Justice in Gosnell case, but what about the rest?


How many people will go to bed now thinking that “the rest of the abortions” are okay?


A couple weeks ago I wrote an op-ed for Live Action that got some unprecedented media attention. In the piece, I argued for Kermit Gosnell’s acquittal. I said that Gosnell deserves to be found guilty, but we don’t deserve to get to find him guilty.

I pointed out that our laws concerning abortion and the unborn have multi-personality disorder, and it’s morally incomprehensible to feel bad about killing a 25-week baby outside the womb, but fine about killing a 24.5-week baby inside the womb. Moreover, it’s ridiculous that the former is illegal and the latter isn’t.

This Monday, as you’ve probably heard by now, Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, among a plethora of other convictions. He now faces either life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

When I argued for Gosnell’s acquittal, I was expressing my firm belief that all babies deserve the right to life, whether they’re able to live outside the womb yet or not, and that there is no meaningful moral distinction between first-trimester abortion and third-trimester abortion, or for that matter between third-trimester abortion and infanticide.

I felt – and still feel – that Gosnell deserves to be found guilty. In fact, not being morally opposed to capital punishment, I believe he deserves the death penalty. But now that a verdict has been returned, though I know justice has been served in this case, I worry that we’ve still got a long way to go to justice for all.

The problem is, we’re still making a distinction between a baby who has exited the womb alive and a baby who is alive inside the womb. We’re still making a distinction about the age or “viability” of the fetus. We’re still saying this baby is okay to kill and that baby isn’t, based on arbitrary distinctions such as location.

I think of people who are fence-sitters on the abortion issue, or those who are pro-choice but haven’t given the issue much thought. In my experience, many people fall into one of those categories. Are they going to watch this trial and feel like we’re doing a good job making sure the “bad” kinds of abortion don’t take place?

Are those people going to turn off the TV and think, “Well, that Gosnell guy was doing abortions the wrong way, but he’s been caught. The system works, and most abortions aren’t like that anyway.” Are they going to snuggle down in their beds feeling like the one bad guy has been caught, and remain pro-choice?

In the scenario above, I’ve made the assumption that our imaginary friend has any clue who Kermit Gosnell is, which is something of a leap, considering that Gallup found this case to be “one of the least followed news stories” they had ever measured.

LeRoy Carhart is gleefully making Crock-Pot meat out of fetuses in Nebraska and Maryland. He butchered Jennifer Morbelli and Christin Gilbert to death. What about him? He doesn’t even get a trial. No charges were filed in the Morbelli or Gilbert cases.

What about all the other abortionists who don’t do third-trimester procedures or routinely kill mothers, but nevertheless make their living ending innocent human lives? Do they get a pass because the babies aren’t that big and their offices are clean?

The Kermit Gosnell verdict is a victory for life. No denying that. He’s a convicted murderer, and he deserves to be treated like one.

But if we hold Gosnell up as an example of monstrous behavior, are we inadvertently saying that abortionists who don’t have cat urine on their office walls or fetus feet in jars are “not that bad”?

I’m overjoyed that there was some justice in the Gosnell case. I just wonder what it will take to get justice for the rest of the more than a million babies who died that year, most of them legally; the rest of the women who died or were injured during abortions; the women who suffered depression and suicide as a result of their abortions; the fathers who had no say in the matter and still grieve; the women who were coerced or forced to abort.

We have a lot of work to do, because they all deserve justice.

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