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PA abortion doctor serving life for murder gets 30 years for drugs

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Philadelphia abortion doctor already serving life in prison for murdering babies during late-term abortions was sentenced on Monday to 30 years for illegally selling painkillers out of his clinic.

Kermit Gosnell, 72, smiled slightly after he was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia Rufe in Philadelphia for what prosecutors said was running a "pill mill" that served to prey on the community.

"Gosnell is nothing other than a common drug dealer," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Natali told the judge, referring to what the government said were 900,000 prescription pain killers he dispensed between June 2008 and February 2010.

Gosnell told the judge he was concerned less with money and more with treating patients with pain or addiction problems. He said he wanted to develop a system for keeping track of prescription refills.

"Much tighter controls were possible and I was developing them when I was arrested," said Gosnell, wearing a green prison jumpsuit.

Since May Gosnell has been serving three life terms without parole after he was found guilty of the first-degree murders of three babies. As part of a deal that spared him from the death penalty, Gosnell waived his right to appeal.

He was also sentenced to up to five years for the involuntary manslaughter of a patient, Karnamaya Mongar, 41, of Virginia, who died from a drug overdose after going to him for an abortion.

On Monday, Rufe sentenced Gosnell to another 30 years, to be served concurrently with his life terms, for a series of charges he had pleaded guilty to in May, including conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, alprazolam, and codeine, and maintaining a place for the illegal distribution of those drugs.

Gosnell admitted to writing fraudulent prescriptions for thousands of prescription pills to individuals, in some cases without performing a medical examination. Customers were allowed to purchase multiple prescriptions under multiple names, according to prosecutors.

In January 2010, Gosnell wrote more than 2,300 prescriptions for controlled substances that were later filled at pharmacies.

It was a drug raid on Gosnell's Women's Medical Society Clinic in West Philadelphia that led to the discovery of frozen fetal remains and triggered a grand jury probe that resulted in murder charges against him.

Graphic testimony at Gosnell's murder trial centered on his actions at the now-closed clinic that served a predominantly black and low-income community. The trial cast a spotlight on the controversial practice of late-term abortions.

A clinic worker testified during the trial that Gosnell had delivered live babies during botched late-term abortions and cut their spinal cords.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Alden Bentley)

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