Pa. abortion doctor's murder trial starts

This undated photo provided by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office shows Karnamaya Mongar and her husband. Karnamaya Mongar died after being given too much anesthesia and pain medication during a 2009 abortion. The only licensed doctor on staff at the clinic where Mongar died, goes on trial Monday, March 18, 2013, on eight counts of murder, but prosecutors say he's not the only person to blame for the deaths. (AP Photo/Philadelphia District Attorney)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Prosecutors on Monday opened the murder trial of a Philadelphia abortion provider by telling jurors he routinely forced women who came to him into labor and then killed their babies.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of seven infants allegedly born alive at his clinic. Authorities say he would sever their spines with scissors.

Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said Gosnell preyed on desperate women who were often seeking abortions later than the 24th week, after which abortions are illegal in Pennsylvania.

"The standard practice here was to slay babies," Pescatore said. "This is not a case about abortion. ... This is a case about murder."

Pescatore says the unlicensed, untrained employees who helped carry out the gruesome procedures were equally desperate because they needed work.

She says investigators found $250,000 in cash at Gosnell's home in 2010, proof of the money he made from the abortion and pain clinic.

Gosnell has pleaded not guilty.