2 plead guilty to murder in abortion case

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A pair of abortion clinic workers pleaded guilty Thursday to third-degree murder in two deaths at a Philadelphia clinic where seven babies allegedly were killed with scissors and a woman died from a drug overdose.

Andrea Moton admitted her involvement in the death of one baby. Sherry West pleaded guilty in the February 2009 death of Karnamaya Mongar, a Bhutanese immigrant. Neither women had formal training to work at the clinic in Philadelphia run by Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

Dr. Gosnell and nine employees, including his wife, were charged earlier this year after a gory grand jury report detailed the conditions at the West Philadelphia clinic where Dr. Gosnell allegedly performed illegal late-term abortions and babies born alive were killed by having scissors stabbed into their necks to sever their spinal cords.

Dr. Gosnell has denied the allegations.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams called the clinic a “house of horrors” in announcing the charges in January.

Moton, who knew Dr. Gosnell through his niece, worked evenings to assist with abortions but, like the others, had no relevant training or license. She assisted with procedures and cut the spinal cords of aborted babies.

Moton and West each pleaded guilty to related charges, including taking part in a corrupt organization.

West, 52, of Newark, Del., was charged with third-degree murder, drug delivery causing death, illegally performing an abortion after 24 weeks, conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, evidence tampering and other charges. She has been in custody since her January arrest on $2 million bail.

West, a long-time Gosnell patient hired in October 2008, worked as a medical assistant. She had no formal training but performed ultrasound exams, administered anesthesia and monitored patients in the recovery room, according to prosecutors.

She also had hepatitis C, but she took no precautions to protect exposing patients to the disease, authorities said. She was paid $8 to $10 an hour in cash for full-time work. She was present when Mongar, the patient, died on Feb. 18, a grand jury report investigating the incident found.

Besides being unlicensed and untrained, staff had warned Dr.  Gosnell that West and another co-defendant, Lynda Williams, were sloppy and unconcerned with their work, the report said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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