when all the infant bodies are toted up, Dr. Gosnell may well turn out to be the worst mass murderer in American history.
Without calling a single witness, the defense yesterday rested in the cast of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist facing five counts of murder.
That’s one count of murder for allegedly killing a woman who came to his “Women’s Medical Society” in search of a late-term abortion, his specialty. And four counts for infants allegedly delivered and born alive, then callously murdered in cold blood as they fought for life.
related: The darkest side of abortion
In a probably related note, President Obama has canceled plans to give the keynote address at tonight’s Planned Parenthood fund-raiser in Washington. With Gosnell in the headlines, it’s not a good time to embrace the abortion lobby — even for a man who as an Illinois state senator voted against protection for infants born alive as the result of botched abortions.
Of course, for much of the trial, it wasn’t in the headlines, as most of the media chose to avert their eyes from the ugly consequences of an unalloyed “woman’s right to choose.” It wasn’t until liberal columnist Kirsten Powers outed many of the grisly details in a recent USA Today piece that other news outlets were shamed into finally addressing the case.
But it wasn’t just the media that looked away. Even before Gosnell was charged, so did outfits like the National Abortion Federation, to which he’d applied for certification. Devoted to “safe, legal and accessible abortion care,” the NAF rejected him when it discovered the filth and squalor of his “clinic” — but never reported him to authorities.
Nor did the state of Pennsylvania cover itself in glory. According to the grand jury report that brought the charges against Gosnell, “the state Department of Health neglected its duty to ensure the health and safety of patients in Pennsylvania’s abortion clinics.”
Said the report: “We discovered that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances” as other patients.
Why? Because no matter how we parse such angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin concepts as “when does life really begin,” the end result of abortion is always the same: the death of a living organism that would have developed into a human being had it been allowed to fully gestate.
And that’s not something anyone likes to contemplate — certainly not abortion advocates.
Indeed, to the advocates, any restrictions on abortion, and any ugly news about abortionists, are steps down a slippery slope that will end with the overturning of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. A monster like Gosnell, who took the notion of late-term abortion a step too far, needs to be ignored.
(In the same way, Second Amendment advocates zealously stamp down any new restrictions on gun rights, which is why the Senate’s background-check gun bill went nowhere last week.)
But Gosnell — whose case is expected to see closing arguments on Monday — is a special case. He’s a man who, when all the infant bodies are toted up, may well turn out to be the worst mass murderer in American history.
Like some vivisectionist, he kept baby parts in the refrigerators of his clinic, and put tiny feet in pickle jars. No wonder the grand jury called the Women’s Medical Society a “baby charnel house.”
Which is why organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice America are pretzeling to disassociate themselves from this monster — by blaming the pro-life side for putting access to abortion “out of reach for many women.”
Few are likely to believe that. Still, parts of the nation seem to be turning against nearly untrammeled access to abortion. Already, states like North Dakota have severely tightened their abortion laws (even as Gov. Cuomo seeks to expand abortion access in New York), and public opinion is turning against unrestricted “choice.”
According to Gallup, only 28 percent of the public now supports legalized abortion under any circumstances.
Not that anything much is changing. In different circumstances — like the 2012 Democratic Convention — Obama and others happily embrace the “right to choose,” if only to win over key voters. Even if Roe were overturned tomorrow, abortion would remain legal in every state in the nation, if more restricted in some.
On the other hand, even with Roe standing, it’s hard to find an abortionist in great swathes of America: Public opinion has driven them out.
At most, the Gosnell case will edge that opinion needle a hair to the right — since it’s a reminder that even legal abortion is an intrinsically hideous business.