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Doctor Found Guilty Of Murder In Late-Term Abortions

A jury in Philadelphia has found Dr. Kermit Gosnell guilty of first-degree murder in three illegally performed late-term abortions.

The jury also found Gosnell, 72, guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a woman who was overdosed on anesthesia while undergoing a second-trimester abortion. He was found not guilty of one other murder charge in the death of an infant. Three other similar counts were thrown out by the judge last month.

The first-degree murder convictions carry a possible death sentence.

In 2010, federal agents raided Gosnell's Women's Medical Society clinic in Philadelphia in search of drug violations but instead found what they described at the time as "deplorable and unsanitary" conditions, including aborted fetuses in jars.

Gosnell had run the clinic for some 30 years.

Further, as The Associated Press reports:

"The clinic had no trained nurses or medical staff other than Gosnell, a family physician not certified in obstetrics or gynecology, yet authorities say many administered anesthesia, painkillers and labor-inducing drugs."

Prosecutors said some infants were born alive and viable in the last three months of pregnancy at Gosnell's clinic but that he used scissors to cut their spinal cords.

The case had become a cause celebre for anti-abortion advocates. As NPR's Julie Rovner reported last month:

"The case and its grisly details have prompted considerable debate about a variety of issues, including whether the media has covered it sufficiently.

"But it has also laid bare some of the very issues at the heart of the still-simmering debate over abortion 40 years after the Supreme Court made it legal. Most directly, it raises the question of whether increasing regulation on abortion clinics make places like Gosnell's clinic more or less likely to exist."

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