In May 2013 Dr Kermit Gosnell from Pennsylvania was found guilty of three counts of first degree murder of three children intended for abortion but born alive and then murdered, and one count of involuntary manslaughter for failing to properly look after a woman who had gone through an abortion. Even some hardened pro-abortion people admitted that the whole business was grisly in the extreme. Apparently one of the aborted children was so big that Gosnell quipped that he could ‘walk me to the bus stop’. Photos were shown to the jury which depicted babies with wounds in the back of their necks. In effect, they had been beheaded – which is a major news item if performed by a jihadist but not if performed by an abortionist. In addition, the severed feet of aborted babies were kept in jars in the clinic. In two decades, Gosnell’s clinic had performed something like 40,000 abortions, and made the doctor quite a rich man.
The first thing to note about this appalling business is that the mainstream media in the USA by and large ignored the Gosnell trial until it was forced to cover it. On other issues we have come to expect media hysteria, but in this case there was a silence that was more yellow than golden. Somewhat sheepishly, the New York Times admitted four weeks into the trial, on 15 April 2013, that ‘after an online furor that the case was being ignored by the national news media because of troubling accounts of late-term abortions reporters from major newspapers and television networks descended … on the Court of Common Pleas.’
At the time of writing, Hazel Hawke has just died, and is being lauded – almost canonised – in the mainstream Australian media partly for having had an illegal abortion so that her future husband could pursue his studies. It is not a conspiracy as such but an overwhelming expectation that people who work in the media will favour practices such as abortion and homosexuality.
The media routinely show pictures of people who have been hacked by swords or blown apart by bombs, but in 2005 when Evangelicals for Life made inquiries about paying for an advertisement in one of the major newspapers, both of the ones which we contacted put obstacles in our path. Yet we only planned to show the well-known picture of young Samuel Armas being operated on in the womb by a surgeon who was saving his life, not destroying it. Squeamishness is rather selective, it seems.
The Gosnell case reveals the state of much of Western society. It is lost without a compass. Cigarette packets warn that ‘Smoking can harm unborn babies’. No doubt it can, but abortion does more. Planned Parenthood even has an advertisement: ‘Your baby will thank you.’ This can only mystify anyone who retains any capacity to think. Hazel Hawke defended her abortion by asserting that it was the only rational thing to do. There is nothing rational about Planned Parenthood’s slogan.
In 2012 two Victorian doctors advocated what they called ‘after-birth abortion’. Planned Parenthood representative, Alisa LaPolt Snow, told the Florida Legislature that if a child was aborted but survived the abortion, the decision as to what to do with the child should be left up to the woman, her family, and physician. We have been manoeuvred about by slogans to the point where critical standards have almost collapsed around us.
Ultimately, Gosnell’s ‘crime’ in the eyes of the state was that he was unsuccessful in killing the children in the womb, so he resorted to doing it outside the womb. If he had succeeded in the first place, he would never have been charged. Peter Singer has long argued in favour of infanticide because the distinction between the child in the womb and the child outside is not enough to warrant the law’s protection. His logic is impeccable; his ethics are frightening.
Speaking generally, we no longer see life as guarded by the commandment ‘You shall not murder’. It is now determined by the desire of someone else. That is what pro-choice means. It is not liberty; it is tyranny. The Victorian and Tasmanian governments have taken away the right to object to abortion. The state is now taking God’s place as the lord of the conscience.
There is no argument in favour of abortion which is not also an argument in favour of infanticide. Back in the sixth century B.C. God told Jeremiah why He used Babylon to destroy Jerusalem. One of the many reasons is particularly pertinent to this issue: ‘And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My mind. Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Topheth, because there is no room elsewhere’ (Jer.7:31-32). Hopefully, there are those with ears to hear before it is too late.