A 69-year-old Philadelphia doctor who performed abortions was charged by prosecutors on Wednesday with the murder of seven newborns who were killed with scissors and of a female patient who died of an overdose of anesthetics.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a family practitioner who had not been certified in obstetrics or gynecology, oversaw a medical practice that regularly performed late-term abortions.
On at least seven occasions, babies born alive during the sixth, seventh and eighth month of pregnancies were killed by having their spinal cords severed with a pair of scissors, District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement.
A grand jury investigation found that although complaints about Dr. Gosnell and his Women Medical Society clinic in west Philadelphia had been made to a variety of government health and medical licensing officials for more than 20 years — including about the deaths of women during routine abortions — the doctor was never officially sanctioned.
Most of Dr. Gosnell’s patients were low-income immigrant and minority women who were administered anesthesia on a sliding pay scale, the district attorney’s office said.
The medical office also reused unsanitary instruments and allowed unlicensed employees, including a high school student, to perform abortions and to give anesthesia to patients.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that a search of Dr. Gosnell’s clinic had turned up bags and bottles that contained aborted fetuses.
“Jars containing the severed feet of babies lined a shelf,” the statement said.
The story is a horrifying insight into the type of person who performs “late-term abortions” for a living. Other sources have mentioned that Gosnell’s wife and six other people were also arrested in relation to this.
Update: The BBC is reporting that Gosnell’s clinic murdered “hundreds” of newborns in this manner.