HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, March 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Because Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s victims were only minutes old, state prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against the abortionist.

The gruesome nature of Gosnell’s abortion business, which involved routine infanticide, sent shockwaves through national media outlets in February 2010, after state investigators stumbled upon the filthy facility. 

Gosnell, 70, and several of his accomplices at the inner city Women’s Medical Society clinic, were arrested in January. The abortionist was charged with the murder of one of his adult clients mid-abortion, in addition to seven newborns killed after failed abortions. According to testimony by former employees, Gosnell and his assistants killed “hundreds” of babies by severing their spinal cords rather than killing them in the womb, because the abortionist was too unskilled to administer the lethal injection in utero.

Two of the employees who assisted in abortions without any medical license are, like Gosnell, being held without bail.

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed documents enabling them to seek the death penalty, noting the age of the victims as an aggravating factor. State officials also filed for more time to decide whether they will seek a similar fate for three of Gosnell’s accomplices.

Defense attorney Jack McMahon said that the death penalty “makes no sense,” according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

“He’s a 70-year-old man with no previous record,” said the attorney. “And Pennsylvania hasn’t carried out an execution in years [since 1999]. The reality is, there will be no death penalty for Mr. Gosnell, so why clog up the court system with a death-penalty case that is death penalty in name only?”

A Grand Jury report in January issued scathing indictments of both the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Department of State for turning a blind eye to the clinic. The report said the government agencies had allowed the clinic to wallow in filth for years, and ignored several complaints lodged against the abortionist, while allowing his official record to remain clean.

Since then, several state employees have been terminated for the oversight failure, which took root in the state agencies after pro-abortion former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge took over for Bob Casey in 1995.

Pro-life Gov. Tom Corbett, who took over the office in January, has expressed his anger at the handling of the affair. “This doesn’t even rise to the level of government run amok. It was government not running at all,” said Corbett. “To call this unacceptable doesn’t say enough.”

Dr. Eli Avila, who has been appointed by Corbett to head the state health department, said Wednesday that new draft regulations due at the end of this month mandate at least one unannounced inspection of all the state’s abortion clinics, and that Avila himself planned personally to visit each site.