Wife of doc in illegal abortions case to get bail

49-year-old Pearl Gosnell of N. 32nd Street in Philadelphia is facing Abortion at 24 or more weeks, Conspiracy and other related charges. Gosnell, the wife of Kermit Gosnell who has no medical license, is accused of performing illegal abortions at the clinic.

April 4, 2011 12:34:59 PM PDT
The wife of a Philadelphia doctor accused of performing illegal abortions is expected to be released into house arrest now that a judge has modified her $1 million bail.

Pearl Gosnell, 50, is accused of conspiracy and helping to perform illegal late-term abortions at her husband's west Philadelphia clinic, described by prosecutors as a "house of horrors" where babies were born alive and killed with scissors.

Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner on Monday ordered her released into house arrest on $50,000 bail. Gosnell also got a new attorney, who said he expects his client to be released on electronic monitoring in the next two weeks.

The attorney, Michael Medway, said setting her bail at $1 million didn't make sense and attributed the decision to high emotions in such a painful case.

"The bail that was set was a knee-jerk reaction bail," said Medway, who added that he met with Gosnell during the weekend and she maintains her innocence. "The bail was way out of whack."

Gosnell's husband, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 70, is being held without bail. He is charged with eight counts of murder in the death of a patient and the deaths of seven late-term babies who prosecutors say were born alive.

A message left with a spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams was not immediately returned.

The Gosnells and eight other clinic employees were charged by a grand jury in January after a lengthy investigation prompted by a federal drug raid on the clinic in January 2010. The clinic catered to mostly low-income, minority women, dozens of whom were left with perforated organs or other injuries, prosecutors said. State health officials charged with regulating the medical facility failed to inspect it for more than a decade or respond to repeated complaints, according to the grand jury.

Medway said he has not had a chance to thoroughly review the case against Pearl Gosnell, a cosmetologist by training who prosecutors said helped out at the clinic on Sundays.

Last month, Lerner removed Pearl Gosnell's previous lawyer from the case. The judge determined that lawyer had too strong a potential conflict of interest, since the doctor is represented by a lawyer in her office.