But McMahon said he will prove that she also had other drugs in her system that did not come from Gosnell’s clinic, perhaps from an attempt to self-abort the fetus using a tuberculosis drug. She also had unreported bronchial problems — she did not speak English — and died of complications, he said.
And he said the government cannot prove the seven babies were born alive. There is no physical evidence on five of the deaths; the murder charge is instead based on staff testimony that the babies cried or moved.
Authorities have a photograph of the sixth baby, who allegedly had a gestational age of 30 weeks, and the body of the seventh. But McMahon argued that neither took a breath or was otherwise born alive.
He conceded the case will be emotional and upsetting for jurors and everyone else involved “because we all love babies.”
“It strikes a chord in all of us,” he said.
Gosnell faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the infant deaths. He is charged with third-degree murder in Mongar’s death.
Eight co-defendants have pleaded guilty, most of whom will testify against Gosnell. Three of them pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, which carries a 20- to 40-year term. They have not yet been sentenced.
The only former employee on trial with Gosnell is Eileen O’Neill of Phoenixville, who allegedly held herself out as a doctor at the clinic when she was not licensed. Her lawyer was set to give his opening statements Monday afternoon.
The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.