Convicted US abortion doctor escapes death penalty, gets life in prison
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An abortion doctor convicted of killing three babies born alive at his rogue clinic has dodged a possible death sentence in a hasty post-verdict deal with prosecutors.
Kermit Gosnell, 72, on Tuesday waived his right to appeal in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. Gosnell was convicted on Monday of first-degree murder in a case that became a flashpoint in the nation's abortion debate.
Former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania's 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants dispatched the newborns by "snipping" their spines, as he referred to it.
Prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty because Gosnell killed more than one person and his victims were especially vulnerable given their age. But Gosnell's own advanced age had made it unlikely he would ever be executed before his appeals ran out.