Culture War

The Kermit Gosnell Abortion Trial, Gun Control and Heartbreaker Stories in the Media

How arguments shielding the Gosnell trial from use in the debate about reproductive rights work just as well for gun rights

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gosnell/lanza
Public Domain/NBC

In 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).

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  1. Jezebel points out the obvious.

    There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.

    1. “Obvious” knee-jerk reporting is all that Jezebel does. If they had done a thoughtful, in-depth report, then I would have been surprised.

      1. ….drawing an emotional response

        Has Jezebel or Fisting ….err….I mean Feministing of course, ever presented an article that that didn’t employ the “emotional response” in place of reasoned argument?

      2. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, mojo50.com

    2. If by “points out” you mean “obfuscates” by somehow attempting to pin the blame for Gosnells horrific practice on pro-life protestors then yes, they “pointed it out”.

    3. Of course the Jezzies are actively seeking to bury any comments from people who ideologically oppose them. Gotta love that liberal notion of diversity.

  2. “Abortion, done right, is a safe medical procedure.”

    For the woman getting the abortion. For the unborn child…not so much. And comparing this to gun ownership is pretty weak. Simply owning a gun doesn’t harm anyone. Abortion is an act of harming someone in and of itself. So the assessment really doesn’t hold up.

    1. agreed

    2. These weren’t even unborn children. They were god damn born and had their necks cut. It’s fucking infuriating and disgusting. I tend to go along with the “reasonable people disagree on this issue” thing but fuck that for abortions after viability.

      1. This.

    3. A little clump of cells isn’t a person. Sorry. I know you want it to be, but it’s not.

      1. That’s highly debatable, especially when you’re talking about the trimesters that feminists push to have abortion legalized in (third and PBA).

      2. These weren’t clumps of cells.

      3. A little clump of cells isn’t a person. Sorry. I know you want it to be, but it’s not.

        Actually, I wish it wasn’t. Then I wouldn’t have to consider the morality of abortion.

        Do you deny that it is human? An individual? Alive? Even though it has different DNA it is “part of the mother”? Warty isn’t what you would call a “person” either. Does that mean we should have the right to kill him?

        Can you point out to me when the “little clump of cells” becomes a “person”? One thousand cells, not a person, one thousand and one, a person?

        Is there a natural rights particle that enters the body clump of cells as it passes through the birth canal?

        1. Warty isn’t what you would call a “person” either. Does that mean we should have the right to kill him?

          This is pretty much perfect.

      4. You’re a big clump of cells. Whats the diff?

      5. It’s not a person until it has passed the Gom Jabbar.

        1. Heh, I did think about making a Dune reference.

  3. …Gosnell doesn’t represent or stand for abortion care in any way. Abortion, done right, is a safe medical procedure.

    Well, safe for everyone it’s supposed to be safe for. It’s hard to deny the striking lack of media coverage for a case with such potential for sensationalism. I mean, gun control is a contentious issue, too, but they don’t seem to be shying away from that. I’m pretty sure Powers is not anti-abortion, and even she can’t help noting it.

    1. Uh, I think Kristin Powers is a pro-life democrat. Plus she works for Fox news.

      1. I remember seeing her on Fox’s News Watch stating that she was pro-choice, but I could be misremembering.

  4. 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.

    This is a point I will have to re-use on my conservative friends who are jumping all over this case. Yes, it’s disgusting that this man severed babies’ spinal cords after they left the birth canal, but it does not represent abortion as a whole.

    Disclosure: I’m more or less pro-life, in that I don’t think abortion should be used as birth control when someone gets to the “oh shit, I’m pregnant. Who have I slept with recently?” phase. But outlawing it won’t make it go away (see: drugs, underage drinking, drunk driving, guns, ANYTHING BANNED IN HUMAN HISTORY)

    1. Yes, it’s disgusting that this man severed babies’ spinal cords after they left the birth canal, but it does not represent abortion as a whole.

      Isn’t that how all partial-birth abortions are performed?

      1. Yes, HM, it is. Strange how the killing of a “fetus” is A-OK but five minutes later it is murder.

        But outlawing it won’t make it go away (see: drugs, underage drinking, drunk driving, guns, ANYTHING BANNED IN HUMAN HISTORY)

        Outlawing rape and armed robbery and murder have also not ended them. We should just go ahead and legalize.

        1. Strange how the killing of a “fetus” is A-OK but five minutes later it is murder.

          Where are these legal 5-minute-before abortions happening?

          1. In any abortion mill offering 3rd trimester abortions in a jurisdiction where that is legal.

          2. Um, dude?

            How about 5-minute after abortions?

            http://www.politisite.com/2013…..-abortion/

            1. Yeah, I read about that. That’s sickening. And then she tries to dance around it by saying “I don’t know”. She sure knew just a few seconds before!

      2. Done right, the head doesn’t leave the woman’s body alive. These were “botched” because the whole baby “clump of cells” escaped the birth canal before they could kill it.

    2. Poland’s experience with its ban on abortion seems like strong evidence to me that anti-abortion laws can greatly reduce the number of total abortions performed.

      1. Prohibition reduced the number of alcoholic drinks imbibed, but it didn’t make it go away.

        1. I’d debate that — I have not seen Prohibition-related data, but according to T Sowell in his followup to “Basic Economics”, the drop-off in alcoholism corresponded to pre-ban cultural trends.

          This is not at all the case when it comes to abortion in Poland, which was orders of magnitude higher pre-ban.

          Can’t speak for other pro-lifers, but I’m not looking for perfection so much as for rights-respecting protection with corresponding reasonable outcomes.

      2. I dunno one way or another, but an article I skimmed on the subject claims that Poles just go to other countries where it’s legal.

        1. Some do, but from what numerical data is available the number of Poles who travel abroad for abortions/obtain illegal abortions is a small fraction of those who obtained abortions before the ban was in place. Below are some links that are illuminating on that subject:

          http://www.johnstonsarchive.ne…..ndlaw.html

          http://www.johnstonsarchive.ne…..oland.html

  5. I started reading the details on that Gosnell case a few days ago and began weeping. Horrifying.

  6. 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.”

    Fair enough, and certainly anti-abortion groups are pushing this story. But most of the people I’ve seen online are pushing it because of the really outrageous behavior of the media. This is a the kind of story the media usually eats up due to its sensationalism. The only explanation for the media’s complete lack of coverage is their left-leaning bias.

  7. I suspect that the show “Glee” won’t be making an episode about a character Gosnell killing infants the could have been singers in their little club.

  8. Of course the MSM was all over the shooting, but very silent about the abortion. Which I suppose is the point

  9. “…botching abortions and murdering infants after they’ve been born.”

    “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), …”

    I’m not so sure that Planned Parenthood would agree with you on that one:
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/…..12198.html

    1. because what he did is already illegal

      Because anything that the government declares “legal” is also without question moral? Ed would have fit in quite well in a certain European country.

    2. Fuck, I hadn’t read the link.

      Big surprise, Planned Parenthood believes that Gosnell simply provided a service which they would like to see legalized. But don’t try to connect the “post birth abortions” with the other kind cause they are like, totally, different.

  10. When I heard about this, I had to just NOT visualize it. It’s too horrific.

    People suck.

    1. I tried not to, but could not help it. I have a grandbaby in the house and hold, touch, and look at him daily. The thought of doing anything whatsoever to harm him or any like him makes my skin crawl and my soul cringe.

      So, in the article Libertarian linked to, the PP woman implies that it is ok to snuff a kid that survives an abortion, I wonder how long after birth that applies? Minutes? Hours? Years?

      I think I know the answer, but I dont think she would like how I would apply her logic.

      1. I wonder how long after birth that applies? Minutes? Hours? Years?

        Life begins at a demonstrated competency in algebra

        1. Sounds like a plan.

  11. 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.

    Pathetic. Any chance there could be an intellectual response? You have already decided that anyone who disagrees with you is emotional? Clearly, although this man regularly ended the lives of unborn human beings one must be emotional to think that he would have little qualms about killing them moments later? Idiot.

    1. While I can have an intellectual argument about abortion, it is a subject that is difficult to extricate from emotion. It’s like expecting an anti-septic debate on the Holocaust or slavery: the best one can expect is that emotions surrounding the topics will be sufficiently tamped down to discuss the issue rationally.

      1. Clearly, considering the ad homs I had to throw in, I don’t either. What pissed me off was the implication that somehow Ed’s position was pure reason and his opponents positions purely emotional.

  12. You write, “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).” It’s true that this case is not representative, however as David Weigel points out in Slate, there IS a political scandal here – the grand jury investigators wrote that investigators were negligent in inspecting the facility and that they failed to follow up on complaints against the facility.

    1. +1 pair of scissors

    2. It’s worse than that, even. Pro-choice types actively fought abortion mills being regulated like hospitals, and people whose responsibility was to keep places like this safe turned a blind eye to it. This has led to the farce where the school nurse can’t give your daughter an aspirin but can take your daughter to a place like Dr. Gosnell’s where her life quite literally is in danger.

  13. I think the real difference between the Gosnell case and Sandy Hook is that the emotional response provoked by the former raises questions in a way that the emotional response provoked by the latter does not. That is, exactly why are we so horrified that these infants were delivered before they were killed, when there are any number of people willing to defend late-term abortions? As the Powers article suggests, the difference is merely “geography”; biologically, there is no meaningful distinction between a 30-week-old fetus and a 10-week-premature infant. Therefore, if we are outraged by Gosnell, oughtn’t we also be outraged by “legitimate” forms of abortion that accomplish the same thing, but on the other side of the birth canal?

    Sandy Hook raises no analogous questions. In that case, Lanza’s actions were horrifying, but there is a clear moral difference between the specific way in which he used guns and the “legitimate” ways they can be used–slaughtering children is evil even if those children are not in the physical location of a school, for example. Which is why the argument from emotion in the Gosnell case has at least some legitimacy that the argument from emotion with regard to guns does not.

    1. seans88:

      Interesting comment.

      RE: “Therefore, if we are outraged by Gosnell, oughtn’t we also be outraged by “legitimate” forms of abortion that accomplish the same thing, but on the other side of the birth canal?”

      Yes, and I think this is a significant reason for the near media blackout: they do not want the unwashed masses to think about the details of late-term abortions. During the debate over the procedure referred to as “partial-birth abortion”, the pro-abortion side did everything possible to hide, obscure, or ignore the details.

      I believe it was Justice Scalia, writing about the liberal view that America needs to be more like Europe, who observed that most European countries do not allow abortion on demand after the first trimester. After that, the woman needs to present a medical reason. Apparently our European cousins have already considered the difference between a 30-week-old fetus and a 10-week-premature infant, and they decided to protect both as citizens.

      [For the sake of full disclosure, I am pro-choice.]

  14. “Abortion, done right, is a safe medical procedure.”

    Unless you are the baby, then it is usually fatal.

    1. But if it’s not, hey, we can take care of that.

      *shudder*

      I find it all horrifying.

      1. Planned Parenthood and other groups are lobbying against a Florida law that would require doctors to try and save the life of a baby that survives an abortion attempt.

  15. Inducing live births and subsequently severing the heads of the babies is indeed a horrific story that merits significant attention. Strange as it seems to say it, however, that understates the case.

    For this isn’t solely a story about babies having their heads severed, though it is that. It is also a story about a place where, according to the grand jury, women were sent to give birth into toilets; where a doctor casually spread gonorrhea and chlamydiae to unsuspecting women through the reuse of cheap, disposable instruments; an office where a 15-year-old administered anesthesia; an office where former workers admit to playing games when giving patients powerful narcotics; an office where white women were attended to by a doctor and black women were pawned off on clueless untrained staffers. Any single one of those things would itself make for a blockbuster news story. Is it even conceivable that an optometrist who attended to his white patients in a clean office while an intern took care of the black patients in a filthy room wouldn’t make national headlines?

    1. But it isn’t even solely a story of a rogue clinic that’s awful in all sorts of sensational ways either. Multiple local and state agencies are implicated in an oversight failure that is epic in proportions! If I were a city editor for any Philadelphia newspaper the grand jury report would suggest a dozen major investigative projects I could undertake if I had the staff to support them. And I probably wouldn’t have the staff. But there is so much fodder for additional reporting.

      There is, finally, the fact that abortion, one of the most hotly contested, polarizing debates in the country, is at the center of this case. It arguably informs the abortion debate in any number of ways, and has numerous plausible implications for abortion policy, including the oversight and regulation of clinics, the appropriateness of late-term abortions, the penalties for failing to report abuses, the statute of limitations for killings like those with which Gosnell is charged, whether staff should be legally culpable for the bad behavior of doctors under whom they work…

      There’s just no end to it.

      To sum up, this story has numerous elements any one of which would normally make it a major story. And setting aside conventions, which are flawed, this ought to be a big story on the merits.

  16. Why I Didn’t Write About Gosnell’s Trial–And Why I Should Have

    by Megan McArdle

    “…The truth is that most of us tend to be less interested in sick-making stories–if the sick-making was done by “our side”.

    “Of course, I’m not saying that I identify with criminal abortionists who kill infants and grievously wound their patients. But I am pro-choice.

    “What Gosnell did was not some inevitable result of legal abortion. But while legal abortion was not sufficient to create the horrors in Philadelphia, it was necessary. Gosnell was able to harm so many women and babies because he operated in the open.

    “Moreover, as Jeffrey Goldberg points out, this has disturbing implications for late-term abortions. It suggests that sometimes, those fetuses are delivered alive. Worse, it hints at what we might be doing inside the womb to ensure that the other ones aren’t. I don’t think that this affected my thinking, since I don’t support late-term abortions of viable infants unless the mother’s life is in danger. But I understand why pro-lifers have their suspicions.

    “I could also offer Kliff’s defense, that this is a local crime. But George Tiller’s murder was also a local crime….”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/a…..trial.html

    1. Oh, fuck her.

      She didn’t write about maybe the biggest crime of the century because it is tangentially related to a political issue she’s in favor of.

      “…The truth is that most of us tend to be less interested in sick-making stories–if the sick-making was done by “our side”.

      That’s because most people are completely immoral. And apparently that includes McArdle.

      1. She didn’t write about maybe the biggest crime of the century because it is tangentially related to a political issue she’s in favor of.

        Right? The guys a racist serial killer who abused poor women including teenagers.

        1. They’re throwing all their victimology under the bus for the sake of abortion.

      2. She didn’t write about maybe the biggest crime of the century because it is tangentially related to a political issue she’s in favor of.

        I sure am glad to have another mind-reader here at Reason.

        That’s because most people are completely immoral.

        Because “This makes me ill, I don’t like thinking about this” is a moral wrong. Glad you’ve cleared that up for us.

        1. Meg McArdle says it in her OP. No mind reading required.

          1. Yeah, saw that when I read through a second time.

        2. I sure am glad to have another mind-reader here at Reason.

          I retract this. It’s pretty clear from her comments that she felt uncomfortable writing about it in part because of the relation to abortion. I stand by the other part of my comment, however.

        3. “I sure am glad to have another mind-reader here at Reason.”

          Um…

          “…The truth is that most of us tend to be less interested in sick-making stories–if the sick-making was done by “our side”…Moreover, surely those of us who are pro-choice must worry that this will restrict access to abortion: that a crackdown on abortion clinics will follow, with onerous white-glove inspections; that a revolted public will demand more restrictions on late-term abortions; or that women will be too afraid of Gosnell-style crimes to seek a medically necessary abortion.

          She pretty clearly is admitting that part of the issue is that she agreed with the pro-choice side politically.

          Because “This makes me ill, I don’t like thinking about this” is a moral wrong.

          That’s the excuse she uses, and it’s a horseshit excuse. You don’t need to read the grand jury testimony and get into the gory details to admit that this happened. She’s trying to deflect blame for not covering the story, but her deflection is ridiculous. She wrote about the Newtown shooting. Why precisely could she write about children getting gunned down but not about the Gosnell trial? Surely if it’s just because violence ‘makes her sick’ she wouldn’t have been able to write about either.

          1. I don’t think it’s bullshit to say something makes her feel ill.

            I don’t think it’s “deflecting” to say that she should have covered it and didn’t because of her biases.

            If you haven’t noticed, this case is a LOT more gory and explicit than the Newtown case, precisely because of the nature of the crimes involved. I never heard any commenters react the way they are to this story, because descriptions of shootings are a lot less explicit than descriptions of babies’ body parts being cut off.

            1. I never heard any commenters react the way they are to the previous story

            2. I agree. The more apt comparison is to something like Abu Gharib, which was covered to no end by the media.

              I don’t follow McArdle, so I don’t know if she avoided that story or not when it broke.

              1. I’d heard something of the story before, but only the part about the feet. It was creepy enough when that was all I knew. Until I saw that detail again, I didn’t realize it was the same case I’d heard several weeks ago. It got some coverage before, but not very heavily. The previous stories didn’t have all these details.

                1. It’s ghastly, even if you leave out the details about infanticide and abortions.

                  1. She’s a reporter. I don’t think ‘this instance grossed me out, therefore I didn’t do my job’ is a legitimate excuse.

                    1. I didn’t say it’s a good excuse, but I don’t think it’s some sort of horrible unforgivable thing either. I don’t think it makes her a bad person, I just think it makes her flawed.

                      I also don’t think she’s using it as an excuse. She flat-out says she should have covered it. An excuse is an attempt to show why the person isn’t to blame. Now this is an excuse:

                      [A] site search for that reporter ? who is named Sarah Kliff ? and stories Akin and Fluke and Komen ? yields more than 80 hits. Guess how many stories she’s done on this abortionist’s mass murder trial.

                      Did you guess zero? You’d be right.

                      So I asked her about it. Here’s her response:

                      Hi Molly ? I cover policy for the Washington Post, not local crime, hence why I wrote about all the policy issues you mention.

  17. The parallel of Adam Lanza might work…*if* Lanza was a state-certified professional whom state inspectors ignored over several years despite their obligation to inspect his premises, as opposed to a random kook.

  18. Some thoughts:

    First, while it’s true that abortion services in developed countries are generally safe for the women seeking them out, that is not always the case in all countries (especially developing countries).

    Second, while Adam Lanza is not a good example of a gun owner, he is an example of a criminal. Likewise, though Gosnell is not a good example for the pro-life crowd in terms of safety of the procedure for women in developed countries, the effects of the abortions which he performed on the child itself are comparable to abortions in the third trimester in the states where such abortions are allowed.

    1. Second, while Adam Lanza is not a good example of a gun owner, he is an example of a criminal.

      Correct me if I am mistaken, but Adam Lanza was not even an example of a gun owner. The guns used in the killings were stolen from his mother, whom he murdered. Did he actually own any firearms of his own?

  19. ” 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.”

    Uhm, like, that’s totally like an unfair comparison. BECAUSE *GUNS* KILL PEOPLE! CHILDREN PARTICULARLY!!! WHY DO YOU WANT CHILDREN TO DIE??

    Abortions, on the other hand… well… uhm…. GUNS ARE BAD!@!

  20. WaPo touched on it in an op-ed:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..inions_pop

    And followed it up with a closer look at reader comments:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..fanticide/

    1. “Recently two bioethicists, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, published a paper in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Ethics entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” They wrote: “[W]hen circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible. ? [W]e propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus ? rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be.”

      In fairness, how much of a reasoned distinction can you make between killing a bab-I mean fetus in the womb and attempting to kill it in the womb, failing, and then giving it a *coup de grace* to finish it off? No wonder so many “ethicists” are OK with it, including of course that dude at Princeton whom we’re asked to believe is an outlier.

      1. [W]e propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus

        After-birth abortion is double plus good!

        1. Then would not any murder be an after-birth abortion?

          1. I would call it infanticide since it specifically designates the type of person being murdered.

            1. Actually, I was asking if killing at any age could be considered after-birth abortion?. Think of this as semi-sarcastic….

              1. What staggers me is the blatant newspeak those two are engaging in. They basically say ‘we are trying to change the words used purely for propaganda purposes.’ How can you say that without any sense of shame?

              2. What staggers me is the blatant newspeak those two are engaging in. They basically say ‘we are trying to change the words used purely for propaganda purposes.’ How can you say that without any sense of shame?

                1. I don’t necessarily disagree with their position, but yea the the blatant newspeak is a pretty creepy. Just call it what it is.

                  1. err i think it’s doublespeak actually.

                  2. You don’t disagree with their position that murdering babies is OK?

        2. Doesn’t the term abortion (euphemistically) refer to the pregnancy, rather than fetus? So it wouldn’t be correct anyway, as there is no pregnancy to abort after birth.

      2. I would argue that, if there is any test as to whether a hominid is a person or a soulless replicant, whether they will butcher a baby (and I do mean something recognizably baby-like, not an embryo) is probably it.

        As such, most of these ethicists aren’t really persons so much as clumps of cells. Certainly, were I on a jury for someone accused of murdering one, I would have to take that position.

      3. So, I know that pro-lifers like to compare abortion to slavery. How does it feel to have found your Simon Legree?

      4. “Ethicists” are consistently some of the most evil people out there.

        1. SAT prep time.

          Ethicist : Ethics ::

          A) Vivisectionist : Animal
          B) Constitutional Scholar : Constitution
          C) Burglar : Home Security
          D) Woman : Logic

          Show your work.

    2. “Okay. As reasonable as everyone is being, and as good-hearted as the commenters seem to be today, if it’s all right with everyone PostScript is going to crawl under her desk for the rest of the day and feel sad.”

      A perfectly human response…but as a journalist interested in public policy, do you draw any conclusions from all of this? Any policy conclusions other than the need to crawl under your desk?

  21. ” 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.”

    That’s not even an apt comparison. Guns don’t in of themselves kill people. They’re just tools.

    Abortion is intended specifically to terminate life. What Kermit Gosnell was doing was simply a type of abortion that we do not find morally and socially acceptable.

  22. The Pro-Life side has long had to deal with its worst possible publicity; a deranged fool killing an abortionist or bombing a clinic. And when it comes up The Pro-Life advocates quickly divide into those with some semblance of moderation, who denounce the killer, and those without.

    Now the Pro-Choice people are having to deal with what must be close to their worst P.R. nightmare. And from what I’m seeing on the WEB they aren’t handling it well.

    Let’s face it, people, this case is too gross, too clear a case of exactly what the Far Right has always claimed about the Abortion Industry. You can’t attack the people demanding that the case be front page news without looking like you are defending Kermit Gosnell. It simply isn’t possible. You are going to have to let the other side whoop and holler for a while. And if you don’t want this played out again sometime in the future, you are going to have to figure out some way to police the abortion clinics. Not only do you have to keep this from happening again, for the sake of your own agenda, if you don’t set up inspections and regulation, your enemies will.

    1. Regulation doesn’t fix the problem that at the end of any successful abortion, there’s a dead embryo or fetus — and that when you’re talking about a 6-month old fetus, you’re talking about something that looks, sounds, and acts an awful lot like a newborn.

      Pro-lifers can deal with the question of terrorists the same way anyone else deals with questions about vigilante justice.

      Pro-choicers who favor the sort of unrestricted abortion laws favored by feminists and PP have an altogether different question to ask which impacts the procedure that they would like to perform.

      1. I don’t believe that a fetus is human. I’m not totally convinced that a newborn is human. I think humanity is something that grows. BUT, I don’t think that I can prove my opinions to be truth. I also don’t think that anybody else can, or that anybody can prove the opposite.

        With my first post I am simply wanted to point out that the Pro-Life side has to face certain facts; this case is a mess. It is a black eye for their side, and there isn’t too much they can do about it.

        1. A fetus is a human whether you believe it or not. You meant to say person there.

          1. No. I encounter too many bald apes in their 20s who aren’t human and show no signs of developing humanity. I don’t mean person, I mean human.

        2. Human/humanity. You’re comparing the summer to the city.

        3. I don’t believe that a fetus is human. I’m not totally convinced that a newborn is human. I think humanity is something that grows.

          That’s a logically consistent position but one not necessarily shared by the American public.

          The average American believes a very illogical thing: that a newborn is a human and that a fetus is not. Leaving aside the embryonic stage (that should be its own debate), a fetus corresponds quite closely to a newborn.

          IMO this debate won’t end until Americans either broadly agree with you that newborn is a liminal stage on the way to humanity, or until they agree with me that, at the very least, all levels of human development from fetus onwards are in some intrinsic way part of “humanity”.

          1. I doubt people are going to come to agreement. This will become less of an argument as viability is pushed further forward with artificial womb technology.

            1. I hope you’re right about that.

              An artificial womb would resolve many of these problems for the better.

              1. “An artificial womb would resolve many of these problems for the better.”

                definitely along with a cheap/safe way to sterilize the natural ones. This would solve many more problems than just the abortion debate as only people who want kids would have them, reducing abuse, poverty and the further consequences those already unpleasant experiences bring like criminal activity.

          2. I agree with apatheist that the word person should replace human as a fetus is scientifically a human, and in my opinion not a person. Personhood comes with increased consciousness, and fetuses and possibly newborns are less conscious than a pig. So they would have similar rights like not being tortured, but can still be killed as they have no concern for the future. You can pretty much insert an IMO after every sentence here.

        4. Re: C.S.P. Schofield,

          I don’t believe that a fetus is human.

          What’s a fetus, in your mind? By what concept is your thinking operating?

          I’m not totally convinced that a newborn is human. I think humanity is something that grows

          Equivocation is forever, instead.

        5. I’m not totally convinced that a newborn is human.

          What about retards and minorities?

          There are many people who don’t consider many other people to be human.

          If that’s an excuse for murder, we owe Hitler an apology.

          1. Smart does not equal human. I know several ‘developmentally challenged’ people (my supermarket hires them) who are human; kind, charming, helpful, moral, and ethical. And in my area bald apes passing as human are likelier to be white trash than black, brown, or what-have-you.

        6. What else is that foetus gonna turn out to be? A cocker spaniel?

          The only black eye here for the Pro-Life forces is that this modern day Mengele was shut down 17 years ago when they stopped inspecting his clinic.

    2. Here’s the problem with this: (a) advocating regulations on abortion clinics will “give aid and comfort to the anti-choice forces” blah blah and make it easier to adopt additional restrictions, (b) I’m not sure if the choicers can actually endure a relentless scrutiny of their abortion clinics, since the doctors who specialize in abortion, apart from some zealots, tend to be the scrapings of the medical barrel and hence vulnerable to any regime of strict inspection.

  23. Speaking of trials, can anybody explain to me why everybody seems to care about the Jodi Arias case so much?

    1. Because it is a classic case of the victim being put on trial.

      1. The dead victim?

  24. Dude seems to be talking a LOT of smack over there.
    http://www.AnonNow.tk

  25. Abortion, done right, is a safe medical procedure.

    I don’t understand the difference, unless the mothers of those dead babies were also injured or died – they still underwent “safe medical procedures.”

    Why is Jezebel suddenly so interested in differentiating these cases from other abortions if the concept of an abortion is to get rid of the baby? In either case, the result is the same: an ex-pregnant woman.

    I sense there’s shame in the Force.

    1. The mothers were also injured, and at least one died.

      1. Re: Nikki makes the sign of a tsp,

        The mothers were also injured, and at least one died.

        Indeed? Because the online journalistic note only mentions only one (1) mother who died because of anesthesia intoxication, something that falls under the category of malpractice but not necessarily murder.

        Instead, he clearly murdered those babies. I’m asking again: What’s the difference? Why is Jezebel trying to categorize the result as something that is not a “real” abortion, if the point of an abortion is to kill the baby in order to have a non-pregnant woman? Is Jezebel as well as those in the Pro-Choice camp unwilling to face the fact that abortion is indeed MURDER?

        1. Go read some of the other stories, like those on the Atlantic. I’m pro-life too but this goes even beyond just the babies being murdered. This guy and that place were way fucked up.

          1. According to Bill Clinton and thepro-choicers, abortion was supposed to be “safe, legal and rare.” One of three ain’t bad for progs.

          2. Amazingly, just because abortion was decriminalized, caring, competent, compassionate people with consciences didn’t start doing abortions. What happened was the sociopathic vermin who used to labor in the shadows under fear of prosecution just came out and set up their butcher shops on street corners.

  26. When my daughter was pregnant with my first grandchild everything went great until her twenty-ninth week. Suddenly she broke out with a terrific rash and two days later her doctor induced. My grandson didn’t survive labor. The baby I held wasn’t a fetus or a clump of cells-he was a child. You can believe whatever you wish, I am adamantly pro-life. If anyone deserves the death sentence it is Gosnell does.

    1. I understand. My daughter just went through a very difficult pregnancy, where she was on complete bed rest for the final few months because they had to actually prevent her from going into labor too early. Thankfully, she made it through ok, and I have my first granddaughter. So happy about that, and that my daughter didn’t take the easy way out and abort her.

      I consider myself a big L libertarian, and so does most everyone that knows me. But I get a very disturbing bad vibe about this issue.

  27. Abortion, done right, is a safe medical procedure.

    It’s kind of hard on the fetus.

  28. All I know is that if I thought millions of children were being legally murdered every year, I’d do a bit more than argue the philosophical ramifications of that murder on the internet.

    It’s kinda scary to think that all these liberty oriented people would just sit around and have petty, back and forth arguments if millions of Americans were being murdered with the consent of the government.

    Unless they don’t really buy their abortion = murder premise.

    1. Did you read the case on this so called doctor?

      It’s sickening. Those people are monsters.

      I’m very libertarian, but I believe that at some point, an unborn child must be sentient. And I believe that soon, we are going to be able to prove that. At what point I don’t know. But these are cases where the child was already born. Clearly that is murder.

      If you believe that you can murder a sentient human, then how can you believe in the NAP?

      1. I’m not even talking about the fucking evil Dr. The Frog, jesus.

        I’m saying that when the government finally drags us off into camps and starts digging the mass graves, the most we can expect from people is to get on the internet and argue about it.

        1. They better get all the gunz first, or there might be more than arguing on the internet.

          1. Why would there be more than arguing. There are tons of well armed people that think millions of babies are being murdered, but all they do is argue on the internet.

            That’s why I don’t buy it.

            1. There aren’t all that many well-armed babies.

            2. GBN, you mentioned mass graves and camps.

              Adults, unlike unborn babies, might just try to defend themselves.

              Are you trying to confuse me, bro?

            3. um, for the same reason that there are millions of legally armed people in the country that think OJ murdered his wife and didn’t do anything other than argue on the internet and also think that Casey(whatever) murdered her child and we aren’t doing anything about that either other than blab on the internet. It’s because we respect the law. Just because we identify the moral consequence of an act (abortion=murder) doesn’t mean we then must act in violation of the moral construct we identify.

        2. I’m saying that when the government finally drags us off into camps and starts digging the mass graves, the most we can expect from people is to get on the internet and argue about it.

          Pretty much, yes.

          Everyone likes to pick on the poor evil Germans like they’re bad people or something, but when push comes to shove most are no different.

    2. It’s kinda scary to think that all these liberty oriented people would just sit around and have petty, back and forth arguments if millions of Americans were being murdered

      They would.

      Unless they don’t really buy their abortion = murder premise.

      Tell me, what the hell are you doing about the people born into North Korean slave labor camps? You just gonna sit around talk about it?

      What are you doing about Syria dude?

      What are you going to do when the next person dies in a SWAT raid? Just sit on your ass and have petty back and forth arguments with Dunphy?

      If you don’t go out and blow up the police station does that mean you don’t really mean that crap about civil liberties?

      1. Here’s the thing, millions of dead children is far and away worse than the stuff you mention.

        And it doesn’t even have to be armed insurrection. If I thought millions of Americans were being murdered that would be the only thing I’d base my politics around. I would at least be out protesting, raising money, and working for pro-life politicians. Come on man, if you truly believe that millions of children are being murdered the least you could do is get out in the political trenches or donate some money.

        If I were pro-life, a Santorum presidency with a solidly social conservative house, senate and supreme court would be what I’d be working for. Don’t you agree that that is the sort of government that the pro-life crowd should fight for (even the libertarian ones)?

        Being pro-life means either being a vociferous, vocal, active one-issue voter or being a blowhard.

        1. If I thought millions of Americans were being murdered that would be the only thing I’d base my politics around.

          Many of them are.

          As for others, I’m sure they’ve all got their own reasons.

          If you’re telling me because I’m not a single issue voter I don’t really believe what I believe, you’re a total jackass. If you’re one of those types of debaters, there’s no use in even talking to you since you’re going to insist on telling me what my own argument is.

          I would support and pursue a ban in South Dakota and dare the Supreme Court to enforce it, but chasing for banning it in a place like Illinois (where I live) without a sea-change in public opinion simply would not work. It would not save babies. They would kill them anyway. It would be unenforced (just like many of the laws currently on the books currently are).

          As a libertarian I would hope you can appreciate that the law does not make reality. It is the culture that must be addressed. Besides, all the pro-lifers in the country can’t elect a government full of Santorums even if they were willing. And even if they did, that’s like suggesting if the drug warriors really wanted to ban marijuana they would elect an entire government of Huckabees and get rid of pot once and for all.

          That’s fucking ridiculous, unless you’re inclined to utopian thinking.

        2. Also, let me say, you’re ignoring half my examples.

          You want to say swat raids aren’t as much of a problem.

          Do you really not give a rats ass about children enslaved in North Korea?

          Do you really not give a rats ass about genocide in the Sudan, or Rwanda?

          There is crazy awful shit everywhere in the world. Atrocity happens all the time. Atrocities just as bad as abortion. And they will continue to happen.

          And you will do jack shit about it, except (maybe, if it makes it tolerable) ignore them.

          That’s OK. There’s nothing you can do anyway.

          1. I actually had the exact same thought as GBN but I have to admit that you bring up some good points and I no longer consider that a valid criticism of the Pro Life people.

    3. We’re also mostly not arming up to kill thuggish cops and bring down foreign tyrannies. There isn’t much point in throwing your life away if you know you don’t have enough power to really change anything.

      1. Shit, should really refresh before replying.

      2. You can’t go out and volunteer as much of your time and money to pro-life causes then? You won’t die.

  29. Too bad one of those fundy wacko terrorists didn’t bust a cap in this state-licensed health care provider’s skull years ago. Of course then he’d be a martyr.But as the progtards like to say “if it saved the life of one child it would be worth it”.

  30. I wonder how much of the MSM’s lack of interest is due to the fact that Gosnell is African-American and his victims were poor folks. I think this would be getting a lot more attention if he were a white guy with suburban white ladies as clients, regardless of the touchy abortion aspect of the story.

  31. People, people. No one is advocating an all-out ban on abortion. All we want is reasonable, common-sense laws to prevent these horrible mass abortions that Gosnell committed. You slippery-slopers are all just a bunch of paranoid lunatics.

  32. 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.”
    ************

    sorry, but it isn’t ‘safe’ for the victim. to borrow from reports:

    …’was handed a screaming newborn with no eyes or mouth and asked to deal with it’.

    I imagine in most cases, the womb is used to muffle the sound of screams. I ashamed that you would condone this behavior upon a living being capable of living outside of it’s mother’s womb. You are just brainwashed, and you have my pity.

  33. The Gosnell case is relevant more broadly. The politicization of the abortion issue by the left means they resist all attempts to impose reasonable regulations and inspections on clinics. They fear the “slippery slope” in the same way right wingers fear restrictions on gun ownership.

    2 pro-life governors (Ridge and Rendell) in PA were instrumental in ending periodic inspections of abortion clinics. This created the sort of environment in which Gosnell operated in. Obama himself refused to vote for legislation that would force doctors to save a baby born alive after a botched abortion.

    That sort of extremism sets the table for abuse. It dehumanizes the baby to the point where murdering it after it is extracted is seen as morally equivalent to killing it in the birth canal.

  34. You should look at the comments on jezebel. It’s really sad, a majority are expressing more hatred at the pro-life proponents than they are Gosnell. Somehow reasoning in their minds that the pro-lifers have caused the situation because abortions are so hard to get that this was the women’s only option.

    1. Jezebel and her fans are obviously extremist abortion nuts who, for crass political reasons, consider an A Rating from NARAL more important than protecting women and children.

      How many more Gosnells must there be before we have the courage to stand up to the Abortion Lobby and pass Common Sense abortion controls?

      Who really needs third term abortions anyway? First and second term abortions should be sufficient for those who feel the need to terminate a pregnancy.

      Let’s not hear any extremist propaganda about government hands on anyone’s uterus. As Obama recently said, who really fears the government?

  35. Think of how many people would have known in the community that this was going on. All the rotating door of assistants over the 20 or 30 years and all the victims that would have gone home after work and told their families and then told their friends. Probably in the hundreds or maybe even thousands. Now think how many of them didn’t think it was worthy of reporting. In a culture where an abortion is reduced to just being a choice without moral consequence, this is what you get.

  36. There is one slight problem with your analogy. Every time an abortion is performed “safely” a baby dies; someone doesn’t die every time a gun is used.

  37. “Abortion, done right, is a safe medical procedure.” — in which the patient dies.

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