ABA Journal


Trials & Litigation

Jury finds abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell guilty of first-degree murder in deaths of 3 infants

May 13, 2013, 07:59 pm CDT


And, still, Gosnell is not an outlier.

By Yankee on 2013 05 13, 9:06 pm CDT

Huh. I guess the jury decided that wasn't OK.

By B. McLeod on 2013 05 13, 11:28 pm CDT

Kudos to the ABA -- at least we covered some of the issues here.

Mainline media, well... not so much. ABC News, for example, was totally silent about this story until finally acknowleding the guilty verdict. And if it weren't for FOX News, hardly anyone would know anything about the case.

So much for objectivity.

By SavannahGuy on 2013 05 14, 12:59 pm CDT

I concur in the "Kudos to the ABA"!

By Yankee on 2013 05 14, 1:32 pm CDT

No surprise here, good riddance.

By NoleLaw on 2013 05 14, 2:45 pm CDT

I just wonder how his practice went undetected and unreported for so long.

By Anonymous on 2013 05 14, 3:17 pm CDT

@6 – 14 May 2013 Tuesday 10:17 AM CDT
I just wonder how his practice went undetected and unreported for so long.

Perhaps those who ought to be inspecting were not .

By Docile Jim Brady – Columbus OH 43209 on 2013 05 14, 3:35 pm CDT

It seems the staff just assumed whatever the man in the white coat said must be OK, and of course, the mothers putting the hits on their unwanted infants were complicit (and could not know when they might need his services again -- and again -- and again).

By B. McLeod on 2013 05 14, 11:39 pm CDT

Gosnell’s clinic operated in a world unknown to the posters on this site. Kermit Gosnell served poor people, none of whom most you would give the time of day to, and often ridicule for being welfare parasites. Gosnell’s methods may have been crude. But how is Gosnell different than health insurance companies who deny life-saving treatment, and the patient dies as a result? Apart from the carefully parsed words of health insurance corporate lawyers, the result is the same. And those without money or health insurance are SOL - save for Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

Unfortunately life is cheap, even worthless, for many in this country. Sorry if that fact does not fit with your fantasy view of America.

By truth on 2013 05 15, 3:26 pm CDT

@9 - " is Gosnell different than health insurance companies who deny life-saving treatment"

He is different in that he killed babies, and is a convicted murderer for it. It's a big difference, and Gosnell will rot in prison because of it.

And you can save your sanctimonious bulls--t. Rest assured that plenty of attorneys are routinely exposed to poverty in America, whether due to fields they practice in, or through providing pro bono legal services.

By NoleLaw on 2013 05 15, 3:35 pm CDT

@10 "He is different in that he killed babies, and is a convicted murderer for it. It’s a big difference, and Gosnell will rot in prison because of it."

FYI, health insurance companies who deny life-saving treatment kill babies, children, adolescents, adults and senior citizens. The health insurance companies who engage in such practices are simply unindicted murderers. It is a difference without a distinction, other than your arbitrary label. Unfortunately people die.

"rot in prison"? sanctimonious much?

"Rest assured that plenty of attorneys are routinely exposed to poverty in America, whether due to fields they practice in, or through providing pro bono legal services."

Actually, far more attorneys are predators to those in poverty in America, shilling for payday lenders, wrongful fraudclosure, and ambulance chasing fee agreements that mainly benefit lawyers.

Sorry if the facts do not fit with your fantasy view of America.

By truth on 2013 05 15, 4:26 pm CDT

I challenge you to defend anything there as a "fact."

If his view is an unrealistic fantasy, yours is an imaginary nightmare.

The truth is always somewhere in-between.

You have mistaken proximate causation for general causation. Causality is a funny thing, and you can make bizarre arguments when you disregard the difference.

Attorneys are as a different from each other as all human beings. You can light a candle or you can curse the darkness.

By Anonymous on 2013 05 15, 5:34 pm CDT

"The truth is always somewhere in-between."

That's what Another Andy always used to say.

By Yankee on 2013 05 15, 11:00 pm CDT

You should have called him out on it, because in fact it's a logical fallacy. Argumentum ad temperantiam. I sort of expected to be called out on it myself!

By Anonymous on 2013 05 15, 11:14 pm CDT

Health insurance companies never "deny life-saving treatment." Their role is to make payment decisions, not treatment decisions. If the patients are too impoverished to cover their own choice of treatment, the insurer that does not cover it simply leaves those patients where it found them. They would have the same problem if the insurer did not exist.

By B. McLeod on 2013 05 15, 11:24 pm CDT

@15 B. McLeod, you just made the case for Dr. Kermit Gosnell in our horrible healthcare system. The business of health insurance companies is to collect premiums, and pay as few claims as possible, to maximize profit. If the patients are too impoverished, the insurer leaves those patients to drop dead, or seek bottom-feeders like Dr. Gosnell.

From DailyKos:

"Why do [health care] companies deny claims? Because it pays."

"Rejection of care is a very lucrative business for the insurance giants. The top 18 insurance giants racked up $15.9 billion in profits last year."

"It's also a reason why private insurers divert up to 30 cents of every healthcare dollar to overhead -- much of it spent to support warehouses full of claims adjustors needed to deny care, to keep down their "medical loss ratio" or profits lost on approving claims."

"Cigna, for example, gained notoriety two years ago for denying a liver transplant to 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan of Northridge, Calif. and then reversing itself after protests organized by her family, her friends and community, CNA/NNOC, and netroots activists. Tragically the reversal came too late to save her life."

"PacifiCare denied a special procedure for treatment of bone cancer for Nick Colombo, a 17-year-old teen from Placentia, Calif. Again, after protests organized by Nick's family and friends, CNA/NNOC, and netroots activists, PacifiCare reversed its decision. But like Nataline Sarkisyan, the delay resulted in critical time lost, and Nick ultimately died. "This was his last effort and the procedure had worked before with people in Nick's situation," said his older brother Ricky."

"Our nation remains the only one in among industrial nations to link access to healthcare to private profit."

From the standpoint of our Nation’s economic success, private health insurance has hurt our manufacturing and export base. The first and second largest export countries, China and Germany, have removed the profit from healthcare, and surpassed us in the world market.

By truth on 2013 05 16, 12:33 pm CDT

@16 - A few points:

One, most readers on this site recognize that the provision of healthcare through the market is inadequate because of economic reasons (i.e. enormous information and bargaining power asymmetries between contracting parties, relatively inelastic demand, lack of the potential of substitution for other goods, health care being at least in part a public good) and moral reasons as well.

Two, China is not a good model for the provision of healthcare. The inequalities in access to healthcare there due to wealth are probably as pronounced, if not more so, than here.

Three, none of what you mention is relevant to this article or the criminal case against Gosnell.

By NoleLaw on 2013 05 16, 12:45 pm CDT


Denying payment for a service is different than murder. For instance, if I'm walking down the street and see a man dying, and do nothing, I may be a bad person, but I'm not a murderer.

As several others have pointed out though, there is a difference between denying payment and denying care. Maybe your tirade should be against the doctors and hospitals who wouldn't perform the procedure for free?

By OKBankLaw on 2013 05 16, 1:54 pm CDT

Gosnell is the product of decades of conservative repression of a woman's right to control her body.

By faddking on 2013 05 16, 10:07 pm CDT

This shows how it has nothing to do with the vaunted "woman's right to control her body." These kids had already given up their maternal quarters and had come out unarmed, but the doctor whacked them all anyway. Because the real motivation is simply the mothers' unwillingness to be burdened by unwanted support obligations. That's all.

By B. McLeod on 2013 05 16, 11:59 pm CDT

I hope the fact that this is such a story means that it rarely happens (in any setting).

By NoleLaw on 2013 05 17, 12:56 am CDT

If only he killed them earlier in the pregnancy he would not have got in trouble.

By tim17 on 2013 05 17, 1:48 pm CDT

Too bad he took the deal. I was hoping we could see him taken out with the same pair of scissors that he used. Although it might take a week to get through that neck. We'll just say it was an extremely late term abortion.

By SlipKid on 2013 05 17, 3:51 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By testy on 2013 05 17, 4:20 pm CDT

@17 NoleLaw

One, most ordinary people recognize that lawyers harm the practice of medicine, and lawyers are responsible for increased health care costs, because doctors must practice expensive defensive medicine, or risk malpractice suits. The Affordable Health Care for America Act is 1990 pages long, another product of lawyers, since many legislators are lawyers. Between the profit motive, and legal complexity, we have the most expensive healthcare in the world that delivers substandard health.

From CNN: U.S. manages disease, not health, March 10, 2013

"The brutal fact is that we spend more on health care than any other country -- an estimated $9,348 per capita in 2013 -- and get shockingly little for our money."

"The U.S. "currently ranks lowest on a variety of health measures," concludes a new report from an expert panel commissioned by the National Institutes of Health. Specifically, Americans have more obesity, more sexually transmitted diseases, shorter life expectancies and higher infant mortality than the inhabitants of nearly all of the 16 developed "peer" countries studied."

Two, China may be a good model for the provision of healthcare. A friend is a craniofacial reconstruction surgeon and professor at the Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University Medical College in Shandong, PRC. He spent a year as a visiting scholar in America, and still believes China’s system is better. Hospitals in China generally do not serve meals to patients, food is the responsibility of the patient’s family, that is one way to cut costs. Who in America likes hospital food anyway?

Three, re "none of what you mention is relevant to this article or the criminal case against Gosnell." Perhaps in your narrow legal mind, but that is the problem, decisions made in a vacuum. Legal thinking is not a model for living, or anything but the practice of law. The encroachment of legal thinking into our daily lives is a disaster. Connect the dots between our terrible healthcare system and Dr. Gosnell. What is gained by speculating whether Gosnell gets life or death, or rots in prison? See Dennis Jacobs, The Secret Life of Judges, 75 Fordham L. Rev. 2855 (2007).

"There are lawyers on the one hand; and just about everybody else is the
competition in the framing of values and standards of behavior.

In that competition, judicial bias has eroded the independence and
influence of doctors, medical administrators, insurance underwriters,
engineers, manufacturers, the military, the police, wardens and corrections
officers, the clergy, employers, and teachers and principals."

By truth on 2013 05 17, 4:22 pm CDT

@18 OKBanklaw

If you are a healthcare insurance company walking down the street and see a man dying, and do nothing, and the man has a health insurance policy with you, but you refuse to assist him because you think you can get away with breach of contract (dead men don’t sue), you are responsible for the man’s death: "Involuntary manslaughter stems from a lack of intention to cause death but involving an intentional, or negligent, act leading to death." Wikipedia

Re "there is a difference between denying payment and denying care"

No, it is a difference without a distinction. Denying payment for a covered malady is a breach of contract. If the breach of contract, and duty thereof, is the proximate cause of death, it is a degree of homicide.

BTW, no "tirade" here, just an inconvenient truth.

Doctors and hospitals sometimes treat people without charge, my doctor did for me, but why should they if the patient paid for insurance coverage?

By truth on 2013 05 17, 4:45 pm CDT

Completely off-topic. This isn't a story about evil insurance companies. (And you're wrong anyway).

By B. McLeod on 2013 05 17, 4:48 pm CDT

B. McLeod calling off topic? That’s rich!

By truth on 2013 05 17, 6:44 pm CDT

Ironic, perhaps, but true nonetheless. Please return to the topic of the article.

<b>Lee Rawles
Web Producer</b>

By Lee Rawles on 2013 05 17, 7:14 pm CDT

Gosnell would have had no problems at all if the women to whom he was providing voluntary medical procedures thought enough about their situations to responsibly and legally have their abortions done earlier in their terms. I am astounded that nobody is talking about the responsibility of the women involved, these women who asked Gosnell to perform their abortions without any coercion or remorse on their part. These women are treated in news coverage as if they are mysteriously involved somehow in this travesty as poor, poor victims, but nobody really looks at them directly for fear of what we may legitimately conclude.

Women who are on the dole, getting incentivized by our tax dollars to remain single and have babies have no reason to be careful with their pregnancies. After all, they can always make another baby in another year to get another raise in pay from our government. Inspecting popular abortion mills that cater to these women enjoying the welfare lifestyle does not address the root of this problem. Paying women to have babies with our tax dollars is at the root of this problem, and until it gets solved, we will have many more Gosnells providing these corrupt women with the medical services they will continually request and we will continually abhor.

By sunforester on 2013 05 19, 8:51 pm CDT

Good point. Gosnell only carried out the hits. It was the women who paid for them.

By B. McLeod on 2013 05 19, 10:28 pm CDT

@30 - Agree with your first paragraph. It would be interesting to have someone with knowledge of the relevant criminal law and facts point out of they will be held liable or not.

By NoleLaw on 2013 05 20, 1:36 am CDT

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