PHILADELPHIA -- The prosecution has rested its case against abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. Despite the gruesome nature of the trial, it still isn't getting much coverage from the major media -- and it's been going on for five weeks.
The trial of 72-year-old abortionist has pushed many to anger and tears.
"It's really the first time that there's an African American abortionist in an African American neighborhood who was preying on his own people for a profit," Dr. Clenard Childress of the Life and Education and Resource Network said.
Gosnell faces the death penalty for eight counts of murder: one in the death of a 41-year old woman who overdosed while in his care.
The others: for killing seven babies by snipping their spines with scissors after they reportedly had been born alive.
House of Horrors
Past patients describe his now-shuttered abortion clinic as a "house of horrors." In reviewing the case, grand jury members said it was a failure to report and enforce broken violations that led to the clinic's deplorable conditions, including the following:
- Blood-stained furniture and walls
- Unsterilized medical equipment that spread venereal diseases
- Fetal remains stored in bags and plastic jugs
"We are looking at a killing field of human beings because one person and a lot people didn't have courage to go ahead and follow up and make sure there were safe conditions in that abortion clinic," Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group the Susan B. Anthony List, said.
Dannenfelser and others blame former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a pro-choice Republican, for ending clinic inspections in the 90s.
"Unless you are a pro-life governor, you're probably not going to have the backbone and courage to enforce the regulations as they're put on the books," Dannenfelser said.
She and others don't limit blame to state and city authorities. Critics pointed out the mainstream media have dropped the ball too.
Hardly any major news outlets covered the case until a liberal commentator railed against reporters in this USA Today column for failing to cover Gosnell's trial.
"I've been doing this for 25 years, and I don't recall any big league media, mainstream media ever being shamed into doing a story," Bucks County Courier Times reporter J.D. Mullane said.
Mullane, who has been described as the "lone reporter" at the trial from the beginning, believes the case and the grand jury's report has the potential to reshape the national debate over abortion.
"I am convinced that if only half of what is in that report were known to the American public, given coverage by the mainstream media, especially the TV networks, Roe v. Wade and the unfettered right to abortion would be as vigorously debated in America as the Second Amendment is after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre," Mullane said. "I'm convinced of it. It is that bad."
But it wasn't bad enough for The White House to weigh in. When asked about President Obama's opinion earlier this week, press secretary Jay Carney said the president was "aware" of the case and "does not and cannot take a position on an ongoing trial."
In its report, the federal grand jury described Dr. Gosnell's clinic as a drug mill by day and an abortion mill by night. Even though the women's medical society is now closed and Dr. Gosnell awaits the jury's verdict, many wonder how many other clinics just like Gosnell's may be operating under the radar.