If youâ€™ve been following along with my Blogging from A to Z posts, you might have noticed I skipped right over the letter K. Hereâ€™s the thing. I was ready to publish a post about kenosis and kerygma (sounds like a barn burner, no?), but I just couldnâ€™t shake a different K-word. Kermit, as in Kermit Gosnell, the doctor currently on trial in Philadelphia for first and third-degree murders. If you are not familiar with the case, hereâ€™s a graphic synopsis from theÂ grand jury report of the charges he faces.
â€œThis 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.â€
If you havenâ€™t heard a thing about this case, you arenâ€™t alone. While listening to a Catholic radio program on Friday, I heard many listeners call in and report a complete lack ofÂ awareness of Dr. Kermit Gosnell and this story. Truthfully, while I consider myself well-connected to pro-life news and had a general awareness of Kermit Gosnell, I still had to spend time familiarizing myself with the horrid details of this story.
Many journalists frustratedÂ with the apparent media blackout of this case made some noise this week, rightfully so (see stories like this one in USA Today or this one in Patheos Get Religion). Self-labeled Republicans and Democrats alike also asked why the Gosnell murder trial wasnâ€™t Page 1 news. So a concerted effort took place on Friday via social media outlets to put pressure on mainstream media to report this story. As Iâ€™m writing this, I believe ABC, CBS, and NBC have yet to cover it. Let me give credit to where credit is due — CNNâ€™s Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper both made Gosnell the lead story on their programs Friday evening.
So it appears, praise God, the story is starting to leak into the mainstream by trickles of news coverage. Okay, but so what? What good will it do if more people are simply aware of the hard, grizzly truths of this story?
Letâ€™s not downplay the importance of media attention, even in small doses. Silence on this issue helps to normalize the behavior, as if these things are just to be expected. What is normal about infant beheadings, severed baby feet in jars, or a child screaming after being delivered alive during an abortion procedure? The sad fact is this behavior may not be that far out of the ordinary in the abortion industry, and it must be exposed. Just look at the words Anderson Cooper used to describe this case (video here):Â
- House of horrors
- Filthy medical clinic
- Women and children paid the price
- Killing viable fetuses
- Criteria wasnâ€™t health or life of mother
- Killed healthy babies
- Gruesome to think about
- Horrifying, sickening
- Live delivery and killing of a baby 7-Â½ months old
Please God, more people will recognize these truths for what they are and maybe, just maybe, we can build consensus that the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which extends legal protection to an infant born alive after a failed attempt of an induced abortion, is a fair and just law that preserves the freedom and dignity of the most vulnerable persons. Anyone else find it maddening that this canâ€™t be assumed in the Land of the Free? But we must not assume this because there are politicians, most notably the current President of the United States, who voted against a similar bill while serving in the Illinois state senate. Â Â
With consistent enforcement of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, and coverage of the Gosnell case speaks volumes on the necessity of such a law, we can then advance the conversation and ask what may be the key question in furthering the legal protection of unborn babies:
Whatâ€™s the fundamental, substantive difference between a baby born alive from a botched abortion versus a viable baby aborted in the motherâ€™s womb prior to delivery?
Thatâ€™s the point on which hearts and minds must be converted. Building a culture of life has to begin with building consensus across the ideological spectrum that in a civilized society the most egregious cases should not and will not be tolerated. The Gosnell case has the potential to do just that. Maybe we can finally bring some sanity and reason to a discussion shrouded in rhetoric, myths, and lies for far too long. Please pray with me this is precisely what happens.Â