The trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, 72, continued Tuesday with testimony from the family of Karnamaya Mongar, the one adult patient Gosnell is charged with murdering. Gosnell is accused of third degree murder in Mognar's death and first degree murder for allegedly cutting the spinal cords of seven babies born alive.
"He said the procedure was done but your sister's heart stopped," testified Mongnar's brother, Damber Ghalley, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Her daughter, who spoke via a Nepalese translator, described her mother's determination to get an abortion after immigrating to the U.S. after years of living in poverty with children in Nepal.
Mongar died of an overdose of Demerol, which was used to sedate her during the abortion procedure.
Philadelphia Chief Medical Examiner Sam Gulino testified Monday that he examined 47 fetuses recovered from Gosnell's clinic. He said that two of the fetuses appeared to have been aborted after Pennsylvania's 24-week limit for abortions, Reuters reports, but that he found no evidence that any had lived outside their mother's body.
"You did not file any paperwork that any of these fetuses were born alive and subsequently died?" asked defense attorney Jack McMahon. "That is correct," said Gulino.
Assistant district attorney Edward Cameron then asked, "Can you think of any reason why the neck was severed if that baby was not born alive?" The Inquirer reports that McMahon "exploded in anger" and was told by the judge "behave yourself" and "act like a lawyer."
The Inquirer reports that the Gosnell's attorney "has argued that none of the infants was killed; they were in death throes from the abortion drug Digoxin that Gosnell administered earlier."
Another Philadelphia abortion doctor, Charles David Benjamin, testified against Gosnell Monday. Benjamin said he performed more than 40,000 abortions, but that the dosage of Digoxin that Gosnell used to stop the hearts of fetuses was 500 times the average amount he uses, NBC Philadelphia reports.
"An influx of reporters attended the trial Monday, spurred by criticism that some broadcasters were not covering the trial," The Associated Press reported after the week's first day of proceedings. The trial is in its fifth week.
Gosnell was arrested in 2011 after a police raid revealed unsanitary conditions and a freezer containing fetuses and rows of amputated feet. According to a grand jury report, Gosnell murdered babies that were born alive. The grand jury report says in part:
This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.
The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment – such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff – was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn't used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.
Perhaps the most damning testimony so far came on April 4 from Stephen Massof, an unlicensed doctor who worked five years at Gosnell's clinic. Massof testified that because of the high volume of patients at the clinic, "I felt like a firemen in hell. I couldn't put out all the fires." Massof said that he was paid $200-$300 a week and that Gosnell - busted with $250,000 in cash under a mattress – "always led me to believe he was a poor, struggling urban physician and surgeon."
Massof, who pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree murder, said he witnessed about 100 babies born alive before having their spinal cord "snipped" to ensure death, the AP reported at the time.
White House spokesman Jay Carney commented on the case Monday.
"The president does not and cannot take a position on an ongoing trial, so I won't as well," said Carney, USA Today reported. Carney said Obama was "aware" of the trial and added, "certainly, the things that you hear and read about this case are unsettling."
Gosnell faces the death penalty if convicted. Several former employees, including his wife, have pleaded guilty to various charges.