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Abortion clinics are viewed by many as bastions of women’s rights, proud defenders of reproductive freedom. But is there any real difference between Gosnell’s victims and the invisible millions.
Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell has been convicted of the murder of three babies born alive at his inner city abortion clinic. Gosnell’s grisly use of scissors to sever the spinal cords of babies born alive initially escaped headline media attention until an op-ed piece in USA Today1 forced the national media to give Gosnell’s trial the attention it merited.
Sentenced to life in prison without parole in lieu of the death penalty, Gosnell’s guilt for pithing living babies like laboratory frogs illustrates the very problem highlighted by Florida legislative committee hearings in which Planned Parenthood fought legislation to protect babies born alive.
In order to convict Gosnell of illegally murdering the babies, prosecutors had to show that he and his employees used their scissors despite clear evidence they were still alive. Challenging the evidence that the victims were alive, Gosnell’s defense attorney Jack McMahon said that it’s “ludicrous . . . to say a baby is born alive because it moves one time.”2 Philadelphia district attorney Seth Williams said, “I will not mince words. Any doctor who cuts into the necks severing the spinal cords of living, breathing babies, who would survive with proper medical attention, is a murderer and a monster.” Testimony showed that Gosnell commented one of these babies was big enough to “walk to the bus.” Accused in the deaths of seven babies, Gosnell stands convicted of homicide in three, including a baby 30 weeks along and another that showed signs of life 20 minutes after delivery, at which point an employee killed him/her.
Gosnell was also convicted on numerous counts of abortion law violations and of his role in the death of a 41-year-old woman who died due to an overdose of drugs administered in his clinic. Gosnell’s employees, including his wife, will be sentenced later this month.
Yet while Gosnell and his employees are to be held accountable for murdering three babies born alive, no one is held accountable for the legalized murder of millions extinguished without a cry or a breath.
Even while Gosnell’s trial was underway, President Obama reassured Planned Parenthood that the abortion industry is secure. Speaking for twelve minutes at a Planned Parenthood National Conference, the President said, “Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. . . . I want you to know that you’ve got a President who’s going to be with you fighting with you every step of the way.” Obama never mentioned the 333,964 abortions performed in 2012 at the industry leader’s facilities. Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman Mat Staver, said, “President Obama’s deafening silence about the Gosnell infant-killing atrocities, combined with his fundraising speech at Planned Parenthood, show that President Obama is more willing to defend Planned Parenthood than women and children.”3 Legislation forcing taxpayers to fund abortions through ObamaCare’s Affordable Care Act is rooted in the same principle of death. Ironic that the president and so many others were outraged (appropriately) at the murderers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the finish line of the Boston Marathon yet are in total support of the 6,000+ babies murdered in their mother’s wombs in the United States on just those two days.
Unlike the President, the national media finally gave Gosnell’s gore the attention it deserved after being shamed out of silence. However, the media’s initial complacency in the case reflected the collectively seared conscience that has characterized America in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade opened the Pandora’s box of abortion in the United States.
But why is it only the images of big cherubic babies being nearly beheaded that get our attention? Should we not be equally enraged over the millions being aborted before they are quite so big? Should we not be enraged over the millions intentionally brought into the world too young to survive for the crime of being unwanted? Why is it only the untimely deliveries of babies that manage to utter a cry for help that make the headlines? Millions of babies killed before they cross the threshold into the air the rest of us breathe are the abortion industry’s “successes.” Is infanticide really that different, or, as Gosnell apparently thought, just another “success” in “freeing” those women from responsibility to those inconvenient children?
Several states have recently passed legislation to place legal limits on abortion to the extent allowed under Roe v. Wade, and abortion rights activists are, not surprisingly, fighting those laws. And despite the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act,4 Florida’s Planned Parenthood representative maintained that the decision about what to do about a “failed abortion” should be left to the physician and patient (meaning only the mother—apparently the baby, once outside the mother and alive, is clearly still not seen as a patient by the Planned Parenthood spokesperson in this clip).
The absurdity and inconsistency of shifting gears from seeking a baby’s death to fighting for its life is reflected in Gosnell’s abominable actions. The Florida Planned Parenthood representative’s “shocking” comments captured on video actually reveal the truth that euphemisms about “health care” and “choice” and “privacy” and “reproductive freedom” are meant to conceal: the entire abortion industry is devoted to death.
As columnist Matt Barber recently remarked, commenting on the reaction shown by many on hearing about the Gosnell case, “Why are we surprised that an abortionist and his staff would, behind the walls of an always-lethal abortion clinic, commit one of the most horrific serial killings in American history? What did you think abortionists do, heal people?”5
Sadly, that is exactly what many people in our culture, now inured to death, think abortionists do. Abortion clinics are viewed by many as bastions of women’s rights, proud defenders of reproductive freedom. But is there any real difference between Gosnell’s visible victims and the invisible millions “successfully” aborted in the United States since Roe v. Wade in 1973, not to mention those in the rest of the world? How did we become such a culture of death?
Generations have been taught from an evolutionary perspective that humans are just animals. Is it any wonder that many see killing a baby in the womb as no different from killing an animal? God called to account not only the ancient Canaanites but also those Israelites who imitated them because they sacrificed their children to the Canaanite god, Molech. The same God is looking down on this culture of death and will surely hold our “enlightened” modern cultures accountable for the destruction of millions of children before they see the light of day, sacrificed to the god of sex and selfishness.
While we continue to seek legal protection for the unborn, we should encourage those around us to “choose life” in another way. Jesus Christ is the Creator of life and the Savior who gave His own life to redeem us from the sin-guilt all of us bear (1 Timothy 1:15). If we are to have any hope of persuading the people of America and other nations to stop selfishly sacrificing the unborn, we must ultimately show people they can trust the Savior and Creator (Colossians 1:16–17) from whom all life—physical and spiritual—comes. Let us prepare ourselves to explain the hope we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15) and pray that many will indeed choose life. And those who truly love the Savior and Creator of life should love and defend those He loves, including the unborn (Psalm 139:13–18) and men and women deceived by the lies of evolutionist and abortionist propaganda.
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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.