U.S. media spotlight swings to Philadelphia abortion doctor on trial for murder

April 16, 2013

(Thousands rally on the National Mall for the start of the annual March for Life rally in Washington, January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

A city medical examiner described fetal body parts stored in pet food containers during his testimony on Monday at a murder trial that has drawn a national spotlight after anti-abortion groups complained that it was being ignored.

The graphic testimony came in the fifth week of the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, who faces the death penalty if convicted of charges he killed seven infants and a female patient at what a grand jury described as his squalid abortion clinic in urban West Philadelphia.

“It was the first time I had to deal with fetuses that were frozen and that I had to thaw out,” Philadelphia Chief Medical Examiner Sam Gulino testified about the contents of pet food containers received from the Women’s Medical Society Clinic in 2009 and 2010.

The horror story unfolding in daily testimony since the trial began in Common Pleas Court in March has been largely ignored by national media, and anti-abortion advocates have criticized the silence, claiming a media bias toward abortion rights and touching off a political firestorm.

The criticism went viral online and was echoed by Congressional Republicans. Washington Post blogger Melinda Henneberger scoffed at some media arguments that the trial was largely ignored because it was too lurid or because it involved low-income residents, saying “the only abortion story most outlets ever cover in the news pages is every single threat or perceived threat to abortion rights.”

Reuters covered opening arguments of the Gosnell trial in March but has not maintained a daily presence during the trial.

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