Kermit Gosnell Guilty: Will He Face the Death Penalty?

After 10 days of deadlock the jury has announced that it has reached a verdict in the controversial trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell - guilty.

According to local ABC affiliate WPVI-TV, the jury was hung on two counts when the judge requested them to return with a unanimous verdict. It is yet unclear which of the 200 counts the jury was debating.

Gosnell, 72, could face death row for performing the late-term abortions on four babies who were born alive but allegedly killed by Gosnell. He also faces charges for killing a woman through a poisonous dose of sedatives and painkillers.


Gosnell faces charges of racketeering, conspiracy and charges for failing to counsel women before he performed third-trimester abortions. The Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minheart requested the jury to bring a unanimous vote because partial verdicts can allow prosecutors to decide whether to ask for a retrial of the the unresolved charges.

According to the FBI, the West Philadelphia's Women's Medical Society clinic was a "house of horrors" discovered when Gosnell was investigated in 2010 for dealing in prescription drugs. A lot of gruesome details have emerged during the investigation about the abortions and the clinic: 

"Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered. ... The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby's neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that 'snippings,'" the grand jury report alleged. 

However, Gosnell's lawyer maintains that his client has never killed a live baby.

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Shwetika Baijal

Shwetika is PolicyMic's first columnist and writes for the Millenials and the Media column. She focuses on how the media frames policy and cultural issues, how the media's framing effects public opinion, and in turn how public opinion affects the policies and issues under discussion.

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