March 27, 1986 |
The abortion trial of Dr. Joseph L. Melnick was postponed today because he has cancer and recently suffered a heart attack. Common Pleas Judge Charles L. Durham agreed to delay the start of Melnick's trial after the Wynnewood physician's attorney, Richard A. Sprague, presented medical testimony in the judge's chambers. Melnick, 63, is awaiting trial on charges stemming from an abortion he performed at West Park Hospital on Sept. 12, 1984, on a 13-year-old girl who was eight months pregnant.
May 9, 1989 |
Dr. Joseph Melnick hasn't performed one abortion and has been living off his savings and Philadelphia city pension since Sept. 12, 1984, he testified in his own defense today. Melnick, 66, the Overbrook physician accused of allowing a nearly full-term infant to die after he performed an abortion on her 13-year-old mother, has maintained that the 3-pound, 9-ounce baby girl was stillborn. Cross-examined by Assistant District Attorney Andrea Foulkes, Melnick said he resigned his position as chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Delaware County Memorial Hospital in 1987, but was still listed as an active staff member there.
May 8, 1989 |
Saying the death certificate determination was not "proper," former Philadelphia Medical Examiner Dr. Marvin Aronson today backed up Dr. Joseph Melnick, the Overbrook physician accused of allowing a newborn infant to die. Microscopic slides of lung tissue showed that the baby, a nearly full-term infant that Melnick had aborted, was stillborn, Aronson testified today in Common Pleas Court. Dr. Halbert Fillinger, former assistant medical examiner, had concluded that the death of the baby girl on Sept.
October 14, 1987 |
Jury selection at the abortion trial of a Montgomery County physician has been postponed because a key defense witness is too ill to testify. Common Pleas Judge Albert F. Sabo has relisted Dr. Joseph L. Melnick's case for December. Melnick, 64, denies violating the law when he performed an abortion on a 13-year-old girl who was eight months' pregnant at West Park Hospital in Wynnefield in September 1985. The Wynnewood obstetrician and gynecologist is charged with violating two sections of the state's Abortion Control Act of 1983 - infanticide and intentionally, knowingly or recklessly aborting a viable fetus.
December 19, 1989 |
A remorseful Dr. Joseph Melnick today was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and three years probation on his conviction for baby-killing under the state's abortion control law. But, to the delight of his attorney and family, the 66-year-old Overbrook gynecologist was neither sentenced to a prison term nor fined. "I think he (Melnick) has been chastened by this event, has paid a great monetary price and his reputation has suffered," said Common Pleas Judge Lynne M. Abraham in explaining why she didn't jail or fine Melnick.
May 11, 1989 |
Dr. Joseph Melnick, the Overbrook doctor charged with infanticide, said some of the information he put on official forms after the death of the fetus was done to satisfy several doctors and nurses who believed the baby was born alive. During his third day of testimony, Melnick, 66, was asked by Assistant District Attorney Andrea Foulkes why he put down "respiratory arrest" as the cause of death on the death certificate if he believed the baby was stillborn. "Under the circumstances, and since I was instructed to fill out a death certificate, I think it would have been ludicrous to put down the cause of death as absence of a heartbeat," he replied.
June 9, 1989 |
After listening to 13 weeks of often-complicated medical testimony, Common Pleas Judge Lynne Abraham will render her verdict Monday in the case of Dr. Joseph Melnick, the obstetrician accused of allowing an infant to die after he performed an abortion on a 13-year-old girl. Abraham, who is hearing the case without a jury, said yesterday that before she issued a verdict she wanted to complete her review of more than 6,200 pages of trial testimony, a task she said she was halfway through.
May 5, 1989 |
Dr. Joseph Melnick, the Overbrook gynecologist accused of infanticide, says he tried to persuade a 13-year-old pregnant girl and her mother to allow the girl to have the baby and either raise it or give it up for adoption. But, during testimony yesterday, Melnick, 66, said, "They were adamnant. They wanted the abortion. They did not want to (have the baby). " Melnick performed an abortion on the girl on Sept. 12, 1984, at Westpark (now Jefferson Park) Hospital. It yielded a 3-pound, 9-ounce infant girl, whom the prosecution contends was born alive but was permitted by Melnick to die. Earlier yesterday, a charge of performing an abortion after "viability" was dropped by Common Pleas Judge Lynne M. Abraham on a motion by Melnick's lawyer, Richard A. Sprague.
May 26, 2013 |
The trial involved an aging Philadelphia abortion doctor, a desperate and pregnant 13-year-old, and a baby born alive during an abortion and left to die. But this trial occurred 24 years before that of West Philadelphia's Kermit Gosnell, sentenced Wednesday to three consecutive life terms after a jury found that he murdered three babies born alive in illegal late-term abortions. It was Commonwealth v. Joseph L. Melnick , the first criminal prosecution under Pennsylvania's then-year-old Abortion Control Act. The Melnick case was the precursor for prosecuting Gosnell, 72, for what happened inside his Women's Medical Society clinic at 3801 Lancaster Ave. It involved many of the same legal issues the Gosnell jury faced, such as determining whether an aborted fetus was alive and what an abortion doctor's duty of care was toward that newborn.
May 10, 1989 |
The baby was born with a full head of hair and normal skin, and was almost five times larger than expected. And if Dr. Joseph Melnick, 66, the Overbrook doctor accused of infanticide, had known the fetus was that big he never would have performed the abortion. Melnick admitted yesterday on the witness stand that that is what he told an attending nurse shortly after the baby was delivered. Melnick, 66, is accused of allowing a nearly full-term infant to die after he performed an abortion on her 13-year-old mother.