Pa. abortion doctor set for last court hearing amid surprise deal that spares him death

Maryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - A Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of killing live babies may be in court for the final time before serving out the last chapter of his life in prison.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell has decided not to appeal the first-degree murder conviction handed down this week for killing three babies born alive at his clinic.

Instead, the 72-year-old physician will accept several life terms and avoid a death penalty hearing.

Gosnell was sentenced in the first two deaths Tuesday and assured a judge he was making the deal freely. He'll be sentenced in the third baby's death Wednesday, along with the overdose death of a patient and other charges.

Prosecutors say Gosnell routinely used scissors to "snip" babies born alive. His case has become the latest flashpoint in the nation's enduring abortion debate.