Kermit Gosnell — the Philadelphia-area abortion doctor who preyed on vulnerable women in his illegal, unsanitary clinic — has been found guilty of murder. On Monday afternoon, a jury convicted him on three counts of first-degree murder for delivering live babies and severing their spinal cords. Gosnell also received one count of involuntary manslaughter for the death of a 41-year-old woman who overdosed on the drugs she received while undergoing an abortion.
There were over 250 counts against Gosnell. Many of them were related to Pennsylvania state law, which criminalizes abortion procedures after 24 weeks of pregnancy. The incredibly late-term, barbaric procedures that Gosnell performed were in clear violation of that law — as well as the laws that govern other types of legal late-term abortion clinics in states where later procedures are permitted.
Over the past several months, Gosnell’s high-profile murder trial has become somewhat of a rallying cry for the anti-choice community, which has attempted to twist the facts to make it appear as if all abortion providers are guilty of Gosnell’s crimes. In reality, however, Gosnell’s illegal clinic is an example of the desperate measures that women will resort to when they don’t have access to safe, affordable abortion care.
In a statement in response to the Gosnell verdict, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue noted that “justice was served,” and expressed hope that “the lessons of the trial do not fade with the verdict.”
“Anti-choice politicians, and their unrelenting efforts to deny women access to safe and legal abortion care, will only drive more women to back-alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell,” Hogue explained, noting that Pennsylvania has received an ‘F’ ranking from the organization because of the state’s multiple medically unnecessary barriers to legal abortion care. “It is my sincere hope that the women in Gosnell’s clinic did not suffer in vain and that Pennsylvania, and every state, will step up and join us in making the protection of women’s ability to get, safe, high quality, and legal abortion care a top priority.”
Ironically, abortion opponents — who falsely claim that the mainstream media has ignored Gosnell’s salacious story because of a perceived pro-choice bias — have taken exactly the opposite approach. Anti-choice Republicans have rushed to leverage the emotional outrage surrounding Gosnell’s crimes to push for more abortion restrictions across the country. Nevertheless, public opinion on abortion rights has remained unchanged by the ongoing media attention to the Gosnell trial.