In closing arguments on April 29, 2013, Gosnell’s defense attorney Jack McMahon, showed photographs of a relatively clean waiting room and other areas of the clinic. He said, “pictures don’t lie.” His assertion is correct, pictures don’t lie but they don’t tell the whole story either. During the trial it was said by a couple of Gosnell’s employees that there were two separate areas to the clinic. The cleaner area was for the white women from the suburbs and the unkempt area was for the poor, minority, and immigrant women. Pictures don’t lie, especially the ones showing an aborted “fetus” with a full head of hair at 28-30 weeks with a gaping hole in the back of his little neck. McMahon claimed all throughout the trial that Gosnell never delivered a baby alive but he never explained why their spinal columns were cut. If Gosnell was not “ensuring fetal demise” then what was the purpose of cutting their spinal columns? McMahon’s explanation doesn’t actually make logical sense.
In McMahon’s two and a half hour closing, he claimed that the reference to Gosnell’s clinic being a “house of horrors” is a “political press fabrication.” A more accurate description of the Women’s Medical Society would be a shop of horrors because Gosnell put the almighty dollar before the health and welfare of his patients. The further along a woman was the more he charged. He did not care about his patients nor his staff. He picked vulnerable people to staff his clinic. People who had no business being there. He used manipulation to gain their trust and loyalty. They didn’t question his judgement or what he instructed. They were cheap labor and nothing more.
Gosnell’s staff are just a culpable for the horrendous conditions of the clinic and the treatment of the patients. They all knew they weren’t qualified to administer medications and assist with the medical procedures but they did it anyway. They were even aware that one employee was careless when administering the anesthetic and instead of stopping her from taking part, they allowed her to continue administering anesthetic. They all constantly put their patients in danger. They all knew better but did it anyway.
McMahon attempted to downplay the pictures of the babies by saying, “When you see pictures of a dead fetus with a hole, it affects you. You have to transcend that.” He also went on to say that this case was not about abortion. He’s correct on that point. It doesn’t matter what one’s view is on abortion. This case is not about abortion. Abortion is legal in Pennsylvania to an extent; however, after the 24th week, they are no longer legal. Gosnell broke Pennsylvania law every time he performed an abortion after the 24th week. Even abortions at 24.5 weeks is illegal, which is what Gosnell often recorded on his patient’s charts.
According to McMahon, the trial of Kermit Gosnell is nothing more than an elitist and racist attack against his client. It doesn’t matter that Gosnell’s carelessness has garnered over 36 lawsuits against him. It doesn’t matter that women he “treated” suffered perorated bowels, uteruses, and cervixes. It doesn’t matter that a 22 year old patient of his had to undergo a hysterectomy because he perforated her uterus and neglected to tell her. It doesn’t matter that he continuously broke Pennsylvania law when performing late-term abortions after 24 weeks. It certainly doesn’t matter that his carelessness has cost two women their lives and countless babies. None of that matters because Gosnell’s prosecution is nothing more than an elitist and racist attack. Pulling the race card in this case is cheap and shameful considering that of those many lawsuits filed against him, none were filed by his white patients from the suburbs. He treated his white patients better than his black patients because the white patients were more likely to file a complaint against him if anything had gone wrong. The prosecution didn’t victimize poor, black women, Gosnell did that with his carelessness and utter disregard for their safety. These women were desperate and came to him for help but instead of help, he endangered their lives.
As of April 30, 2013, the jury started deliberations. Many were surprised that the prosecution took five weeks to present the case against Gosnell but the defense rested without presenting any kind of defense. According to James Owens, a retired attorney, this was the correct strategy for this particular case. If McMahon had put Gosnell on the stand then he would be open on cross examination. It was too much of a risk to put him on the stand because Gosnell would have to be very careful when trying to explain away his many medical malpractice suits and his confession to Detective Wood that about 10-20% of the fetal remains found in the clinic during the raid were the result of illegal late-term abortions. Right now, there is still a chance of reasonable doubt because there’s no explanation other than the employees. The employees are important to McMahon because they are laypeople. McMahon is counting on the fact that they are laypeople and don’t know the difference between post-mortem involuntary movements and voluntary movements. McMahon has claimed that no babies were born alive because Gosnell used medication that essentially killed the baby in utero, which allowed him to deliver stillborn babies. What could possibly be the purpose of cutting their spinal cords if it wasn’t to kill them? There is no logical explanation that can be made in defense of that action. That question is one of the reasons why putting Gosnell on the stand would have been a poor defense strategy. The best defense for Kermit Gosnell was for the defense to rest. There wasn’t much that could be done that wouldn’t backfire. There is also a possibility that if Gosnell is convicted he can use the lack of defense as a legitimate reason to appeal the verdict citing inadequate counsel.
It is important to note that Gosnell is innocent until proven guilty. No verdict has been rendered yet so in the eyes of the law Kermit Gosnell is still innocent. It is easy to pass judgement on him especially if one has read the grand jury report and has seen the photographs. Please keep in mind that the grand jury report contains extremely disconcerting photographs. If you have a weak stomach it is not recommended that you view the photographs.
If you or anyone you know is having trouble coping after an abortion you can call 1-800-456-Hope. It is not an easy decision to make nor to live with so please if you’re having trouble look into getting help. The number above may be able to help.