Tuesday's anniversary of the murder convictions of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell brought renewed calls for a federal ban on late-term abortions. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said May 13 that she continues to “grieve for the victims and their families who have been hurt by Kermit Gosnell.” “Gosnell’s horrific crimes stand as a stark reminder that there is no such thing as a safe abortion.” Gosnell was convicted in May 2013 of three first-degree murder charges for killing babies who had been born alive at his abortion clinic. Testimony had indicated that Gosnell and his staff snipped the necks of more than 100 infants who survived abortion attempts; witnesses indicated that some of the infants struggled for their lives. Gosnell's clinic had not been subject to oversight by the state of Pennsylvania since 1993, following the election of Republican governor Tom Ridge. A federal raid on suspicions of illegal drug prescription in 2010 uncovered blood-stained rooms and filthy equipment at the clinic. The clinic stored aborted fetuses in a basement freezer in plastic food containers and bags next to staff lunches. Gosnell kept severed feet of unborn babies preserved in specimen jars, allegedly for future identification or DNA samples. In addition to the counts of first degree murder, the abortion doctor was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of a patient who died of an overdose from drugs administered at the clinic. Black said that although Gosnell’s actions toward infants were “especially egregious,” they are “what happens each time an abortion is performed — a beating heart is stopped and an innocent human life is ended.” Citing “widespread public opposition” to late-term abortion, she urged the Senate to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which has already passed the House of Representatives. The legislation would ban abortions 20 weeks into a pregnancy or later, on the grounds that unborn children are capable of feeling pain from that time. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) voiced support for the legislation at a May 13 news conference, calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule a vote on the bill. “In the entire world, there are seven countries that allow elective abortions at the 20-week period and beyond. My goal is to make sure when this is over, there are six,” Graham said. The push for legislation coincides with the successful conclusion of a fundraiser to make a movie about the Gosnell trial. Filmmakers Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney, and Magdalena Segienda raised upward of $2.2 million from more than 26,500 donors through the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo to create a made-for-TV movie about Gosnell. McAleer has contended that the media has ignored the trial of Gosnell, whom he has called “the biggest serial killer in American history.”
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