any problems at clinic until the allegations surfaced in recent days,” WHYY said, quoting Steinberg.
Later, Phllly.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer and WHYY website reported Steinberg saying, “The Gosnell trial has shifted the focus off the high-quality services we provide. These are criminal, horrendous . . . acts and should be appropriately punished.”
Steinberg admitted that while Gosnell’s clinic was in operation, women would come to Planned Parenthood and describe the dirty conditions at Gosnell’s clinic.
“We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health,” Steinberg said.
In his closing remarks, Prosecutor Ed Cameron reminded the jury that even former unlicensed clinic doctor Steve Massof told of Gosnell’s increasingly lax attitude.
Cameron repeated Massof’s testimony, “Over time, the place was going down hill. Dr. Gosnell would talk on his Blue Tooth and eat cereal while doing the procedures.”
Cameron added that custodian Jim Johnson testified about the procedures.
Johnson said. “The toilets were always stopping up from baby parts,” according to Cameron.
Cameron also covered clinic patient Lisa Dungee’s testimony regarding Gosnell staff members’ violations of the 24-hour waiting period law.
“Dungee never got a 24-hour waiting period. She said she signed the form and Dr. O’Neill (Gosnell’s co-defendant) gave her a pill the first visit,” Cameron said.
“The files were wrong. She said that no one ever called her for a follow-up. After she left the clinic, Lisa Dungee never got a follow-up call or care,” Cameron said.
The prosecution brought in medical experts to testify regarding clinic procedures.
OB/GYN specialist Dr. Karen Fessillin testified about Gosnell’s misuse of ultrasounds and concerning how frequently ultrasound equipment malfunctioned.
Quoting from Fessillin’s testimony, Cameron said, “The ultrasound equipment didn’t work.”
“You never do the procedure if there is a heartbeat. They [did] the procedures when there were heartbeats. Many of the women were in labor because Gosnell would induce labor,” Cameron said, quoting from Fessillin’s testimony.