Abortion is the bitter pill that is too big for our nation to swallow. On the one hand, it’s been over forty years sinceRoe v. Wade, and the matter should have been settled long ago. On the other hand, Kermit Gosnell.
When the Supreme Court handed down Roe in 1973, Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the final opinion of the court, also wrote a memo to himself: It will be an unsettled period for a while. That while has now stretched over four decades and shows no sign of letting up. Yet it turns out that the Court decision lighted the fire of a pro-life movement that has proved extremely resilient. So much so that Time Magazine ran a cover story in January of this year with these words: 40 YEARS AGO, ABORTION-RIGHTS ACTIVISTS WON AN EPIC VICTORY WITH ROE V. WADE… THEY’VE BEEN LOSING EVER SINCE.
Surely, though, Time overstated things in order to sell copies at the newsstand. We live in an era of abortion. Over one million children are aborted annually in our country. We have come to rely on abortion as a means of birth control—and we don’t talk about its grim side effects. We also don’t want to talk about the reality that the vast majority of these abortions stop a beating heart and cause brainwaves to cease. And we have found that the line between prenatal testing of the yet-to-be-born and the quest for designer babies is a very thin line indeed. Today, for instance, over 90 percent of Down syndrome children are aborted. We no longer have room for less-than-perfect babies. In addition, sex-selection abortions are legal in the United States, and there is evidence that some parents abort if their baby is not the desired gender.
And then came Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell is the 72-year-old Philadelphia abortionist on trial for the murder of one woman and seven babies. The woman died from an overdose of Demerol, and the seven babies were, in fact, killed after they were born alive. The descriptions of Gosnell’s abortion clinic defy the imagination: the stench of urine, urine-splattered walls, cat feces and blood on the floor, and various parts of aborted babies displayed in jars. The practices of this abortionist are an affront to human dignity even as they are the logical extension of Roe v. Wade. The grand jury report that led to Gosnell’s trial begins with the following:
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…
Kermit Gosnell has put abortion in our face. He has brought to the forefront what we would like to leave behind closed doors. His heinous deeds are forcing us to look at what we don’t want to see. Lawrence Lader, founder of NARAL Pro-Choice America, once said, Abortion is central to everything in life and how we want to live it. But then there is the sound—snip, snip, as Gosnell himself described it—of the baby’s spine being severed. Harvard Law professor Lawrence Tribe, a strong proponent of abortion rights, called the abortion question a clash of absolutes. And he is absolutely right. On the one hand, a woman’s rights. On the other hand, snip, snip. On the one hand, freedom of choice. On the other, according to witnesses, the cries of the infants born alive and then murdered.
Andrée Seu Peterson is one of my favorite writers. She has been attending Gosnell’s trial and blogging for World Magazine. In a recent entry Peterson alluded to the clash of absolutes that the jury must sift through. She makes these points:
• If you kill a baby in the womb, it’s abortion, and you get well paid. If you kill a baby outside the womb, it’s murder, and you could face the death penalty.
• If a baby is born prematurely, you call him a “baby.” If he is the same age but still in the womb, you call him a “fetus.” (Geography matters.)
• If you kill a baby at 23-weeks-and-six-days gestation, it is legal. And if you do it enough times, you get to be called as an expert witness for the prosecution against a defendant who killed babies at 24-plus weeks.
• The same baby who is abortion jailbait at age 25 weeks is a woman’s civil right a few days earlier.
• If an aborted baby is accidentally born alive, slitting the back of her neck is first-degree murder, but giving her “comfort care … until it passes” gets you an invitation to be a star witness for the prosecution against Kermit Gosnell. (“Comfort care” consists of placing the baby under a cloth. The baby will eventually “pass,” but at least she will not catch a cold in the meantime.)
So why do I bring these things to your attention in the pages of Community News?
First, some of us simply need to know. Some of us are not into the news, and we have never heard of Kermit Gosnell or his house of horrors. We should know and we should care because we know and love the Creator of all life. As citizens of our country, who at the same time long for a better country (Hebrews 11:16), we should know what horrors are being perpetrated by abortionists who practice their trade.
Second, we need to talk. With Gosnell, the silent holocaust has at last become audible. We have an opportunity to seize the moment and talk with our friends and neighbors about the value of life. The testimony heard in this doctor’s trial has softened some who have been ambivalent about abortion rights. James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal, who called himself a representative of the mushy middle when it came to abortion, has been deeply moved by Gosnell’s trial. The testimony he has heard compelled him to write an essay for the Journal entitled From Roeto Gosnell: The case for regime change on abortion. America is becoming more pro-life as we move down the road fromRoe v. Wade. It’s a good time to gently persuade those individuals we have opportunity to talk with.
Third, we need to pray. God is not mocked. He sees the killings of the unborn, and he hears their cries. He will not long delay his wrath. We need to seek God’s forgiveness and ask him, repeatedly, to renew our nation spiritually. We need to pray that God will lead us to repentance lest we bear the consequences of our sins. Prayer is our most potent weapon in our spiritual battle. As Mordecai suggested to Queen Esther, I suggest to you: perhaps God has raised you upfor such a time as this. May God help us.