Judge Jeffrey Minehart dismissed three of the seven first-degree murder charges against Kermit Gosnell for the death of fetuses prosecutors allege were born alive at Gosnell's Philadelphia abortion clinic. The judge also dismissed one count of infanticide and five counts of corpse abuse Gosnell faced.
Minehart made his rulings following motion hearings that took place before the start of the defense attorneys starting their cases Tuesday afternoon.
Gosnell's attorney, Jack McMahon, argued that all seven counts regarding the fetuses should be dismissed. None were born alive, he said, all having been injected with death-causing drugs during the abortion process. Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron argued that there had been enough testimony from former clinic employees that the seven babies were born alive to let the jury decide.
The prosecution rested last week. Gosnell could be sentenced to death if he is convicted of the first-degree murders of the babies.
Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.