Archdiocese Awaits Word on Gosnell Fetuses

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    A police care is parked outside the Women's Medical Society in Philadelphia Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women at the clinic, was found guilty of murdering three babies born alive.

    The 47 fetuses found stuffed in cat litter and held as evidence in the case of former Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell remain under the custody of the city's Medical Examiner's office.

    The fate of the tiny remains, graphic photos of which were displayed during the trial, are still unknown.

    To date, three parties including Archbishop Charles Chaput on behalf of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, have contacted the Medical Examiner's office requesting to bury the fetuses. The Archdiocese even went so far as to set aside space at a cemetery for the burial.

    "No official word from the city yet regarding the Gosnell issue," Kenneth Gavin, spokesman for the Archdiocese said today when contacted by NBC10.com.

    To complicate matters, the Religion News Service (RNS) reported today that the 47 fetuses were actually cremated and buried on Saturday.

    Philadelphia Department of Public Health spokesman Jeff Moran told NBC10.com today that "the remains have not yet been cremated" and "no time frame has been established" to dispose of the remains.

    Moran explained that the disposal of the additional remains of the three viable babies, which were at the center of the Gosnell murder case, will be determined by their families.

    “Gosnell waived his right of appeal on May 15. That will be confirmed as an order of the court on June 15. Thereafter, the medical examiner’s office will have control of the disposition,” said city spokesman Mark McDonald last week.

    “The legal process is essentially stopped as we wait the 30 day period in which Gosnell in theory could decide to change his waiver of appeal. Once that ends, the medical examiner’s office will follow normal practices.”

    Gosnell is serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole after a jury found him guilty of killing three babies born alive at his West Philadelphia abortion office.

    A federal court hearing has been postponed in Gosnell’s federal drug case. Prosecutors say he ran a “pill mill” by day and an “abortion mill” by night. Gosnell is due back in court on June 26.