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Closed Abortion Clinic on 38th and Lancaster

Kermit Gosnell, a West Philadelphia abortion doctor charged with the murder of one woman and seven babies, was denied a preliminary hearing at the Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court Wednesday.

A formal arraignment was scheduled for March 2, at which time a trial date can be set. If convicted, Gosnell will face a possible death penalty.

Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic, a private practice that allegedly hired non-professionals to perform illegal abortions on fetuses aged 24 weeks old or older, was located just off of campus at 3801 Lancaster Ave.

Following the release of a Jan. 19 grand jury report detailing aborted fetuses in pickle jars, blood-stained equipment and supplies of OxyContin at the clinic, the court ruled that the Gosnell case will proceed to the discovery phase, whereby evidence from both the defense and prosecution is submitted.

Present at court were Kermit Gosnell, eight West Philadelphia Women Center workers also charged with murder and Gosnell’s wife Pearl, who is charged with performing an abortion of a fetus older than 24 weeks as well as conspiracy-related offenses.

Though Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes granted the prosecution the motion to proceed with the case, she also protected the defendants’ right to quash — the right to demand a preliminary hearing once more before a judge of equal jurisdiction.

Phladelphia Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said further crime scene information, files and testimonies will be provided by the next court session.

“Based on the nature and complexity of the case,” Pescatore said, “Judge Hughes made an appropriate decision since she cited case law point by point.”

Pearl Gosnell’s defense attorney Mary Maran noted in an e-mail that it was a fair decision, adding that “what is most important is that every accused, no matter how gruesome the allegations, have their constitutional right to fair due process.”

Attorney Jack McMahon will represent Kermit Gosnell after a contentious week when Gosnell — who used to earn 1.8 million a year — claimed he could not afford a defender.

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