6th defendant pleads guilty in abortion mill case

A sixth worker in Kermit Gosnell's West Philadelphia abortion clinic pleaded guilty this morning to conspiracy charges involving the clinic's practice of providing illegal late-term abortions.

Officals have charged that the late-term procedures resulted in the deaths of at least one woman and seven infants who were killed after they were born alive and viable.

Tina Baldwin, 46, pleaded guilty to participating in a corrupt organization, conspiracy and corruption of a minor in an agreement that requires her to testify against Gosnell, 70, when he comes to trial on murder and other charges.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner accepted the plea but deferred sentencing until after Gosnell's trial.

Like the other employees charged, Baldwin assisted in abortions although she had no medical training. The corruption of a minor charge involves Baldwin's daughter Ashley, whom she got hired at the clinic at the age of 15 and who was soon working with her mother in providing sedatives and other drugs to women undergoing abortions.

Gosnell, Baldwin and eight other employees of Gosnell's Women's Medical Society Clinic at 3801 Lancaster Ave. were charged in January after a county investigating grand jury described Gosnell's clinic as a "charnel house" in which newborns were killed using a scissors to sever their spinal cords.

Lerner, who handles pretrial issues for all Philadelphia homicide cases, said he will hold a final pretrial hearing in the Gosnell case on Thursday. He will then assign the case to a trial judge.

Baldwin was the sixth of 10 people charged in the Gosnell case to plead guilty.

Among those still facing trial are Gosnell, who could be sentenced to death if found guilty of first-degree murder, and Gosnell's wife, Pearl, 50, who is charged with performing one late-term abortion and conspiracy.

Contact staff writer Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985, jslobodzian@phillynews.com, or @joeslobo on Twitter.