Former employees called by the prosecution testified that Gosnell relied on untrained, unlicensed staff to sedate and monitor women as they waited for abortions – many of them beyond the 24-week limit under Pennsylvania law. Three workers have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder charges, admitting they helped medicate the adult victim or had a hand in killing infants born alive.
They told jurors that Gosnell had taught them the technique, and said they trusted that it was legal. At least one, though, admits she grew so concerned about conditions at the clinic that she took pictures of the outdated equipment, messy rooms, and stacked specimen jars containing the remains of aborted babies.
Defense attorney Jack McMahon has maintained that none of the infants was killed, reports CNN. Rather, he said, they were already deceased as a result of Gosnell previously administering the drug digoxin, which can cause abortion.
In what is likely a preview of his closing arguments, Mr. McMahon said, "There is not one piece – not one – of objective, scientific evidence that anyone was born alive.”
The only employee to go on trial with Gosnell, unlicensed physician Eileen O'Neill, is charged with theft for allegedly practicing medicine without a license. Her attorney called character witnesses to testify, but rested her case Wednesday without calling Ms. O’Neill to the witness stand.
Antiabortion activists say the case hints at widespread problems.
"This is a very dramatic case compared to what happens in some other clinics," Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of the antiabortion group Americans United for Life, told NPR. "But in all honesty, it doesn't completely surprise us because we've been trying to get attention to low-grade conditions in abortion clinics across the country for many, many years."