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No verdict on seventh day of jury deliberation in U.S. abortion doctor case

A court gavel
A court gavel

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Philadelphia jury ended its seventh day of deliberations on Wednesday without a verdict in the murder trial of a doctor accused of killing babies and a patient during late-term abortions at a clinic that served low-income women.

Dr Kermit Gosnell, 72, who ran the now-closed Women's Medical Society Clinic, could face the death penalty if convicted by the jury in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia.

The seven-woman, five-man jury heard five weeks of testimony before starting deliberations on April 30.

On the seventh day of deliberations, the jury heard testimony it had requested be read back to them.

The jury was scheduled to return to court on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. to begin an eighth day of discussions.

Gosnell is charged with four counts of first-degree murder for delivering live babies during late-term abortions and then deliberately severing their spinal cords, prosecutors said.

It is legal in Pennsylvania to abort a fetus up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy. Gosnell also faces charges that he performed 24 abortions beyond 24 weeks in term.

Gosnell's defense contends there is no evidence the babies were alive after they were aborted.

Testimony depicted a filthy clinic, serving mostly low-income women in a largely black community.

Gosnell also is charged with murdering Karnamaya Mongar, 41, of Virginia, who died from a drug overdose after going to him for an abortion, prosecutors said.

Gosnell has been in jail since his January 2011 arrest. Eight other defendants have pleaded guilty to a variety of charges and are awaiting sentencing. They include Gosnell's wife, Pearl, a cosmetologist who helped perform abortions.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Maureen Bavdek and Eric Beech)

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