PHILADELPHIA (CNS) – Dr. Kermit Gosnell may have been convicted May 13 of murder at his Philadelphia abortion clinic, but “nothing can bring back the innocent children he killed, or make up for the vulnerable women he exploited,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.
And, he added, “the repugnance of his clinic conditions” must be remembered.
The Philadelphia archbishop said, “Gosnell is not an exception. Others just like him run abortion mills throughout our country.”
A Philadelphia jury May 13 found Gosnell guilty of murder in the deaths of three babies born alive during abortions and acquitted him of a fourth similar charge. He also was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death by a drug overdose of a patient who had an abortion.
Gosnell, 72, was charged with snipping the spines of babies born alive during illegal late-term abortions. Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks of gestation.
“We need to stop cloaking the ugliness of abortion with misnomers like ‘proper medical coverage’ or ‘choice,’” Archbishop Chaput said in his statement. “It’s violence of the most intimate sort, and it needs to end.”
A few weeks earlier in the six-week trial, after the prosecution had rested its case, Judge Jeffrey Minehart of the Common Pleas Court, dismissed three other murder charges against Gosnell, saying they lacked evidence.
The same jury will consider Gosnell’s sentence. Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty.
Both supporters of legal abortion and abortion opponents praised the verdict, though they pointed to different underlying problems.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement that “justice was served to Kermit Gosnell and he will pay the price for the atrocities he committed.” She described Gosnell’s clinic and practices as “a peek into the world before Roe v. Wade made legal a woman’s right to make her own choices.”
Hogue said “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.”
Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, said the “self-interested indifference of an unrepentant, unregulated and unmonitored abortion industry stood front and center among the tragic events that led to the conviction of Kermit Gosnell.”
Yoest’s statement said “the legacy of Gosnell’s trial will be Big Abortion’s collusion in bringing about America’s ‘red-light district of medicine’ – today’s back-alley abortion clinics and renegade abortion profiteers.”
She said “pro-life Americans must fight Big Abortion as they attempt to block commonsense attempts to regulate and monitor abortion clinics where we know that some women and girls have suffered and even died.”
Yoest said the case underscores why abortion clinics must be subject to medical standards and regular inspections. Gosnell’s clinic had not been inspected for nearly two decades, she said.
“Kermit Gosnell is not the aberration that abortion advocates claim,” Yoest added. “Over the last three years at least 15 states have initiated investigations into the conditions and practices of abortion clinics. These investigations were triggered by women’s deaths, reports of dangerous and unsanitary practices that exposed women to injuries and infections, and infants born alive following attempted abortions.”