The jury heard closing arguments Monday in the case of West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell.
In a fiery two-hour closing, Gosnell’s defense attorney, Jack McMahon, reminded jurors they weren’t there to decide if Gosnell operated the cleanest or most up-to-date clinic, but whether he was a “cold-blooded, malicious murderer.”
McMahon called the commonwealth’s case against Gosnell “racist,” “elitist” and fueled by political motives.
McMahon’s closing argument centered on the evidence that the four babies Gosnell allegedly murdered were alive. He called it purely anecdotal, largely supplied by clinic workers testifying against the doctor to escape legal ramifications themselves.
McMahon argued that every fetus was killed with an injection of a heart-stopping drug before delivery, and the movements some clinic workers saw babies make were “last reflexes.”
Assistant District Attorney David Cameron refuted that point. He exhaustively reviewed the testimony of each of the case’s 50-plus witnesses, pointing out where they had seen heartbeats, breaths, or voluntary movement in babies delivered.
He also pointed to testimony suggesting the heart-stopping drug was often not delivered, worked only part of the time, and was not found in the clinic at the time it was raided.
Former Gosnell patient Jeanette Stokes-Godwin, who was in the courtroom to observe the trial, said she does not believe Gosnell is guilty.
“Dr. Gosnell? No,” Stokes-Godwin said. “Dr. Gosnell has become a minority scapegoat.”
Stokes-Goodwin went to Gosnell for an abortion in the early ’80s.
“The staff along with Dr. Gosnell was very kind, was very patient,” she recalled. “In fact, I would have recommended someone else to the clinic.”
Abortion opponents seemed to outnumber Gosnell supporters in the courtroom Monday.
Jeanneane Maxon was there representing the Washington, D.C.,-based Americans United for Life and pushing for tighter abortion clinic regulations.
“There were some atrocious conditions inside this abortion clinic and women need to be protected in these abortion clinics,” Maxon said. “Kermit Gosnell is not an aberration, and women in our country deserve the same protections that you would get in any outpatient surgical center.”
Gosnell is charged with the murders of four babies and patient Karnamaya Mongar. Judge Jeffrey Minehart dismissed the charges concerning three other babies last week.
Clinic worker Eileen O’Neill stands trial along with Gosnell. She is charged with theft by deception for treating patients without a medical license.
In his closing argument, attorney James Berardinelli argued O’Neill provided the medical treatment she was paid for, so there was no “theft by deception.”
Both he and McMahon said their clients were swept away by a rush to judgment from the district attorney’s office and the media.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations Tuesday.