WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise led a letter-writing effort with more than 70 House colleagues to criticize ABC, CBS and NBC news networks for the alleged lack of media coverage of the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia.

Gosnell, who has performed abortions, is charged in the deaths of seven babies and the 2009 overdose death of a 41-year-old patient. Authorities allege the babies were killed using scissors.

Reps. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, and John Fleming, R-Minden, both of whom are doctors, also signed onto the letter that was co-authored by Scalise, R-Jefferson, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

“If someone went into a hospital and shot seven babies and a mother with an AK-47, the media coverage surrounding the trial would rival a natural disaster,” said Scalise, who opposes gun control, in his announcement. “Yet seven babies and a mother are dead at the hands of an abortion doctor using a scalpel, and the mainstream media’s silence on this story is deafening.

“By failing to cover this story and turning their backs on the culture of abortion in this country, the media has failed in their duty to provide unbiased coverage of this horrific tragedy,” he continued.

Scalise is the chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

The Advocate, for instance, first published two stories on Gosnell when the graphic, 260-page grand jury report was released more than two years ago in January 2011.

As the trial finally began this year, several self-proclaimed conservative media outlets and blogs took aim at major media outlets for not focusing enough on the trial, although the original grand jury report made national news at the time.

Several patients and about a half-dozen former employees have testified about outdated, dirty — and allegedly deadly — conditions at Gosnell’s clinic.

In a prepared statement, Boustany argued the “national dialogue” is skewed when people do not have all the facts.