Tears flow at Gosnell's trial as 2 detail abortion horrors

ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER The West Phila. clinic also known as the "House of Horrors."
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER The West Phila. clinic also known as the "House of Horrors."
Posted: March 21, 2013

KERMIT GOSNELL, the former West Philadelphia abortion doctor, spent the second day of his capital murder trial Tuesday watching a former employee and a patient dissolve into tears while testifying about their bloodcurdling experiences at his now-closed "House of Horrors" clinic.

Adrienne Moton, 35, who spent four years working for Gosnell, administering drugs and performing ultrasounds despite having only a high-school diploma, testified that she, Gosnell and other employees cut the spinal cords of dozens of babies - some still moving and seemingly alive.

Moton's memory of one baby - known in court as "Baby A" - brought her to tears. The child was born in July 2008 so large and seemingly healthy in the 29th week of pregnancy that Moton took a cellphone picture before Gosnell rushed in and carried the boy away, she said. Abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy are banned in Pennsylvania.

"I just saw a big baby boy. He had that color, that color that a baby has," a weeping Moton said under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron.

"I just felt he could have had a chance. . . . He could have been born any day," added Moton, who has been jailed for 26 months. She previously pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and related counts and is cooperating with prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty against Gosnell, 72.

He is accused of killing seven babies born alive and causing the death of a patient after a botched 2009 abortion at his Women's Medical Society clinic, at 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue.

A female juror covered her mouth as if in shock when a color picture of "Baby A" was shown on courtroom video screens.

Next on the witness stand was the baby's mother, Shayquana Abrams, 21, of Chester, who testified that her health collapsed days after undergoing an abortion from Gosnell in 2008.

"I never felt pain like that before," sobbed Abrams, who was 17 at the time. She said that Gosnell told her she was only 24 weeks pregnant and that he never told her about the mandatory 24-hour waiting period between initial consultation and abortion procedure.

Abrams, who had a child the year before the abortion and has had another since, said that after leaving Gosnell's clinic, her symptoms included heavy bleeding, nausea, vomiting and the inability to walk.

After returning to Gosnell's office for an exam, she said, he drew blood and said he would get back to her with results, but never did.

Abrams said she then heeded the advice of her primary-care doctor and went to a hospital, where she stayed for two weeks after being diagnosed with a blood clot to the heart and a grapefruit-sized abscess on her right side.

Abrams said she was so drugged up during the abortion that she could not recall the procedure. She said she still suffers from fatigue, stress, shortness of breath and headaches.

For his services, Abrams said, Gosnell charged her aunt about $1,300 - cash.

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