An abortion doctor who catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women was charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, made millions of dollars over 30 years, performing as many illegal, late-term abortions as he could, prosecutors said. State regulators ignored complaints about him and failed to visit or inspect his clinic since 1993, but no charges were warranted against them, District Attorney Seth Williams said.
Gosnell, his wife and eight other colleagues were arrested overnight Tuesday following a grand jury investigation, MyFoxPhilly.com reports.
According to the district attorney's office, Gosnell is facing murder in the third degree for the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar. The patient died Nov. 20, 2009, when she was overdosed with anesthetics prescribed by Gosnell, according to the station.
Williams said during a press conference Wednesday that Gosnell "induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord."
The district attorney also said patients were subjected to squalid and barbaric conditions at Gosnell's Women's Medical Society.
Authorities went to investigate drug-related complaints at the clinic last year and stumbled on what Williams called a "house of horrors."
"There were bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses scattered throughout the building," Williams said. "There were jars, lining shelves, with severed feet that he kept for no medical purpose."
The clinic was shut down and Gosnell's medical license was suspended after the raid.
Workers, some of whom were also charged with murder, were untrained and unlicensed, including a high-school student who performed anesthesia with potentially lethal narcotics, Williams said.
Gosnell has been named in at least 10 malpractice suits, including one over the death of a woman who died of sepsis and a perforated uterus.
"I am aware that abortion is a hot-button topic," Williams told reporters. "But as district attorney, my job is to carry out the law. A doctor who knowingly and systematically mistreats female patients, to the point that one of them dies in his so-called care, commits murder under the law."
The Associated Press contributed to this report