Update: After criticism, The New York Times has since edited their story to include the word “babies'. The editors included no update notice to indicate the change had been made.

NEW YORK, May 13, 2013 ( – Much of the trial of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell revolved around the question of whether prosecutors could prove that the babies Gosnell killed were born alive. 

Under Pennsylvania law, if the babies were killed in utero then the killings would have been perfectly legal abortions, or, at worst, violations of the state’s 24-week abortion cutoff date at worst, rather than murder. 

Today’s guilty verdict means that the jury was convinced that Gosnell killed living, breathing newborn babies outside the womb, rather than unborn fetuses. 


However, some mainstream media outlets are continuing to report that Gosnell was found guilty for killing “fetuses,” or for illegal late-term “abortions.” 

New York Times reporter Jon Hurdle appeared to go to considerable lengths to avoid using the word baby in his report on the guilty verdict today, instead using the term “fetus” six times. 

“The verdict came after a five-week trial in which the prosecution and the defense battled over whether the fetuses Dr. Gosnell was charged with killing were alive when they were removed from their mothers,” wrote Hurdle in the second paragraph. 

At one point Hurdle wrote incongruously of a “fetus,” even when referencing the name given to the baby in question by the prosecution: Baby D. 

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“Clinic workers who appeared as witnesses for the prosecution said some of the fetuses appeared to move or make noises,” he wrote. “One, known as Baby D, was delivered into a toilet and appeared to make swimming motions before one of Dr. Gosnell’s assistants cut its neck, according to a worker cited during closing arguments by Edward Cameron, an assistant district attorney.”

Another media outlet, CTV in Canada, incorrectly ran a headline proclaiming that Gosnell was found guilty of murder over “3 late-term abortions.” 

The BBC also ran a headline saying that Gosnell was found guilty in illegal late-term abortions, although the story does mention babies, as does the AP story that CTV reprinted.

Throughout the case, pro-abortion activists and commentators have striven to avoid making the trial about legal abortion, instead arguing that the case actually proves that abortion should be less restricted than it already is. 

However, pro-life activists have insisted that the case exposes what one pro-life reporter called the “inherent violence of abortion,” and points to the absurdity of abortion laws that allow abortion at one moment, but open an abortionist to murder charges for killing the same baby five minutes later.

“How different really is Gosnell’s House of Horrors from abortions that occur in clinics throughout the country?” Rep. Chris Smith asked today. “Not much, not much at all.” 

Earlier this year the Associated Press was widely criticized for reporting during the Gosnell trial that abortions are “typically performed in utero.”