The wife of a Philadelphia abortion doctor, a cosmetologist who admitted helping him perform very late-term abortions at his corrupt, grimy clinic, said Wednesday that she was sorry for trusting her husband and was sentenced seven to 23 months in prison.
Pearl Gosnell had pleaded guilty to racketeering and performing an illegal abortion past Pennsylvania's 24-week limit. She said her husband, Kermit, told her the abortions were all performed within the legal limit and she believed him. He was convicted this month of first-degree murder in the deaths of three infants born alive.
"I am the wife of Kermit Gosnell, I am not happy about that now and I haven't been for a long time," Pearl Gosnell, 51, told Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner at her sentencing hearing.
She said her husband took the "cowardly" path for not speaking at his trial or apologizing for his crimes.
The judge gave her time credit for nearly three months she spent in jail after her arrest.
Former employees testified that Kermit Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past the 24-week limit; delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing; and dispatched the newborns by "snipping" their spines, as he referred to it.
Gosnell was also convicted in the death of patient Karnamaya Mongar, who was given a fatal overdose of painkillers.
The case became a flashpoint in the nation's polarized abortion debate. Foes said it exposed the true nature of abortion in all its disturbing detail. Abortion rights activists warned that Gosnell's practice foreshadows what women could face if abortion is driven underground with more restrictive laws.
A former clinic employee, who pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and other charges, was sentenced Wednesday to time served after being jailed for 28 months.
Adrienne Moton, 36, had pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and other charges. Lerner said he was sending Moton home and she has shown remorse for her crimes.
In an emotionally wrought statement, Moton told the court she thought she was helping women but never thought about the babies at Gosnell's clinic.
The judge rescheduled the sentencing dates for clinic workers Lynda Williams, 43; Sherry West, 53; and Tina Baldwin, 47, because the women still have unresolved federal drug charges.
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