Philadelphia, Pa., May 14, 2013 / 14:41 pm
Following his conviction for the murder of three babies born alive, abortionist Kermit Gosnell was sentenced Tuesday to two life sentences without parole for two of those murder charges.
By agreeing not to appeal his conviction, Gosnell was able to avoid the death penalty for two of the convictions of first-degree murder.
Gosnell "agreed to wait all of his appellate rights in exchange for life in prison...instead of the death penalty," the office of R. Seth Williams, Philadelphia's district attorney, said May 14.
He was "immediately sentenced."
Tomorrow, May 15, Gosnell will be sentenced for the death of the third child and for involuntary manslaughter of a patient at his facility, a mother who died of drug overdose, as well as many lesser charges.
Nine of Gosnell's employees have faced state and federal charges for their actions at the clinic. Eight have plead guilty to various charges in the case – three of them to third-degree murder.
Former employee Stephen Massof in courtroom testimony in early April said that he saw about 100 babies born alive. He said clinic workers then "snipped" the back of their neck to ensure their "demise."
Massof is in prison after having plead guilty to third-degree murder in the deaths of two newborns.
In a January 2011 Grand Jury report, Williams found that the Pennsylvania Department of Health had contact with Gosnell's clinic in 1979, when it first approved it. The department did not conduct another site review until 1989, finding "numerous violations." Two site reviews found more violations in 1992 and 1993, but failed to make corrections.
"With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge," the report said, "officials concluded that inspections would be 'putting a barrier up to women' seeking abortions. Better to leave clinics to do as they pleased, even though, as Gosnell proved, that meant both women and babies would pay."
Gosnell's name became a rallying cry for pro-life advocates, who lamented a lack of major media coverage of his trial. Their efforts on social media helped draw attention to the case.