PHILADELPHIA – The defense is going to get its turn when the Kermit Gosnell murder trial resumes this week.
A gag order put in place by trial Judge Jeffrey Minehart prevents the defense from saying who will be called as witnesses in Gosnell’s defense. Gosnell stands accused of various crimes related to his abortion practice, including eight counts of murder: one related to a patient who died under his care and seven for newborns allegedly killed after being born alive, though another worker at the clinic admitted to snipping the spines of over 100 babies born alive.
The prosecution finished its case last week, concluding with the detailed and graphic testimony of former clinic worker Kareema Cross. When asked by prosecutor Ed Cameron if she ever saw a baby born alive, Cross replied that it happened frequently.
“Oh, yes, a lot of times I saw the baby move,” Cross said. “They would be trying to get out of the fluid.
Cross said she also saw the babies’ chests rising and falling, even though Gosnell denied it.
“He said they weren’t breathing, but I saw that their chests were moving up and down,” Cross said. “This happened more than 10 times.”
Cross said she could even hear them cry.
“I heard them cry, but it was more like an umm, like a whine,” Cross said.
Cross also told what would happen when Gosnell would take the babies from the room.
“Dr. Gosnell would put the babies into a container. He would take them out of the room and clip their necks,” Cross said.
Under blistering cross examination by Gosnell’s defense lawyer Jack McMahon, Cross didn’t back down on whether the babies were still breathing.
The cross examination eventually led to the issue of what is commonly called a “partial birth abortion.” Cross said Gosnell did them.
“On occasion, Gosnell would do a partial birth abortion on a baby who was still breathing,” Cross said.
She referred to the procedure saying that Gosnell would use “suction,” meaning to remove the brain using a vacuum tube.
During his cross examination, McMahon also asked about the baby that was born and fell into the toilet.
“In the grand jury testimony you said you didn’t know if the baby was moving, or swimming around, in the toilet,” McMahon said.
“I said I wasn’t sure,” Cross said.
After McMahon sat down, Cross spoke up, “I saw the baby move in the toilet. It was like he was swimming around.”
McMahon wasn’t finished, questioning Cross on the baby born to patient Shaquanna Adams.
“You told the grand jury that you didn’t know what happened to the baby born to Ms. Abrams,” McMahon challenged.
Cross repeated her testimony that the baby born to Adams was over 12 inches long and was too large for the box Gosnell used to carry the baby from the room.
Cross added, “The baby was breathing and didn’t die right away. Dr. Gosnell took the baby from the room and snipped its neck.”
Cross worked at Gosnell’s Women’s Health Center from 2005 through December 2009.
The Washington Post reported last week that Philadelphia’s chief medical examiner Sam Gulino discussed an “unprecedented situation.” Gulino reported receiving “scores” of baby parts to examine after the 2010 raid of Gosnell’s clinic.
Gulino told of receiving two formaldehyde-filled jars, one with the left foot, the other with the right foot, of a 22-week baby.
“It was really an unprecedented situation. It was the first time I had to deal with fetal remains that had been frozen,” Gulino said, according to the Washington Post report.
“All I could do was allow the remains to thaw so that I could examine them,” Gulino said, which was followed by a gasp from the people in the gallery.
WND reported last week that the discoveries at Gosnell’s clinic were startling. A partial list reported by WND includes:
- Rusty and filthy abortion equipment has been brought into the courtroom to document unsanitary conditions.
- Medical records appear to have blood and other stains on them.
- Gosnell’s staff acted as though they were doctors, even though some had little or no medical training.
- Medications, including anesthetics, found in the office had expired years earlier.
- A defense attorney blamed the woman, Bhutan immigrant Karnamaya Mongar, for her own death, since she left several blanks on her medical form. Prosecutors said she spoke little English and likely was unaware she needed to provide information.
- Patients appeared to repeatedly get overdoses of drugs for their abortion procedures, including Mongar.
- Photographs of the bodies of babies, revealed gaping wounds in the back of their necks. According to testimony, Gosnell or staff members routinely snipped their spinal cords to make sure they were dead. Operation Rescue said: “The babies were all intact and had the appearance of being partially mummified or dried. The brownish-black skin had shrunk as it dried, revealing the upper spinal column that authorities say was pierced with scissors in order to snip the spinal cords of newborn babies born alive during abortions by Gosnell.”
- Photographs were introduced of babies’ feet, or even whole legs, Gosnell had preserved in jars.