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home : opinions : commentary December 17, 2014


5/22/2013 10:40:00 AM
Commentary
Gosnell case reignites abortion debate

Cal Thomas
Tribune Media Services


It was the pictures and riveting testimony that convinced a Philadelphia jury that abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was guilty of murdering three infants born alive following botched late-term abortions and also guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of Karnamaya Mongar, who overdosed on Demerol during an abortion at Gosnell's clinic.

How ironic that the Gosnell decision was delivered the day after Mother's Day.

The two-month trial has reignited the abortion debate. But while many states have managed to impose some restrictions on abortion clinics and establish informed consent laws and in some cases require a woman to view a sonogram before aborting an unborn child, abortion on demand for almost any reason and at almost any stage of pregnancy remains legal in every state.

Maybe you heard about the Gosnell trial, maybe you didn't. Big media (except for Fox) certainly didn't give it a lot of play. One big media outlet, ABC News, refused even to cover it until it was nearly over. According to the Media Research Center, "ABC went from March 18, 2013 (the trial's start) through Monday afternoon with no coverage. Yet during the same time, the network devoted a staggering 187 minutes (or 70 segments) to other shocking criminal cases, such as Jodi Arias and Amanda Knox." That's 56 days of zero coverage. Why the blackout?

Veterinary clinics appear better regulated than many abortion clinics in this country, but the cleanliness and age of the buildings and instruments isn't the point. It's the estimated 55 million children - and counting - who are denied their right to live.

Some pagan cultures of old practiced child sacrifice to appease ancient deities. What happened at Gosnell's clinic was a modern version of child sacrifice to our "god" of convenience and self-interest. In this case, as in all other clinics and hospitals that perform abortions, the practice is also for the purpose of appeasing the abortion on demand "gods" who champion "a woman's right to choose" rather than a child's right to live.

Choose what? Choose death over life, oneself over the life of an innocent? Why destroy a baby when there are thousands of loving parents out there willing to adopt a child?

"Former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania's 24-week limit," writes the Huffington Post, "that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants dispatched the newborns by 'snipping' their spines..."

This sounds like something out of a Nazi death camp. Yet our views on abortion, apparently, hold firm.

The Washington Post reports, "Views of abortion have remained steady for years and a recent Gallup poll showed that the Gosnell trial has not altered them. About a quarter of Americans said abortion should be legal in all circumstances, according to a poll conducted at the height of the trial. Twenty percent said it should always be illegal, and just over half said it should be legal in some circumstances."

All circumstances? Gosnell snipped the spines of aborted babies, many born viable at 24 weeks.

"Kermit Gosnell is the tip of the iceberg," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a nonprofit organization that seeks to eliminate abortion in the U.S., told the Washington Times. "There has been multi-state breakdown of oversight in the abortion industry, as well as the barbarism of abortions performed on children capable of feeling pain and surviving outside the womb."

Oversight, yes, but we also need a rollback on abortions, especially on late-term abortions. Viable lives should be saved.

The Gosnell trial should be a turning point in the abortion wars. Pro-life members of Congress should introduce legislation restricting abortion in the final trimester in all states. Abortion should again be an issue in next year's campaign for House and Senate seats. Tightly argued court cases should be brought before the courts so that the Supreme Court can begin to right the wrong of Roe v. Wade, a decision that even liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg now acknowledges could have benefited from some "judicial restraint."

The time has come. More babies and women can and must be saved.

Readers may e-mail Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com.

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• Thomas's abortion argument was incomplete


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