Kermit Gosnell, shown in an undated photo released by the Philadelphia district attorney's office.A jury has found abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell guilty of three counts of first-degree murder after deliberating for 10 days on the case.Prosecutors are expected to now seek the death penalty for Gosnell.
The 72-year-old was charged with killing four premature babies by severing their spinal cords after they were born alive in his Philadelphia clinic. He was acquitted of one of those charges and convicted in three. Gosnell was also found guilty in the accidental death of a patient who died after receiving an abortion and a lethal mix of sedatives and painkillers at his clinic.
Gosnell's lawyers argued during the trial that no babies were born alive in the clinic.
A 2010 federal investigation described the West Philadelphia clinic as a filthy "house of horrors" that primarily served low-income women seeking late-term abortions. The nearly 300-page grand jury report said remains of fetuses were stored in freezers and that instruments used in abortions were contaminated with sexually transmitted diseases.
Gosnell faced hundreds of lesser charges, including employing a minor in his clinic and violating the state's 24-hour waiting period for abortions. He was also charged with performing abortions on women who were more than 24 weeks pregnant, which is illegal in the state. Gosnell's wife, a cosmetologist who helped perform the abortions, was among four of the clinic's employees who also pleaded guilty to several charges.
Earlier on Monday, jurors said they were deadlocked on two of the charges against Gosnell. They resumed deliberating and reached a decision early in the afternoon. CNN reported that the prosecutor in the case cried when the verdict was read Monday afternoon.
The trial has stoked debate over late-term abortions in the country. Pro-abortion rights groups say Gosnell was an outlier breaking numerous laws and regulations, while the anti-abortion rights movement has used the case to advocate for more state-level abortion restrictions.
“The greatest tragedy is that Kermit Gosnell is not alone. Exploitation of women and complete disregard for their health and well-being are problems endemic to the entire abortion industry,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the anti-abortion group SBA-List, in a statement.Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said Gosnell will "get what he deserves" now that he's been found guilty.
"Now, let's make sure these women are vindicated by delivering what all women deserve: Access to the full range of health services including safe, high-quality and legal abortion care,” she said in a statement.
The case revealed that abortion clinics in the state hadn't been routinely inspected in 15 years, prompting the resignation of two top health department officials. --The Associated Press contributed to this report.