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By Joseph A. Slobodzian, The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — The last two workers charged in the operation of Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia abortion clinic — both pleaded guilty and testified against Gosnell — were sentenced Thursday by a Philadelphia judge.

Lynda Williams, 45, a trained phlebotomist with a host of personal problems whom Gosnell groomed to administer anesthetic drugs and assist in abortions, was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in prison by Common Pleas Court Benjamin Lerner on her plea to two counts of third-degree murder.

Lerner sentenced Tina Baldwin, 48, a receptionist at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic to 30 months probation for her guilty plea to sustaining a corrupt organization, conspiracy, and corrupting the morals of a minor. The latter charge involved Baldwin allowing her daughter, Ashley, then a 15-year-old high school student, to work at the clinic.

Gosnell, his wife and eight workers were charged in February 2011 in the operation of the clinic in which illegal late-term abortions were performed and where babies born alive and viable were killed by Gosnell and some of his workers.

All but Gosnell pleaded guilty and he was found guilty of murder last year and sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison. Gosnell, 73, is serving his sentence in the state prison at Huntingdon in central Pennsylvania.

Despite Williams’ cooperation in Gosnell’s trial, Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron sought a 10- to 20-year sentence, telling Lerner that she was responsible for two deaths.

One of those was the 2009 death of abortion patient Karnamaya Mongar, 41, to whom Williams administered too much of an anesthetic drug. The other, Cameron continued, was an infant born alive whose spinal cord Williams snipped with surgical scissors, a technique used by Gosnell to terminate live births.

“She is an adult, she is a mother herself,” Cameron argued. “This was a living human being in front of her, a living human being who was crying.”

Defense attorney Stephen P. Patrizio called Cameron’s request “outrageous” in light of Williams’ cooperation and testimony at Gosnell’s trial.

Williams told Lerner that she “felt manipulated, used, and lied to by Dr. Gosnell.”

“Suppose all that is true, so what?” interrupted Lerner.

“I just want to be home with my family,” Williams added.

Lerner sentenced Williams to 5 to 10 years, with credit for the three years she has been in prison since her arrest.

Lerner said he was disappointed that he did not hear “some comprehension on your part that you … were a functioning, responsible adult human being.”

“You chose to do terrible things,” the judge added.

Photo via WikiCommons

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

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