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Kermit Gosnell defense rests without calling any witnesses (+video)

In a Philadelphia courtroom Wednesday, Kermit Gosnell's attorney declined to call any witnesses. Gosnell is charged with murder in the deaths of infants during late-term abortion.

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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.”

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Brad Knickerbocker is a staff writer and editor based in Ashland, Oregon.

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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."

"The fact that we regulate veterinary clinics and beauty parlors more than you do abortion clinics in this country, that's inexcusable," says Ms. Yoest. "And what it leads to is this kind of situation with Gosnell."

Abortion-rights advocates, on the other hand, see the Gosnell case – horrible as it is – as an argument for more publicly-supported facilities and services, especially for low-income women of the type drawn to Gosnell’s lower prices.

Carole Joffe, a sociology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, who specializes in reproductive health, says a new Pennsylvania law passed in the wake of the Gosnell revelations has resulted in many abortion clinics that were providing perfectly safe care having to shut their doors.

"Pennsylvania used to have 22 facilities; now they have 13," she told NPR. "The city of Pittsburgh used to have four clinics, now they're down to two."

• This report includes material from the Associated Press.


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