gosnell/lanzaPublic Domain/NBCIn a column for USA Today this week, Kirsten Powers calls out the media silence on the trial of an abortion doctor in Pennsylvania accused of botching abortions and murdering infants after they’ve been born. The trial, ongoing since March 18, has received scant attention in the mainstream media. That lack of attention certainly supports the notion of a media with a liberal bias. After all, the Gosnell case, quite unsurprisingly, has yielded an emotional response that pro-life activists can use to draw sympathy for their cause.

Jezebel points out the obvious, writing that “Gosnell doesn't represent or stand for abortion care in any way. Abortion, done right, is a safe medical procedure.” But this idea of a high-profile case drawing an emotional response, and the attempt to use that emotional response to drive a policy debate, ought to be familiar. Jezebel’s statement, after all, could just as easily have read: “But Adam Lanza doesn't represent or stand for gun ownership in any way. Gun ownership, done right, is a safe practice.” Jezebel notes that "fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients ever experience a complication that requires hospitalization,” according to a pro-abortion rights group. But even according to anti-gun statistics, there were only 33,000 gun-related deaths in 2011 for 300,000,000 guns owned in the country (fewer than .00012 percent). The violent crime rate in the U.S., in fact, is approaching a historical low.

The case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, horrific on its own, is not helpful as a stand-in or argument in the wider debate about abortion and reproductive rights (because what he did is already illegal), just as the case of Adam Lanza, horrific on its own, is not helpful as a stand-in or argument in the wider debate about personal safety and gun rights (because what he did is already illegal).