"The Gosnell conviction represents a major setback to Barack Obama's insistence the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy is absolute, extending even to situations where a baby survives an attempted late-term abortion," WND senior staff reporter and author Jerome Corsi said today after Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder.
The charges stemmed from the deaths of three babies born alive – then killed – in his Philadelphia abortion business.
In writing his 2008 New York Times No. 1 bestseller, "The Obama Nation," Corsi pointed out that Obama, as an Illinois state senator, argued the legitimacy of the abortion practices that are strikingly similar to the medical procedures that got Gosnell convicted.
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In 2001, Obama argued in the Illinois State Senate that a baby who survived a late-term abortion should have been killed, in deference to what Obama argued was a woman's absolute right to an abortion, such that no restriction must be placed on the right of a mother to abort her child.
The Gosnell murder conviction is certain to alter the terms of the abortion debate nationally, raising the issue whether a baby who survives a late term abortion has a right to life, Corsi argued.
In his current bestseller, "Bad Samaritans: The ACLU's Relentless Campaign to Erase Faith from the Public Square," Corsi points out the ACLU has championed abortionists as "heroes of the pro-life movement," an argument that the Gosnell case clearly calls into question.
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"Gosnell's conviction forces into the debate the question whether it is equally first-degree murder if the identical procedure of severing the spinal cord of a living fetus was performed inside the womb," Corsi said.
"Gosnell’s conviction would indicate the procedure was not a legal abortion, but first-degree murder, if performed on the same infant outside the womb."
The Gosnell conviction also is certain to energize pro-life activists in their efforts to establish the legal basis that a human fetus has the right to life as a "person" under the definitions of the 14th Amendment’s equal rights protections.
Jill Stanek's testimony
Obama had heard the testimony of Illinois nurse Jill Stanek, who testified before Obama's Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee. She related the story of an aborted Down syndrome baby who survived a late-term induced-labor abortion and was abandoned in the hospital's Soiled Utility Room because the baby's parents did not want to hold him.
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"I couldn't bear the thought of this child lying alone in a Soiled Utility Room," Stanek testified before Obama's committee in the Illinois senate. "So, I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived."
Fundamental to Gosnell's argument was that severing the spinal cord of a baby who survived an abortion was not infanticide.
The jury disagreed, finding in three of the four cases the infant was alive outside the womb, having survived the abortion attempt, before Gosnell terminated the infant's life by severing its spinal cord.
Obama argued for killing babies who survive abortions
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When Jill Stanek's testimony went public, the public outcry in Illinois led to the introduction of legislation designed to protect the lives of babies that survive late-term, labor-induced abortions.
On March 30, 2001, Obama was the only Illinois senator who rose to speak against the bill.
A transcript of the Illinois senate session has been archived on the Internet, complete with Obama’s comments as he made them that day on the Illinois senate floor.
Obama objected that if the proposed bill passed so that a mature fetus surviving a late-term labor-induced abortion was deemed to be a person with a right to live, then the proposed law would "forbid abortions to take place."
Obama further explained the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not allow somebody to kill a child, so if the law deemed the fetus who survived a late-term labor-induced abortion was a child that had a right to live, "then this would be an anti-abortion statute."
Not wanting to be the only Illinois state senator to vote against the bill, something Obama realized would be politically unpopular with his constituency, he took the easy way out and voted "Present."
In the Illinois senate, voting "Present" is the equivalent of voting "No," because a bill must have a majority counting only "Yes" votes to pass.
Obama votes for partial-birth abortions
In 1997, Obama voted in the Illinois senate against SB 230, a bill designed to prevent partial-birth abortions.
In a partial birth abortion, the baby is delivered feet first, so the head remains in the mother's womb, allowing the courts to maintain the baby has not yet been born. The doctor then uses surgical instruments to crack the back of the baby's skull, permitting a suction tube to be inserted, so the baby's brain can be removed from the body.
In the U.S. Senate, Obama voted against requiring minors who get out-of-state abortions to notify their parents.
The National Abortions Rights Action League, which prefers to represent itself more euphemistically under its acronym NARAL, gave Obama a 100 percent score on his pro-choice voting record in the U.S. Senate for 2005, 2006 and 2007.
At a rally in Jamestown, Pa., on March 29, 2008, Obama referenced his two daughters, then ages 9 and 6, commenting, "I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."
A blow to the radical pro-choice political left
"The Gosnell case also makes clear the dereliction of duty of politicians unwilling to inspect abortion clinics because they are afraid to draw the wrath of pro-choice activists," Corsi explained.
Pennsylvania's Department of Health has the responsibility for inspecting abortion clinics like the facility Gosnell operated.
The grand jury in the Gosnell case charged that in 1993, the Pennsylvania Department of Health quit inspecting abortion clinics for "political reasons."
As reported by CNN, the Gosnell grand jury further charged that former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican who supported abortion rights, stopped abortion clinic inspections because "officials concluded that inspections would be 'putting up a barrier to women' seeking abortions."
In the wake of the Gosnell murder conviction, state departments of health across the nation are going to have to step up inspections of abortion clinics, regardless of opposition from pro-life activists, Corsi argued.
"After the Gosnell conviction, no state health official can rest comfortably that abortion doctors are acting responsibly, unless the state has a history of rigorous health standards applied by abortion clinics operating in the state," Corsi said, stressing that the state health inspectors will also have to exercise diligence to make sure all restrictions against late-term abortions are being followed scrupulously.
"Murder is a serious business," Corsi emphasized. "Now that murder charges have been found to apply to abortion practices in Pennsylvania, no state should assume a health department trying to be politically correct can be assumed in the future to be free of criminal liabilities."
WND reported recently when the same subject arose in Florida:
A lobbyist for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion business in the United States, who said a doctor and a mother should be allowed to decide to kill a newborn who survives an abortion.
The Planned Parenthood comments came at a recent Florida legislative hearing from Alisa LaPoit Snow, who was opposing a proposal that would require a doctor to provide care to an infant whom an abortion failed to kill.
Lawmakers were stunned, asking the same question over and over.
"So, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I'm almost in disbelief," said Rep. Jim Boyd. "If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?"
"We believe that any decision that's made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician."
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the White House had no reaction to the issue, and when a reporter asked about Obama's opposition in 2003 in Illinois to a bill that would provide medical care for babies who survive abortions, Carney repeated Obama's statement that he thinks abortions should be safe, legal and rare.
In the Florida hearing, the same, or very similar, questions followed several times, as if the lawmakers could not believe the position advocated by Snow.
"You stated that a baby born alive on a table as a result of a botched abortion that that decision should be left to the doctor and the family. Is that what you're saying?" wondered Rep. Jose Oliva.
Snow didn't change her response.
"That decision should be between the patient and the health care provider," she said.
When one lawmaker suggested at that point the "patient" also would include the newborn, Snow responded, "That's a very good question. … I would be glad to have some more conversations with you about this."
The Weekly Standard reported that Snow diverted the conversation when another lawmaker specifically asked, "What objection could you possibly have to obligate a doctor to transport a child born alive to a hospital where it seems to me they would be most likely to be able to survive?"
She responded that in some rural situations "the hospital is 45 minutes or an hour away" and said "logistical issues" were concerning.
Wesley J. Smith wrote at National Review suggested the precedent would be unwelcome.
"If a baby born during a botched abortion can be killed, why not also an unwanted baby?"
He noted that he sees the controversy as "another indication that infanticide continues its slow movement toward respectability."
Stanek said the Florida bill states, "Infant[s] born alive during or immediately after attempted abortion is entitled to same rights, powers, and privileges as any other child born alive in course of natural birth; requires health care practitioners to preserve life and health of such infant born alive, if possible; provides for transport and admittance of infant to hospital."
And Rep. Marsha Blackburn called on the abortion industry giant to change that way of thinking.
"It is beyond question that babies born alive, despite being targeted for abortion, are entitled to full legal protection," she told Cecile Richards, chief of Planned Parenthood, in a letter.
"Any organization receiving taxpayer funding should not lobby in support of expanding abortions, especially controversial propositions like infanticide," she added.
WND has reported before on the idea of "post-birth" abortion, including when a Princeton "bioethicist" announced he'd allow the killing of disabled babies after they were born if that was in the "best interests" of the family.
Those comments came from Peter Singer, a controversial bioethics professor, who responded to a series of questions in the UK Independent several years ago.
WND had reported Singer believes the next few decades will see a massive upheaval in the concept of life and rights, with only "a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists" still protecting life as sacrosanct.
To the rest, it will be a commodity to be re-evaluated regularly for its worth.
Obama was a member of the Illinois legislature when he decided to not support a bill to provide medical care for newborns who survived failed late-term abortions.
Along about 2002, when Illinois was considering plan that apparently was similar to what Florida lawmakers were reviewing, he said: "I just want to be clear because I think this was the source of the objections of the medical society. As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child – however way you want to describe it – is now outside the mother's womb and the doctor continues to think that its nonviable but there's, lets say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they're not just out limp and dead, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. Is that correct?"
He continued, "Let me just go to the bill, very quickly. I think, as this emerged during debate and during committee, the only plausible rationale, to my mind, for this legislation would be if you had a suspicion that a doctor, the attending physician, who has made an assessment that this is a nonviable fetus and that, let's say for the purposes of the mother's health, is being – that – that labor is being induced, that that physician (a) is going to make the wrong assessment and (b) if the physician discovered, after the labor had been induced, that, in fact, he made an error, or she made an error, and, in fact, that that physician, of his own accord or her own accord, would not try to exercise the sort of medical measures and practices that would be involved in saving that child. Now, if – if you think that there are possibilities that doctors would not do that, then maybe this bill makes sense, but I – I suspect and my impression is, is that the medical society suspects as well that doctors feel that they would be under that obligation, that they would already be making these determinations and that, essentially, adding a – an additional doctor who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion. Now, if that's the case … and I know that some of us feel very strongly one way or another on that issue, that's fine, but I think it's important to understand that this issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births. Because if these children are being born alive, I, at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to make sure that they're looked after."
WND columnist Nat Hentoff has written on the subject.
"No previous president has been so radically pro-abortion as Obama, who, when he was in the Illinois Senate, voted three times against the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. The bill would have ensured that if a live baby fully emerged before an abortion was successfully completed, he or she was to be saved," he said.
"To let this legislation die would be an act of infanticide, but it did not pass while Obama was in the Illinois Senate. "
He continued, "State Sen. Obama insisted that the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act interfered with a woman's reproductive rights. But wanted or not, the child had been born, and preventing him or her from continuing to live was infanticide!"