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Dr. Kermit Gosnell had his practice, called the Women Dr. Kermit Gosnell had his practice, called the Women's Medical Society, in this building in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke/AP.  

Black leadership group condemns defense tactics, media coverage in abortion-doctor murder case

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Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

A conservative black leadership network, Project 21, condemned both the race-based defense strategy and also the media coverage of the murder trial of Philadelphia abortion provider Dr. Kermit Gosnell, charging that by trying to hold Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic to lower standards than abortion providers, Gosnell’s lawyers are setting a dangerous precedent for abortion clinics in African-American communities across the country.

Gosnell, who is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder for allegedly killing live babies, and third-degree murder for the alleged over-anesthetization of patient Karnamaya Mongar, appears ready to make the case a racial issue.

Gosnell’s defense attorney Jack McMahon said in opening statements this week that the case against his client is “racist” and “elitist” and branded it “the prosecutorial lynching of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.”

McMahon argued that it is unfair for prosecutors who aim to “put Mayo clinic standards into a West Philadelphia clinic.”

“This man is being taken because of who he is and where he works,” McMahon argued.

“I’ve been disappointed with the strategy that is being used by the defense,” said Derryck Green, a member of Project 21, which is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. “They are playing the race card. In my opinion, that’s a reflection of our culture. It shows that using the race card works, to stifle debate. [Gosnell] is hoping it works during the trial.”

Gosnell is also accused of instructing employees to manipulate ultrasounds in order to make fetuses appear younger so he could circumvent the ban on late-term abortions.

“What he’s accused of doing is violating the ban on late-term abortions, Green told The Daily Caller. “The color of his skin is of no consequence. He should be held to the same standards.”

Green said that McMahon’s use of racially based tactics introduces a precedent that could prove harmful to the African-American community.

“What [McMahon] is also saying, by invoking Mayo Clinic standards, is that the lives of the women [Gosnell] was trying to help aren’t as good as the ones helped under the standards of the Mayo Clinic. That’s a condemnation of the poor,” Green said.

“If his practice isn’t held to a higher level, then the care he gives to poor black women will be substandard,” Green said, noting the harmful precedent of differentiating between Mayo Clinic standards and the standards of abortion providers in underprivileged minority communities.

“And the poor black woman paid with her life,” Green added.

Green also said that the national media appears confused or unwilling to report accurately and extensively on the case because it does not offer reporters a clear political narrative to exploit.

“It’s not getting the kind of media attention it deserves,” Green told TheDC, noting that the story’s ability to advance anti-abortion sentiment will lead to its suppression in the media, despite the fact that Gosnell allegedly harmed poor African-American women.

“[Gosnell] is accused of preying on poor black women, but even people who claim to sympathize with the plight of the disenfranchised will be silent on it, because if the story makes people say, ‘We’ll come out against abortion,’ the media will say, ‘We can’t have that.’”

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