PHILADELPHIA, March 24, 2014 ( – If the state of Pennsylvania had continued to inspect abortion facilities and enforce state laws, Kermit Gosnell would never have been able to operate his dilapidated abortion facility, the abortionist's former attorney has said.

Gosnell, while he “may not have been at the Mayo Clinic” level, was “not a stupid man” and “would have risen to a higher level of competence … to remain open,” said Jack McMahon. He defended the Philadelphia abortionist from charges of murdering newborn babies by snipping their spinal columns with scissors last year. The 73-year-old Gosnell is now serving three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole after a jury convicted him of murder last May.

On Friday, McMahon joined the judge who ruled against him, Jeffrey Minehart, at Philadelphia's Widener University School of Law.


McMahon said that nothing could “excuse the behavior that occurred here, but I think that [inspections] would have prevented it.”

Although laws remained on the books, pro-abortion Republican Gov. Tom Ridge halted abortion facility inspections, a policy continued by Democratic successor Ed Rendell. The Gosnell grand jury said this opened the door for Gosnell's “house of horrors.”

“With the change of administration from” pro-life Democratic Gov. Bob “Casey to Governor Ridge” in 1995, “officials concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions,” according to the Gosnell grand jury report. “Better to leave clinics to do as they pleased, even though, as Gosnell proved, that meant both women and babies would pay.”

Two patients died during that time frame at the clinic: 22-year-old Semika Shaw in 2002, and 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar in 2009. An untold number of women were injured. Although local abortion facilities were aware of the high toll of his practices, none turned him in to state authorities.

Gosnell's abortion practices came to light only after police raided his West Philadelphia Women's Medical Society on drug charges, for which Gosnell received an additional 30 year prison sentence.


Minehart told students he was relieved when the trial ended.

McMahon had said the trial changed his views on abortion before. In addition to calling for regular inspections, he has called for the abortion limit to be rolled back an additional seven or eight weeks.

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“I've come out of this case realizing that 24 weeks is a bad determiner” of viability, he said. “It should be like 16, 17 weeks. … The law should be changed to that. I think pro-choice would have still have the right to choose, but they'd have to choose earlier.”

“I think more regulation should come out of these regulations,” he added.

But he also defended his former client, saying, “Dr. Gosnell is far from a monster, and this was not a house of horrors.”

“Nobody gave him a second chance,” he said.

“Dr. Gosnell was a dream client,” McMahon said during a heated exchange with Megyn Kelly on Fox News Channel last May. “For two-and-a-half years, he's been nothing but a gentleman … a complete gentleman.”


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