For most of us, the death of a child is our worst nightmare.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was so singularly gut-wrenching because the victims were mostly young children. Likewise, news reports about the Boston Marathon bombing emphasized the fact that, of the three people killed, one was an 8-year-old boy – as if to highlight the uniquely great loss of a child.
In the world of crime, one of the most incomprehensible acts is baby murder. We’re outraged at the widespread sex-selective infanticide of newborn girls in China. And news headlines like “Georgia boys face murder charges after cold-blooded killing of infant being strolled by mother” and “Black teens murder white baby for the fun of it” cause us to shake our heads and wonder, How could anyone possibly sink so low?
Many murders of babies – almost half, according to the Justice Department’s National Criminal Justice Reference Service – occur within the first 24 hours after birth, so-called “neonaticide.”
Of course, appalling crimes like these have always have been a part of life in this fallen world – a world of good and evil, of decent and indecent people, where moral outrage is kindled within all good souls by the murder of the innocent.
However, parallel to this moral, rational world exists yet another world – an amoral, irrational one rooted in deepest denial, and constructed over several decades with great effort and ingenuity. We’re talking about the realm of … well, what shall we call it? Every official label – “abortion,” “choice,” “women’s health,” “reproductive freedom,” “pregnancy termination,” “voluntary miscarriage” – is a fragile euphemism designed to obscure a dark reality.
That reality, stated objectively, would be: the premeditated killing of human babies residing inside their mother.
In this strange parallel world, the same killing of a baby that in the real world outrages us and results in prosecution, prison and possibly execution, is mysteriously transformed into a “medical procedure” and “constitutional right,” provided for and fiercely defended by a multi-billion-dollar industry and all the powers of government – and funded by taxpayers.
These two worlds collided spectacularly in the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
As everyone who followed the 2013 trial knows, Gosnell’s clinic, despite its dignified-sounding name, “Women’s Medical Society,” was actually a “house of horrors” more reminiscent of the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele than a legitimate medical practice. Here’s the grand jury’s summary:
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. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.
The grand jury’s report is horrifying not just for what it reveals about Gosnell’s crimes, but because it documents that a lot of what was later universally condemned about Gosnell’s abortion business had been known throughout the Pennsylvania regulatory agencies for years – but no one lifted a finger to stop it.
The sun started to shine on all this when the case went to trial. Eyewitness testimony painted an otherworldly picture of a Nazi-like torture clinic, with one Gosnell employee saying “it would rain fetuses – fetuses and blood all over the place,” and another recalling one baby expelled alive into a toilet and observing the infant “was like swimming” and “trying to get out.”
For a “mainstream” press overwhelmingly skewed toward “reproductive rights,” it was stunning when top news organizations from the New York Times to the Washington Post suddenly proclaimed their outrage over Gosnell’s abortion crimes and the lack of news coverage.
“Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure,” wrote liberal Democrat and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers in an impassioned and widely read USA Today column. “Haven’t heard about these sickening accusations? It’s not your fault,” she explained:
Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page. The revolting revelations of Gosnell’s former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart.
Likewise, the Atlantic, as “mainstream” and elite as media organizations get, headlined its report decrying lack of national press coverage, “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story.”
Its dramatic sub-headline summarized the whole sordid tale: “The dead babies. The exploited women. The racism. The numerous governmental failures. It is thoroughly newsworthy.”
There was just one problem with this journalistic outrage over Gosnell’s abortion crimes: Virtually everything Gosnell was accused of doing occurs routinely in other abortion clinics throughout America.
“The dead babies,” intoned the Atlantic’s headline. Yes, the dead babies – close to 60 million of them so far since Roe v. Wade, including hundreds of thousands of late-term abortions just like those babies “murdered” by Gosnell and his employees.
“The exploited women.” Sorry, but exploiting women – scaring and pressuring them, pretending to care about them so they’ll buy the abortion, withholding life-and-death medical information about both the unborn child’s development and the adverse physical and psychological consequences for the mother, essentially conning them from start to finish – is the central operating principle of the abortion industry. If women were counseled with absolute honesty, candor and full disclosure, the number of abortions would plunge overnight. Moreover, abortionists’ routine exploitation of women when the “procedure” goes awry, as it often does, has resulted in death for many and permanent injury, trauma, sterility and soul-scarring heartache for countless more.
“The racism.” The left-leaning press, which somehow is more offended by racism than almost anything else in this life, complained about Gosnell’s “racist” double standard in treating poor minority women worse than he treated rich white women from the suburbs. Reality check: The abortion industry is one of the most racist enterprises in the Western world. Margaret Sanger, founder of the nation’s No. 1 abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, was an unapologetic racist and eugenics proponent who openly advocated for discouraging blacks and other “inferior races” from breeding. To this day, U.S. abortion clinics are set up predominately in areas with a disproportionately high black population, a fact documented repeatedly over the years.
“The numerous governmental failures.” Seriously? It’s not just the “failures” of the Pennsylvania regulatory authorities. Government at all levels, but especially at the federal level, for decades has overtly supported, enabled and protected the abortion industry in myriad ways ranging from providing taxpayer support to enacting laws prohibiting pro-life protesters from congregating anywhere near abortion clinics, legislation flagrantly violating the First Amendment’s right to assemble.
“So,” asked Mark Crutcher, founder and president of the Denton, Texas-based organization Life Dynamics, “why is everyone so upset over Kermit Gosnell?”
Along with other pro-life activist groups engaged in undercover work like Operation Rescue and Live Action, Life Dynamics has long specialized in exposing criminal abortionists.
“For years,” Crutcher told me during the Gosnell trial, “we’ve exposed one criminal abortionist after the other. But abortion proponents always say the offender is just a ‘bad apple’ and an ‘aberration.’ But when we expose hundreds of similar offenders, every one of them is still just a ‘bad apple’ in a barrel of good apples. At what point do we realize they’re all bad apples?”
One chapter of Crutcher’s book, “Lime 5: Exploited by Choice,” details three-dozen cases of abortionists (and references many more) who raped or otherwise sexually molested their “patients.” One of the abortion doctors, called a “predator in a white coat” by California’s deputy attorney general, was accused of sexually assaulting more than 160 women.
The collision of these two warring worlds in the Gosnell case – the real world where killing a baby is a capital crime, and the dream world where killing the exact same baby at the exact same age is a “woman’s fundamental right” – forces us to confront a peculiar question: Where did the killing occur?
Understand, the babies Gosnell was convicted of murdering were no older, larger, more viable, more human or more precious than other late-term babies aborted routinely over the past 40 years. It’s just that Gosnell pulled them out of their mother before killing them. Had he done exactly the same horrendous things (like “snipping” infants’ spinal cords) while the baby was still inside the mother, many who today express horror would have regarded it as just another late-term “women’s health procedure” that mother and doctor determined to be in her best interest.
How is this possible? Aside from legal restrictions imposed (but routinely ignored) by a few states, abortion in America under Roe v. Wade is legal from the moment of conception until the moment of birth, if the mother’s life or health is determined to be endangered. And “health” – here’s the giant loophole – is broadly interpreted to include both physical and mental health. That means late-term abortionists (with a cooperating second doctor) can, and routinely do, sign authorization forms claiming the mother risks becoming, oh let’s just say, “depressed” if denied the “procedure” or “therapy.”
To her credit, Powers forthrightly confronted this now-institutionalized mass delusion: “… [W]hether Gosnell was killing the infants one second after they left the womb instead of partially inside or completely inside the womb – as in a routine late-term abortion – is merely a matter of geography. That one is murder and the other is a legal procedure is morally irreconcilable.”
The existence of these two competing worlds, one based on self-evident truth and valuing human life, and the other on monumental selfishness and denial, is easy enough to explain – just as slavery was easy to explain (in terms of its supposed economic “necessity” in maintaining the giant tobacco and cotton plantations of the South) when it was an established practice in the United States.
America’s mass acquiescence to abortion is rooted in our devotion to what has become a near-sacred belief in total sexual freedom. However disastrously, we have determined as a modern, secular, post-Christian society that we have the absolute right to engage in sexual relations with whomever we want, whenever and wherever we want, and we repudiate any notion that we must take responsibility for the natural result of sex – which is children. Having committed so deeply to this proposition, it matters not how barbaric and inhuman abortion is, how many gorgeous children we see with their throats cut, heads cut off, chemically burned alive, brains sucked out or spinal cord “snipped” with scissors. We must allow for abortion-on-demand or our sacred right to total sexual freedom ceases to exist. That’s our current operating paradigm, without its clothes.
This is why, as an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama opposed the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act,” designed to prevent the killing of babies that, despite the abortionist’s “best efforts,” are born alive – in other words, it was crafted to prevent precisely the crimes for which Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder. But Obama took that extreme position because, once you start allowing for the restriction of abortion in even the slightest way, you are acknowledging the humanity of the unborn (or in this particular case, the born) child, and the whole abortion delusion is in danger of unraveling.
In the dream world of “reproductive freedom,” women are advised: “Had unprotected sex? Just take the morning-after pill.” A few weeks later, “Just take RU486,” and a few weeks after that, “Just have a suction abortion. It’s not a baby.” Yet with each passing week of gestation, the delusion becomes more difficult to sustain. For in just a few more weeks, suddenly anyone killing the same baby risks, like Kermit Gosnell, being branded a despicable child-murderer, prosecuted as a criminal and sentenced to life without parole. “Any doctor,” argued Gosnell’s prosecutor, Philly DA Seth Williams, “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.”
In a desperate attempt to reconcile these two opposing worlds, we endlessly draw magic lines – arbitrary points before which killing babies is a revered constitutional right, and after which it’s a monstrous crime. We create lots of these artificial lines – from “first trimester,” “second trimester” and “third trimester” to “heartbeat,” “20 weeks” and “viability.”
Of course, overshadowing all these magic lines is an even more arbitrary and irrational measure of infant humanity – namely, whether or not the parents want the child! One baby has inestimable value backed by the legal protection of the state solely because the parents want and love it, while another child of identical attributes and age, but whose parents don’t want it, is considered worthless medical waste.
Is this not a form of madness?
In reality – and every sentient adult knows this – life in the womb is a continuum of growth from the moment of fertilization to the moment of birth. There is no “magic line” before which destroying that life is perfectly fine and after which it is a depraved criminal act.
As the Gosnell trial proved, these two warring worlds – the world of love and life versus the world of selfishness and death – inevitably collide somewhere along this continuum. After all, putting aside Gosnell’s unsanitary clinic conditions, “racism” and other unseemly atmospherics, the only major difference between his and other abortionists’ killings was that his were visible – outside the mother where others could see it.
Do we really think Gosnell’s “snipping” of infant spinal cords is somehow different or worse than the 11,000 other late-term abortions every year in today’s America? Is “snipping” more inhumane than forcibly ripping apart human babies limb from limb, or chemically burning them alive with intrauterine saline and other lethal chemicals, or – as in the recently outlawed intact dilation and extraction (“partial birth abortion”) procedure, pulling the living baby feet-first into the birth canal, except for the head, stabbing the base of the baby’s skull with surgical scissors, inserting a tube into the wound, sucking out the baby’s brain with a suction machine (causing the skull to collapse) and delivering a now-dead baby?
How can we have the gall to express horror at Gosnell’s abortions, but not toward the multitude of other equally abominable but legally sanctioned killings that have scarred and bloodied our nation for more than four decades?
Maybe the Gosnell trial was just a convenient catharsis for “pro-choice” Americans, including the “mainstream media,” an opportunity to safely take out their pent-up guilt over abortion on one “bad” doctor without endangering all those “good” abortion clinics they dream exist.
Abortion has always been a cosmic collision waiting to happen: In the same society where we are righteously outraged at child murder, we fervently embrace child murder.
When the world of reality collides with the dream world of desperately held illusions, extraordinary things happen. In the after burn of the Gosnell trial and society’s rare moral condemnation (the “bad doctor” got three life sentences for multiple first-degree murders of babies), both good and evil were mysteriously turbocharged.
The Gosnell verdict was handed down May 13, 2013. Just four weeks later, on June 11, the Texas legislature took up consideration of Senate Bill 5, explicitly drafted to prevent the kind of horrors Gosnell had committed by banning abortions past 20 weeks gestation, i.e. late-term abortions. Exceptions for the life and physical health of the mother were included, and public support was strong.
However, our once-unified nation has become a place of warring opposites. Where light shines, the darkness also rages – and the brighter the light, the more angry and unhinged the rage grows.
Thus, two weeks later on June 25, then-state senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat, engaged in an 11-hour filibuster (wearing a urinary catheter so she could stay the course) to block passage of the late-term abortion bill before the midnight end of the Texas legislative session.
The big media (who had just finished condemning Gosnell) loved it, with the Associated Press reporting: “Thousands of people watched it live online, with President Barack Obama at one point tweeting, ‘Something special is happening in Austin tonight.'” With the help of a raucous mob that would not allow representatives to record their votes by the legal deadline of midnight, Davis succeeded in blocking the bill’s passage – for a few weeks, anyway – later parlaying her newfound celebrity into an unsuccessful run for the Texas governorship in 2014.
Remarkably, Davis insisted that late-term abortion is, and I quote, “sacred.” In a post-filibuster speech at the National Press Club, she justified her actions to stop the late-term abortion ban by proclaiming, “I’ll seek common ground – we all must – but sometimes you have to take a stand on sacred ground.” In this, Davis was echoing top congressional Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who earlier had referred to abortion as “sacred ground.” While Pelosi called Gosnell’s crimes “reprehensible,” when a reporter asked her “what’s the moral difference” between what Gosnell did to babies born alive and aborting those same infants moments before birth, Pelosi refused to answer, resorting instead to one of her trademark insults to reporters: “I’m not going to have this conversation with you because you obviously have an agenda. You’re not interested in having an answer.”
To recap: That which just a month earlier had been universally condemned as “monstrous,” “sickening,” “revolting” and deserving of multiple first-degree murder convictions had now mysteriously become christened as “sacred ground.”
But that was just the beginning. After Davis’ filibuster foiled the will of the majority in the Texas legislature, Gov. Rick Perry, vowing his state would not succumb to mob rule, called for a special session the following month to pass the bill into law.
What greeted the new legislative session in July was unprecedented. Pro-abortion demonstrations can be hostile, but this was downright freakish.
While a pro-life speaker offered her public testimony celebrating life, and others sang “Amazing Grace,” supporters of late-term abortion attempted to drown out the pro-lifers’ hymn-singing by repeatedly chanting “Hail Satan!” as multiple videos document.
Then police confiscated bricks, tampons, pads, condoms, urine and feces that pro-abortion protesters allegedly intended to throw at pro-life lawmakers before the final vote on the late-term abortion ban. The Texas Tribune described the surreal scene at the state capital and what the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was forced to deal with:
DPS officials have been searching bags before letting people into the gallery, requiring them to throw away paper goods such as magazines, receipts, feminine pads and tampons. One DPS officer said authorities had been instructed by the Senate’s sergeant at arms to confiscate anything that could be thrown from the gallery at senators on the floor. She said they had already found objects such as bricks, paint and glitter in bags.
… DPS officers have thus far discovered one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint. All of these items – as well as significant quantities of feminine hygiene products, glitter and confetti possessed by individuals – were required to be discarded; otherwise those individuals were denied entry into the gallery.
Is it a coincidence – just weeks after the nation’s consciousness was penetrated by the searing realization that the cherished magic line between “abortion” and “murdering babies” doesn’t actually exist – that those desperately clinging to such delusions would grow even more frenzied as the truth tended to awaken the American mind? So frenzied that, just a few months later, a Wendy Davis supporter would throw a lit Molotov cocktail at a group of Christian pro-life women praying outside Austin’s Planned Parenthood.
Make no mistake, the truth about abortion is dawning – not just due to the Gosnell trial, of course. But because of the relentless advances in medical science, prenatal care and imaging technology such as ultrasound, and because of the tireless work of pro-life groups and individuals continually shining a light on the very dark reality of abortion and providing help to desperate women in need of genuine love and support – and because monumental denial must ultimately, sooner or later, give way to truth.
The shell of denial is cracking. During the 1990s, more Americans considered themselves “pro-choice” than “pro-life” by a huge 20-point margin, but today those numbers have largely reversed. As of 2013, repeated Gallup polling showed more Americans identifying as pro-life than pro-choice, and in 2014, a nationwide CNN poll showed Americans continuing to trend pro-life, with 58 percent – almost three in five – espousing pro-life views, i.e., that abortion should be legal under “few” or “no” circumstances. Only 40 percent of Americans say abortion should be “always” or “mostly” legal. Likewise, a quarter century ago, in 1991 there were 2,176 surgical abortion clinics in the U.S. Today, fully three quarters of them are gone, with only 551 remaining (medication-only facilities are down as well), and the decline has accelerated in recent years.
All of which demonstrates that when long-suppressed truth is effectively brought out into the sunlight – shining and sparkling for all to see – some people are warmed, comforted, renewed and liberated by it. Others, unfortunately, feel compelled to run away from the light, or worse, attempt to put it out, like the “pro-choice” woman who lobbed the firebomb from her car at the women praying in Austin.
Such people are lost in a very bad dream. As Operation Rescue president Troy Newman put it, even a peaceful prayer vigil can sometimes enrage abortion advocates because “it reminds them of the horrible day they took the life of their child.”
Indeed, let’s remember this is a national tragedy: Tens of millions of American women have undergone abortions, many of them severely traumatized, some physically, but millions mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Some, in great pain and remorse, face up to what they did and seek forgiveness and healing – and find it from a kind and merciful God. Others, for whatever reasons, go into total denial and defend – sometimes maniacally – what they did, because facing it honestly is not yet something they’re prepared to do.
The preceding is excerpted from David Kupelian’s most recent book, “The Snapping of the American Mind: Healing a Nation Broken by a Lawless Government and Godless Culture.”
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