Ben Johnson

Kermit Gosnell convicted on 3 of 4 counts of murdering babies, killing 41-year-old woman

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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PHILADELPHIA, May 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Philadelphia jury has found late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell guilty of murdering three of four babies in his capital murder trial.

He is also guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 abortion death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old legal immigrant who died when his untrained staff administered an overdose of sedatives.

The jury found Gosnell guilty of murdering Babies A, C, and D. Gosnell quipped Baby A, who was photographed by one of his employees, Andrienne Moton, was big enough to "walk me to the bus stop."

Jurors found Gosnell had committed first-degree murder when he allowed the babies to be born alive, then “snipped” their spinal cords with scissors -- a practice his employees said they saw him perform "hundreds" of times.

The verdict, which was announced this afternoon in the courtroom of Judge Jeffrey Minehart, means Gosnell will face the death penalty at sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for May 21.

The "not guilty" count related to Baby E, who uttered a noise before being killed. Jurors could not determine conclusively that such a sound represented a sign of life.

"Even if not on every count, I am thrilled today by the guilty verdict in the Gosnell murder trial," said Bryan Kemper of Stand True Ministries. "I have waited many years for justice to be served on behalf of babies being killed by abortionists."

Jurors convicted Gosnell of one count of infanticide and two counts of conspiracy in the murders of the babies, which defense attorney Jack McMahon sometimes called "infants," as well. They also convicted Gosnell of breaking Pennsylvania law by aborting babies past the state's limit of 24-weeks' gestation.

The 72-year-old abortionist faced hundreds of charges, ranging from first-degree murder to racketeering to tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors Ed Cameron and Joanne Pescatore appeared relaxed before the verdict came in, according to reporter J.D. Mullane of the Buck County (PA) Courier Times, while McMahon looked nervous. 

Gosnell showed no emotion as the verdict was handed down, according to Mullane. 

The decision comes after six weeks of testimony and nearly two weeks of deliberation. On April 23, Judge Minehart dismissed nine charges against Gosnell: three murder charges, one count of infanticide, and five cases of abusing a corpse. He gave no indication why he did so.

Gosnell's attorney had argued it was “ludicrous” to say a baby was alive merely because it was moving. His case was bolstered when Chief Medical Examiner Sam Gulino said he could not determine from the frozen remains whether the babies had been delivered alive.

McMahon told jurors that Gosnell had injected the babies with Digoxin, stopping their heart, and "snipped" the babies only to "ensure fetal demise." However, authorities found not a trace of Digoxin on the premises when they raided the Women's Medical Society offices in West Philadelphia.

Horrifying testimony from the facility's workers confirmed the babies lived sometimes as long as 20 minutes before being subjected to the painful procedure.

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Former Gosnell assistant Tina Baldwin said one baby's agonized thrashing caused Gosnell to joke, “That’s what you call a chicken with its head cut off.”

Sherry West testified she saw an 18-to-24-inch baby who had been “aborted,” lying in a clear glass pan, “screeching [and] making this noise” that “sounded like a little alien."

Baby D was born alive in a toilet and struggled to swim out, Kareema Cross said.

McMahon rested his defense without calling a single witness, including Gosnell himself, on April 24.

The jury reported being deadlocked on two counts this morning. It was not initially reported what those charges were. 

The verdict does not satisfy all critics. Some time before the decision was announced, Pastor Luke Robinson, who was keynote speaker at the 2012 March for Life, told The Washington Times, “The whole health department of Pennsylvania should be on trial for allowing these atrocities.”

Law enforcement officials raided Gosnell's abortion business in 2010, believing he merely ran a "pill mill," dispensing prescriptions for narcotics to make a quick buck. What they found shocked and nauseated them.

Inside his "house or horrors," which featured an image of two parents holding the hand of a new baby, they found unsanitized equipment that transmitted STDs between patients, urine- and blood-soaked recliners for post-abortion "recovery," and dismembered fetal body parts.

Gosnell kept the remains of 47 aborted babies in cat food containers and milk jugs. He also cut off babies' feet. His attorney claimed Gosnell did so for DNA purposes, but Assistant District Attorney Ed Cameron believed the abortionist kept the body parts as a kind of "trophy."

The violations filled a 250-page Grand Jury Report.

During his closing argument, Cameron dramatically asked Gosnell, "Are you human?"

The atrocities unfolded with the tacit permission of numerous levels of authority in the government, as well as within the health care and abortion industries.

Pennsylvania health advisers decided to stop inspecting abortion facilities in the mid-1990s under pro-abortion Republican Governor Tom Ridge on the grounds that inspections imposed an undue burden on the abortion industry.

A representative of the National Abortion Federation inspected the business and declined Gosnell's membership -- but did not report him to higher authorities. Neither did hospitals who dealt with the many victims of Gosnell's botched abortions over the years.

The mainstream media also showed little interest in the story -- which combined elements of murder, macabre practices, and economic and racial health disparities -- until a tweetfest generated more than half-a-million comments using the #Gosnell hashtag.

Pro-life activists rejoiced at the verdict but say Gosnell's actions are all-too widespread.

"We must remember that Gosnell is not an outlier within the abortion industry," said Lila Rose of Live Action. "We cannot allow these 'guilty' verdicts, welcome as they are, to make us complacent when it comes to the continuing abuses happening even now in abortion facilities throughout our nation."

"We call upon Congress to investigate all those participating in or willing to participate in this kind of brutality toward vulnerable women and children, and end it,” she said.

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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkins’ statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

"It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities," Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. "Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

"While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born," she said. "Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection."

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, "People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society."

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the "difficult and confusing time" when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience "negative attitudes."

"What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information," the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the church they attend in New Jersey, "because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey , 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 

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President George Bush takes the ice bucket challenge in a video released this week.
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What’s wrong with the viral ‘ice bucket challenge’? A lot, say pro-life leaders

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By Dustin Siggins

Pro-life leaders in the U.S. are warning about ethical problems with the viral "Ice Bucket Challenge" that has raised over $15 million for research into Lou Gehrig’s Disease since late July, making its way to the top of American politics, and the entertainment and business worlds in the process.

In recent days, former president George W. Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, TV hosts Oprah Winfrey and Jimmy Fallon, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have all had ice-cold water dumped on their heads in support of the effort.

They have been joined by many thousands of everyday Americans eager to do their part to raise funds to find a cure for the fatal neurodegenerative disease.

However, pro-life leaders from Patheos blogger Father Michael Duffy to the American Life League (ALL) are all pointing out that the ALS Association, which is behind the wildly popular fundraising effort, funds and otherwise supports embryonic stem cell research.

Instead, they are urging that pro-life people who want to participate in the ice bucket challenge send their donations to other charities that don't have similar ethical issues.

Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of an unborn child. This is unlike adult and umbilical cord stem cell research, which are considered ethical.

A spokesperson from the ALS Association admitted to American Life League in an e-mail that while the organization "primarily funds adult stem cell research," they are "funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC)..."

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"It is noble to combat a deadly disease," Live Action president Lila Rose said in a statement provided to LifeSiteNews, but added that "it's such a shame that the ALS Association...chooses to support research that thrives from experimenting on and killing tiny, innocent human beings."

"Embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of pre-born people, is inherently unethical and a violation of fundamental human rights, and even materialists must admit that promises of its benefits have failed to deliver," continued Rose. "There is no good reason to condone this practice; in fact, all it does is taint the ALS Association, whom I'd otherwise be happy to support."

In the email to American Life League, ALS Assocation Spokesperson Carrie Munk defended the organization, saying that the embryonic stem cell research is being funded by an outside donor, and "the stem cell line was established many years ago."

She added that "under very strict guidelines, The Association may fund embryonic stem cell research in the future," and that currently "donors may stipulate that their funds not be invested in this study or any stem cell project."

At least one Catholic archdiocese has spoken up about the problematic relationship between ALS Assocation and unethical research.

"We appreciate the compassion that has caused so many people to engage in the ice bucket challenge," said a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. "But it's a well established moral principle that a good end is not enough. The means to that ends must be morally licit."

Both Fr. Duffy and the archdiocese have recommended money be sent to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa. It is an organization that exclusively researches with adult stem cells. 

One D.C.-area Catholic, Robert Vega, wrote on Facebook that "in light of the absolute dignity of human life and necessity to defend it...I have taken down my Ice Bucket video, untagged myself from my nomination video, and encourage anyone to whom I may have spread the Challenge to do the same."

Embryonic stem cell research, which was a major controversy throughout the presidency of George W. Bush, has quietly, although decidedly, become less popular after many of the exalted promises of its proponents failed to materialize. As LifeSiteNews reported, in 2012 California and Maryland funded a fraction of the embryonic stem cell research projects that they did in 2007. Likewise, Maryland funded nearly twice as many stem cell research projects in 2012 as it had in the prior year -- but only one of the grants was done for an embryonic research project.

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Catholic couple fined $13,000 for refusing to host same-sex ‘wedding’ at their farm

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By Kirsten Anderson
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Robert and Cynthia Gifford

The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) has ruled that the Roman Catholic owners of an Albany-area farm violated the civil rights of a lesbian couple when they declined to host the couple’s same-sex “marriage” ceremony in 2012.

Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who own and operate Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, were ordered by DHR Judge Migdalia Pares and Commissioner Helen Diane Foster to pay $10,000 in fines to the state and an additional $3,000 in damages to the lesbian couple, Jennie McCarthy and Melissa Erwin for “mental pain and suffering.” 

Additionally, the Giffords must provide sensitivity training to their staff, and prominently display a poster highlighting state anti-discrimination laws.

The Giffords’ attorney, Jim Trainor, told LifeSiteNews that the two-year-legal drama and resulting fines all stemmed from a single brief phone call in 2012 that caught his clients off guard.

“The entire interaction between the Complainants and the Giffords transpired during a two to three minute telephone conversation which, unknown to Mrs. Gifford, was being tape recorded,” Trainor said.

“After communicating the fact that they chose not to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies at the farm because to do so would violate the Giffords’ sincerely held beliefs (that God intended marriage to be between a man a woman only), Mrs. Gifford invited the couple to visit the farm to discuss handling their wedding reception, which the couple refused.” 

The Giffords draw a line, Trainor explained, between a ceremony that solemnizes a homosexual relationship and a reception that celebrates the union after the fact.  To participate in the former, they argue, would be a violation of their own religious beliefs, especially because marriage ceremonies on the farm typically take place in and around the couple’s home, where they live full-time and are raising their two children. 

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But the Giffords are willing to serve gay couples in other ways – for example, they allowed another lesbian couple to throw a birthday party for their adopted child on the farm.

Trainor said he believes the decision by DHR goes too far in that it seeks to regulate what the Giffords can or cannot do in their own private home, even though state law only requires “places of public accommodation” to adhere to anti-discrimination laws.

“They consider the farm their home,” Trainor said. “They live there, they work there, they raise their kids there.”

Trainor also said that the Judge and Commissioner should have taken into account the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling, which came down weeks before the DHR notified the Giffords of their decision.

“We're disappointed that neither the Administrative Law Judge nor the Commissioner considered the Gifford's Constitutional (1st Amendment) rights, including the right not to be compelled to participate in a ‘marriage’ ceremony which violates their own religious beliefs,” Trainor said. 

Trainor said he and the Giffords are evaluating their options for further legal action.

The Giffords could simply ask the DHR to reconsider their decision, but Trainor said he doubts that approach would be successful. In order to formally appeal the ruling the couple would have to go to the New York State Supreme Court. 

But there is another option: The Giffords could file a fresh lawsuit in either state or federal court challenging the constitutionality of the DHR ruling.

While religious liberty has been a hot topic in federal court lately, Trainor said New York’s state constitution “actually offers a lot” of protection when it comes to religious freedom. “Many people view it as more expansive than the U.S. Constitution in terms of religious freedoms.”

However, Trainor emphasized that the Giffords have not yet decided which avenue, if any, they are planning to take in terms of pursuing further legal action.

In the meantime, the Giffords will continue hosting wedding ceremonies and receptions at the farm, Trainor said. However, they are considering hiring a dedicated employee to handle the ceremonies in order to avoid having to directly participate in any future same-sex “weddings.”

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