(Reuters) - A Philadelphia doctor was found guilty on Monday of murdering three babies during abortions at a clinic serving low-income women in a case that cast a national spotlight on the controversial practice of late-term abortions.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, faces the possibility of the death penalty for his actions at the now-shuttered Women's Medical Society Clinic.
The Philadelphia abortion clinic that prosecutors called a "house of horrors" has been cited as powerful evidence by both abortion rights and anti-abortion groups. The following are reactions to the verdict:
Frank Pavone, director, Priests for Life: "The guilty verdict on charges of killing babies following abortion shows that the law recognizes a point at which the 'right to choose' must yield to the right to life, and also shows that abortionists don't know where that point is. Such laws must be strengthened in every state."
Ashley McGuire, senior fellow, The Catholic Association: "Gosnell is not an aberration within the abortion industry. We call on Congress to investigate all abortion centers and protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us."
Dana Cody, executive director, Life Legal Defense Foundation: "Hopefully this is the first step in seeing prosecutors, nationwide, take legal action when children born alive after surviving abortion are murdered. After all, Gosnell is not the exception, his clinic is the rule; abortion is murder inside and outside the womb. We are also hopeful that now government agencies will better scrutinize abortion clinics and shut down more of them before more women are killed and babies murdered."
Abortion rights groups
Ilyse Hogue, president, NARAL Pro-Choice America: "Justice was served to Kermit Gosnell today and he will pay the price for the atrocities he committed. We hope that the lessons of the trial do not fade with the verdict. Anti-choice politicians, and their unrelenting efforts to deny women access to safe and legal abortion care, will only drive more women to back-alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell."
Eric Ferrero, vice president for communications, Planned Parenthood Federation of America: "This case has made clear that we must have and enforce laws that protect access to safe and legal abortion, and we must reject misguided laws that would limit women's options and force them to seek treatment from criminals like Kermit Gosnell."
Dr. Nancy Stanwood, board chair-elect, Physicians for Reproductive Health: "As doctors who have women's health at the forefront of our mission and our practices, we are relieved that Kermit Gosnell will no longer be able to take advantage of vulnerable women. In Pennsylvania and many other states with restrictive laws, women face incredible barriers that affect their ability to obtain quality care. Gosnell preyed on low-income women who had few options to obtain the care they needed. His practice was illegal, unethical, and unsafe."
(Reporting by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian; Additional reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Dan Grebler)