Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart also tossed out all five counts against Gosnell accusing him of corpse abuse for storing the feet of aborted fetuses in plastic containers in his now closed Women's Medical Society clinic.
Also dismissed by Minehart was one count of infanticide - the intentional killing of an infant. All other counts against Gosnell, 72, will be decided by the jury, the judge ruled.
In addition to counts of first-degree murder for killing four babies allegedly born alive, those charges include the third-degree murder of a patient who died of a drug overdose following a botched 2009 abortion and multiple counts of performing illegal, late-term abortions.
Minehart also dismissed six of the nine counts of theft by deception against Gosnell co-defendant Eileen O'Neill, whom prosecutors contend worked at the clinic as a doctor despite not having a medical license.
Minehart made his rulings following motion hearings that took place before the start of the defense attorneys starting their cases Tuesday afternoon.
Gosnell's attorney, Jack McMahon, argued that all seven counts regarding the fetuses should be dismissed. None were born alive, he said, all having been injected with death-causing drugs during the abortion process. Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron argued that there had been enough testimony from former clinic employees that the seven babies were born alive to let the jury decide.
The prosecution rested last week. Gosnell could be sentenced to death if he is convicted of the first-degree murders of the babies.
More Nation & World Headlines
Two win Nobel Prize for missing piece in neutrino mass puzzle U.S. strike on hospital was mistake, top general in Afghanistan says US to release 6,000 prisoners as part of sentencing-reform campaign 1:31 p.m. Ex-UN General Assembly head among 6 held in bribery scheme 1:41 p.m. American heating bills set to be lowest in at least four winters 1:31 p.m. Clinton ad seizes on Rep. McCarthy’s Benghazi comments 1:33 p.m. After weeks of unrest, Palestinian leader appeals for calm 1:32 p.m. House hardliners prepare to vet candidates for speaker 1:39 p.m.
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.