A doctor in America has been found guilty of murdering three babies he delivered and killed with scissors in late-term abortions.
Dr Kermit Gosnell, 72, performed thousands of abortions in the last three decades at a clinic in Pennsylvania, dubbed a “house of horrors” by prosecutors.
He routinely carried out illegal late-term abortions (post 24 weeks), and would deliver babies alive then use scissors to ‘snip’ their spines, the trial heard.
One of the babies was almost 30 weeks when aborted, the second clung to life for about 20 minutes, and the third was born in a toilet and seen moving before an employee severed its spinal cord, according to testimony.
Prosecutors said Gosnell ran a filthy clinic with unqualified staff.
Officials said a raid of the clinic in Philadelphia had turned up bags and bottles of foetal remains, including severed feet.
His medical practice earned him more than one million pounds ($1.8m) a year.
Gosnell was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter of an adult patient who died of an overdose, and was acquitted on another charge of killing a fourth baby.
Tim Stanley, a US historian, wrote in a blog for The Telegraph that the trial outcome is a “massive victory” for human rights.
He said: “Effectively the court has recognised that the babies Gosnell pulled from the womb and then murdered with a pair of scissors were not just foetuses but human beings with an inalienable right to life.”
“That they only became so once they had exited the mother’s body is a strange kind of ethics – it implies that you can commit whatever horrors you choose so long as your playground is ‘within the corpus’.”
“But at least it’s a step in the right direction and will hopefully open up a wider debate about when human life really begins and what kinds of protections it deserves.”
And prominent blogger Cranmer questioned why late-term abortions are not always murder.
He said: “Is it that a pair of scissors in the back of a visible neck is more of a grim reality than slicing up the unseen baby in the womb?”
Many pro-life campaigners have criticised the media for ignoring the case because of liberal bias.
The jury return next week to hear evidence on whether Gosnell should face the death penalty.