The attorney for West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell had some of the charges against his client knocked down Tuesday.
Jack McMahon is fighting the idea that any of the fetuses named in the case were actually babies born alive.
He worked to refute testimony that a “noise” from one, “an arm movement” from another, and a “leg jerk” from a third were sufficient, or true, signs of life.
“The commonwealth can’t point to one piece of evidence that one baby — one fetus, whatever — was born alive,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron read from Pennsylvania’s “born alive” statute and countered that there is no more definitive sign of life than a baby’s “whine.”
“You need to breathe to make a noise,” Cameron said.
Judge Jeffrey Minehart issued a judgment of acquittal on three murder charges and one infanticide charge.
In a gruesome bit of semantics, the attorneys sparred over the definition of the word “corpse.” That debate was about small feet and other body parts stored in specimen jars at Gosnell’s Lancaster Avenue clinic.
McMahon argued that his client could not have abused a corpse because the body parts were from fetuses not “a living person that had died.”
Minehart seemed to side with McMahon and ruled acquittals for all five counts of “abuse of a corpse.”
Gosnell still faces murder charges in the death of four babies allegedly killed after delivery — as well as a charges of third-degree murder in the death of a patient.
The jury will also hear charges that Gosnell violated Pennsylvania’s abortion laws.
Prosecutors say the 72-year-old performed abortions after the 24-week fetal-age limit and that he sometimes failed to provide the required counseling to women 24 hours prior to a procedure.
Courtroom testimony continued into the afternoon Tuesday. The defense attorney for Gosnell’s co-defendant and colleague Eileen O’Neill spoke with several character witnesses.
O’Neill, referred to by some clinic staffers as “Dr. O’Neill,” is accused of three counts of fraud by deception for treating women without a medical license.