Gosnell's Pro-Choice Critics

May 17, 2013 | 1 comment

In the wake of “Doctor” Kermit Gosnell’s conviction for the gruesome murders of helpless infants, abortion enthusiasts have scrambled to distance themselves from his house of horrors. Planned Parenthood officials issued an editorial applauding the conviction on the grounds that Gosnell violated “laws and regulations in the state of Pennsylvania.” They criticized the “unthinkable conditions” of his abortuary—pardon me, “clinic.”

They are silent, of course, on the central matter of Gosnell’s crimes: severing the spinal chords of living, breathing, whimpering infants.

Of course they are. To allow that scissoring the skull of a helpless infant constituted murder would expose abortion’s advocates to the question: “What, then, is the difference between an infant not yet birthed from his mother’s womb and one just delivered taking his first breaths of air?”

Well, that is one difference, I suppose. The latter is exercising his lungs. But to the abortion advocate, why should lung use confer any more humanity than, say, a heartbeat, an event that begins in a developing human person at about six weeks? To declare the one over the other is nothing but arbitrariness, but abortionists and their supporters have made little use of rigor, reason, or logic in their four-decade war against the unborn.

Instead they have appealed to emotion. At one time, the argument went, abortion was a positive good because of the troubled life of poverty an “unwanted" child would suffer. On other occasions abortion has been necessary to the “right” of a woman to pursue her happiness unhampered. Abortion, goes another version, can save a raped woman from a life of psychological trauma. And in the legal legerdemain with which the butchery began, the “right to privacy” meant the right to kill a baby. (Oddly enough, in the minds of many of the same people the right to privacy gives a woman license to kill her infant but not to spank her toddler.)

In four decades of rhetorical contortion, never has the pro-abortion lobby actually talked about what abortion is. Never have any of its members just come out and said, “Look, we know abortion is homicide. We happen to think it’s justifiable homicide.” It is true that feminist thinkers such as Naomi Wolf have taken this position, but in the main, the pro-aborts avoid the issue.

How refreshing it would be if they were as candid as Wolf. At least then a proper debate could begin. Then the opposing sides would have at least terms in common. For now the debate is mired in a wrangle over personhood, when it begins, and what rights it claims. If abortion's supporters cannot say that an unborn baby is a person, then they at least ought to say what it is.

And here, out of the darkness of Gosnell’s grisly mill, some light may at last be thrown on the central question, the press’s best efforts to ignore the trial notwithstanding. Will the stomach-turning testimony of this man’s evil acts at last turn public opinion against abortion? That remains to be seen. But any honest observer of the events in Philadelphia will have to admit that what Kermit Gosnell was doing in his abattoir is exactly what goes on in every abortuary around the country. The only difference is that in some of them the killers use sterilized instruments and wear clean, white lab coats, niceties with which Gosnell saw no need to trouble.


Christopher Check is Director of Development at Catholic Answers. A graduate of Rice University, for nearly two decades he served as vice president of The Rockford Institute. Before that he served for seven years as a field artillery officer in the Marine Corps, attaining the grade of captain. He lectures...
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Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  Susan Petonic - North Ridgeville, Ohio

Pro-choice advocates know that it's a baby - they are just too selfish to admit it. I once had a pro-choice individual say to me "I don't think it's a real person in the first few weeks after conception - it's just a little thing swimming around - to which I answered, I don't know about your kids at that stage, but mine were human beings!" The individual (who, by the way, has children), had nothing to say after that!

October 1, 2013 at 9:03 am PST

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