When I first got a whiff of the story about the Philadelphia abortionist’s slaughterhouse, I thought the few details that I heard sounded gruesome. But there have always been gruesome details about the abortion business. America by now seemed pretty thoroughly desensitized to the whole thing.
But the story keeps sticking around. And the details keep coming:
This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy — and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels — and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.
As the report made clear: “With the change of administration from [pro-life Democratic] Gov. Casey to Gov. Ridge,” government health officials “concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions. Better to leave clinics to do as they pleased, even though, as Gosnell proved, that meant both women and babies would pay.”
In March of 1965, voting rights activists organized marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to bring national attention to their cause. From Wikipedia:
The marches shifted public opinion about the Civil Rights movement. The images of Alabama law enforcement beating the nonviolent protesters were shown all over the country and the world by television networks and newspapers. The visuals of such brutality being carried out by the state of Alabama helped shift the image of the segregationist movement from one of a movement trying to preserve the social order of the South to a system of state-endorsed terrorism against non-whites.
Could the Women’s Medical Society of Philadelphia become the Selma of abortion? Could this level of brutality and evil finally be enough to shift a public opinion that seems pretty securely stuck on “indifferent” in this case? I’m starting to think it might. I’m also starting to think that if this doesn’t, nothing will.
According to [clinic worker] Cross, the girl was left to labor for hours and hours. Eventually, she gave birth to a large baby boy. Cross estimated that the baby was 18 to 19 inches long. She said he was nearly the size of her own six pound, six ounce, newborn daughter.
After the baby was expelled, Cross noticed that he was breathing, though not for long. After about 10 to 20 seconds, while the mother was asleep, “the doctor just slit the neck,” said Cross. Gosnell put the boy’s body in a shoebox. Cross described the baby as so big that his feet and arms hung out over the sides of the container. Cross said that she saw the baby move after his neck was cut, and after the doctor placed it in the shoebox. Gosnell told her, “it’s the baby’s reflexes. It’s not really moving.”
The neonatologist testified that what Gosnell told his people was absolutely false. If a baby moves, it is alive. Equally troubling, it feels a “tremendous amount of pain” when its spinal cord is severed.
Cross saw Williams slit the neck of a baby (“Baby C”) who had been moving and breathing for approximately twenty minutes. Gosnell had delivered the baby and put it on a counter while he suctioned the placenta from the mother. Williams called Cross over to look at the baby because it was breathing and moving its arms when Williams pulled on them. After playing with the baby, Williams slit its neck.
Cross testified that a woman had delivered a large baby into the toilet before Gosnell arrived at work for the night. Cross said that the baby was moving and looked like it was swimming. Moton reached into the toilet, got the baby out and cut its neck.
After so many accounts of the casual, even joking way that Gosnell and his accomplices severed the spinal cords of babies, the phrase “banality of evil” has to start making an appearance. The more of this that comes out, the harder it becomes to deny that this isn’t an aberration, but the logical conclusion of a philosophy of death that began with Roe v. Wade. It’s a philosophy that has corrupted the culture so thoroughly that it’s no longer acceptable to even inspect abortion clinics, for fear that the machinery of death might be inconvenienced for even a day.
But even in that culture, the facts of this case seem to have struck a chord. I didn’t think it was possible until I saw this post by Shannon Love on the Chicago Boyz blog:
I’m mostly pro-choice but this horrific story demonstrates just how utterly extreme and insane the left in general and the Democrat party in particular have become on the matter of abortion…
Again, I am pro-choice but this tragedy occurred because the left violently resisted even the least regulatory oversight of even the most extreme late term abortions. The left has made abortion the highest good that trumps every other concern, and the resulting real-world policies border on the surreal.
I agree that women in the modern world have to control conception and sometimes birth if they are to contribute to the economy and society. We simply need to have women in the workforce. Sometimes, late-term abortions are necessary. Most late-term abortions are probably simply to remove a dead or non-viable fetus.
However, that is not always the case and the society and government have a compelling interest in seeing that viable, third-term babies are not murdered out of mere convenience. No right is absolute. At some point, a one-cell zygote has developed into a baby even if it is still inside the mother and we have to recognize that in morality and law. The argument that the only thing Gosnell did wrong was kill the babies outside instead of inside the womb should be dismissed out of hand. Women, who are adults, will just have to make sacrifices to protect the lives of innocent children.
The left has made a fetish out of the pursuit of cosmic equality and fairness. It is a fetish they are literally willing to sacrifice babies to. Modern, capital-F feminism has made selfishness, self-gratification, pathological ambition and staggering narcissism into virtues instead of vices.
In the end, the hundreds of live babies murdered by Gosnell died because of the left’s attempt to create a world of cosmically perfect equality between men and women. They failed to compromise with reality and children died.
As in so many other things, it is time for the left to grow up and act like adults.
It’s amazing to watch her argue with herself—to assert again and again that she’s pro-choice, that she sympathizes with pro-choice arguments, but at the same time to see the facts, and to be too logical to deny that evil is evil. It’s amazing to watch someone who is pro-choice demand crazy things like acknowledging, at some point, the wad of tissue inside a uterus is actually a baby, or that adults actually act like adults and sacrifice for the sake of children. I thought expectations like those had vanished from polite society forever. Next thing you know, they’ll be giving black people the vote.
If any good can come from this, it will be to stir the same kind of soul searching within all thoughtful people who have just gone along for the ride with the abortion culture. As with the footage of police brutality that broke open the dam of public opinion against segregation, the hope is that people might see this atrocity and start to think that abortion isn’t just some excuse for loudmouths to scream at each other on talk shows. It’s a real travesty that demands the attention of a moral nation. If we still want to consider ourselves a moral nation.