Warning: This article contains graphic language related to dismemberment, torture and death of human beings, including babies inside and outside the wombs of their mothers.
Maybe you’ve heard about the murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell who was convicted in May, 2013 of the murders of three infants who had been born alive in his duly licensed abortion “clinic” in Philadelphia, PA. Or maybe you didn’t, since the story was given scant coverage by most major news organizations (“Kass on the Gosnell Trial,” Daniel Halper, weeklystandard.com, April 22, 2013).
The babies Gosnell was convicted of murdering were born after he induced labor. After exiting the mother’s body, typically the baby’s spine was severed, killing the newborn. ” The baby he delivered alive at seven and a half months, for instance—then snipped its spinal cord, packed it in a shoe box, and joked that it was so big it could ‘walk me to the bus stop.’ ” (“To Live and Die in Philadelphia,” Joseph Bottum, weeklystandard.com, February 7, 2011).
Even though Gosnell was convicted on only three counts of murder, “This was Gosnell’s ‘standard procedure,’ according to the grand jury report. ‘These killings became so routine,’ in fact, ‘that no one could put an exact number on them.’ ” (“Barbarism in Philadelphia,” Jon A. Shields, weeklystandard.com, April 29, 2013).
While Gosnell was sentenced to three life terms for these killings, amazingly, if he had managed to kill the same babies in the womb, it’s unlikely he would have been convicted of murder. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down another ruling on the same day as the famous (or infamous) 1973 Roe v. Wade decision making abortion a constitutional “right” in the U.S.A. The second ruling, called Doe v. Bolton, sought to define the Roe declaration that abortion is permitted to preserve a woman’s health.
“Doe’s interpretation of the meaning of ‘health’ is so broad that it encompasses just about every possible reason — real or concocted — put forward by the woman and her doctor to legally justify an abortion up to and including the very moment of birth.
“In Doe, the court said: ‘We agree … that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.’
“So, ‘I can’t stand the thought of another baby in my life’ falls under Doe’s definition as legal justification. Affordability, being unmarried, plans to attend college or employment and the many other reasons — serious or superfluous — also are protected. Not just in the early months of pregnancy, but throughout. Maybe you would have a hard time finding a physician who would do a late-term abortion for superfluous reasons, but the point here is that the most innocent of human life is without any legal protections” (“40 Years of Roe and Doe,” Dennis Byrne, Chicago Tribune, January 22, 2013). To be fair, some states have legislated regulations to attempt to curb the more outrageous and frivolous excuses for late-term abortions, but others have not. How effective the restrictions are is open to question.
Pennsylvania’s current law permits abortion for any reason by any means during the first twenty-four weeks past the mother’s last menstrual period. In the last trimester of pregnancy, abortion is restricted only to cases when the life of the mother is seriously threatened or when pregnancy would result in irreversible impairment of a major bodily function (“Pennsylvania Abortion Laws”). Some pro-abortion groups believe Pennsylvania’s restrictions on third trimester abortions and similar laws in other states are unconstitutional (“Policies on Later-Term Abortions”).
The Gosnell case demonstrated that Pennsylvania’s restrictions on abortions had not been effectively enforced. The clinic had not been inspected by Pennsylvania’s health department for 17 years (1993 to 2010). It was only after the FBI raided the clinic on suspicion of illegal drug trafficking that the horrific nature of Gosnell’s practices came to light (“Why Was Gosnell Clinic Allowed To Continue?“).
What Is the Difference?
When asked by a reporter what is the difference between a late-term abortion and the Gosnell murders, several politicians or others supporting abortion could not — or would not — give a straight answer (for example see, “Pelosi Can’t Explain Difference Between Gosnell Slayings and Late-Term Abortions,” John McCormack, weeklystandard.com, June 13, 2013).
To her credit, however, abortion-supporting columnist Margaret Carlson acknowledged the phoniness of the “health of the mother” justification: “(A) … huge problem is how wide the ‘health of mother’ exception is. It can be anything — age, emotional health, financial condition. The loopholes are so large a nine-month pregnant woman could go through them.” But Carlson went even further: “And there’s almost no difference between killing a baby accidentally born alive in a late-term abortion, as Gosnell stands accused of, and killing the same baby in the womb, as more skilled doctors can do” (“Kermit Gosnell and the Horrors of Abortion,” bloomberg.com, May 1, 2013).
Another columnist, Kirstin Powers, writes, “One of the bodies discovered in the raid of the clinic was of a 22-week-old baby with a surgical incision on the back of her neck, which penetrated the first and second vertebrae. The only thing that would make her death illegal would be if Gosnell failed to finish her off in her mother’s womb.” Powers goes on to say, “What we need to learn from the Gosnell case is that late-term abortion is infanticide. Legal infanticide. That so many people in the media seem untroubled by the idea that 12 inches in one direction is a ‘private medical decision’ and 12 inches in the other direction causes people to react in horror, should be troubling” ( “Abortion Rights Community Has Become the NRA of the Left,” Kirstin Powers, thedailybeast.com, May 6, 2013).
Some abortion supporters suggest late-term abortions are rare, but research indicates otherwise (see for example: “The Lesson of Kermit Gosnell,” John McCormack, weeklystandard.com, June 18, 2013). The story is little different in Britain. Several European countries highly restrict abortions performed after the twelfth week. “But in Britain, abortions performed for… critical health reasons accounted for only 2 per cent of the 200,000 abortions carried out last year.
“The overwhelming majority were carried out on the legal grounds that two doctors agreed that continuing the pregnancy would damage the mother’s physical or mental well-being. Small wonder, then, that some say the law is interpreted to allow abortion on demand. Very few doctors will refuse a woman who believes she can’t cope with the pregnancy or an unwanted child. And she can make that decision right up to 24 weeks of pregnancy” (“What Really Happens During an Abortion,” Deborah Davies, dailymail.co.uk, October 12, 2007).
Lies, Lies and More Lies
Be very skeptical of figures and “poll results” relating to public support for abortion or number of women whose “health” is threatened by laws prohibiting or curtailing abortion. Dr. Bernard Nathanson was an abortion doctor and a founder of an organization (National Association for the Repeal of the Abortion Laws, also called NARAL Pro-Choice America) which successfully agitated to have anti-abortion laws overturned by the Supreme Court.
He eventually came to abhor abortion as he learned more about prenatal (before birth) development. He describes the tactics his organization used to sway public opinion and overturn the laws against abortion:
We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal enlightened, sophisticated one. Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60% of Americans were in favour of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000. Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law. Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalising abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1500% since legalisation (“Confession of An Ex-Abortionist”: Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by The Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind, Bernard Nathanson).
Dismembering a Baby
A common procedure used to kill babies being aborted after the first trimester is called “dilation and evacuation” (D&E). The procedure is to insert a long toothed clamp into the uterus and literally rip the baby apart limb by limb, piece by piece. The remains of the mutilated and dismembered baby is often referred to euphemistically as “tissue,” or “products of conception.” A document from Planned Parenthood, said to be the largest single abortion provider in the United States, remarks that a shot may be injected through the mother’s abdomen before the procedure “to make sure that the fetus’s heart stops before the procedure begins” (website link here).
Dr. Anthony Levatino in congressional testimony demonstrated how this type of abortion is performed (link here). You can read a written transcript of his testimony for yourself (“TestimonyLevatinoHR3803”). As the procedure nears its end as he describes it, he remarks, “If you have a really bad day like I often did, a little face may come out and stare back at you. Congratulations! You have just successfully performed a Suction D&E abortion. You just affirmed her right to choose. You just made $600 cash in fifteen minutes.” At the time of this writing a graphic illustrating the procedure may be viewed at the National Right to Life website.
The claim that babies cannot feel pain until the end of the normal gestation period of nine months or near that time has been shown to be false by recent research. Dr. Sunny Anand, who has done extensive research on this question, states, “I believe that foetuses can feel pain very likely by 20 weeks of gestation and possibly even earlier” (“What Really Happens During an Abortion,” Deborah Davies, dailymail.co.uk, October, 12, 2007). Actually, babies may feel pain long before twenty weeks after conception, as some sensory receptors are present at approximately seven weeks after gestation begins. Links to scientific studies on the subject may be found at the doctorsonfetalpain.com website. See also the expert testimony on the subject of pediatrician K. S. Anand.
The hypocrisy of convicting an abortionist for murdering babies because they were located outside the uterus of the mother while pretending that killing the same baby inside the uterus is not murder ought to be obvious to anyone of normal intelligence. The lethal abortion of any baby, at any time, results in the death of a human person (cf. Genesis 25:23; Judges 13:5; Job 10:8-11; 31:15; Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:15, 41).
A “Fetus” Is a Person
Abortion supporters like to use the term “fetus” instead of baby for a human being who has not yet been “born,” that is, changed its location from the mother’s uterus to the outside world. Interestingly, the word “fetus” comes from the Latin fētus, defined as: “bringing forth of young, hence that which is born, offspring, young still in the womb” (dictionary.com; based on the Random House Dictionary).
While a baby not yet born, as the term is commonly understood today, may be in it’s mother, it is nonetheless a separate living person from the mother, and is so from conception. A human “fetus” is nothing less than a human being at an early stage of development. The fact that a baby at an early stage of development is dependent on its mother to continue to live makes it no less a person. Even after birth, the child will be dependent for survival on parents or others for some years to come. And yes, caring for a child nearly always involves all sorts of inconveniences and adjustments. Is this sufficient cause to kill him or her?
The former abortion doctor, Bernard Nathanson, wrote:
I am often asked what made me change my mind. How did I change from prominent abortionist to pro-life advocate? In 1973, I became director of obstetrics of a large hospital in New York City and had to set up a prenatal research unit, just at the start of a great new technology which we now use every day to study the foetus in the womb. A favourite pro-abortion tactic is to insist that the definition of when life begins is impossible; that the question is a theological or moral or philosophical one, anything but a scientific one. Foetology makes it undeniably evident that life begins at conception and requires all the protection and safeguards that any of us enjoy. Why, you may well ask, do some American doctors who are privy to the findings of foetology, discredit themselves by carrying out abortions? Simple arithmetic at $300 a time, 1.55 million abortions means an industry generating $500,000,000 annually, of which most goes into the pocket of the physician doing the abortion. It is clear that permissive abortion is purposeful destruction of what is undeniably human life. It is an impermissible act of deadly violence. One must concede that unplanned pregnancy is a wrenchingly difficult dilemma, but to look for its solution in a deliberate act of destruction is to trash the vast resourcefulness of human ingenuity, and to surrender the public weal to the classic utilitarian answer to social problems (“Confession of An Ex-Abortionist”: Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by The Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind, Bernard Nathanson).
More statements from various references illustrating that life begins at conception are available at this “link”.
Repeating the Past
There are many ways to deal with, and prevent, unplanned pregnancies. Murder should not be one of them.
In ancient societies the world over, unwanted children were routinely murdered. Citing various references, writer Christopher Price states, “In sum, there is no dispute among historians and informed laypersons: Infanticide was incredibly widespread in the ancient pagan world. Pagan society approved of the practice and encouraged it” (“Pagans, Christianity, and Infanticide,” Christopher Price).
Virtually alone among ancient pre-Christian societies, post-exilic Jews condemned infanticide (“Pagans, Christianity, and Infanticide,” Christopher Price). God had warned Israel not to practice the abominable customs of the nations around them — which included child murder (Deuteronomy 12:31). He warned that if they practiced the vile customs of the heathen, the land itself would vomit them out (Leviticus 20:22-24).
The ancient northern kingdom of Israel was eventually sent into captivity as foreigners plundered their land. Part of the reason was because they were murdering their children as they sacrificed to false gods (2 Kings 17:17; Psalm 106:37-42). Later, the southern kingdom of Judah was sent into captivity for similar crimes (Jeremiah 7:31-34; 19:3-7).
A day of judgment is coming likewise for our God-defying nations, and in their hour of calamity they will cry out to God, but he will not hear them. “And I said: ‘ Hear now, O heads of Jacob, And you rulers of the house of Israel: [ Is ] [ it ] not for you to know justice? You who hate good and love evil; Who strip the skin from My people, And the flesh from their bones; Who also eat the flesh of My people, Flay their skin from them, Break their bones, And chop [ them ] in pieces Like [ meat ] for the pot, Like flesh in the caldron.’ Then they will cry to the Lord, But He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, Because they have been evil in their deeds” (Micah 3:1-4).
As for the murdered innocents, God has not forgotten them. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15).
God allows evil, and he is now permitting human beings maximum freedom in choosing their own way, making their own choices (even to murder their own offspring). But he is watching. “He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see?” (Psalm 94:9). God himself is the advocate of the helpless and fatherless, and will save them (Psalm 35:10; Exodus 22:22-24; Deuteronomy 10:18).
All who have died will live again in a future resurrection. “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order…” (1 Corinthians 15:21-23).
No one should take matters into his own hands in the sense of doing harm to others. But all should be abhorred at what has become of our nations, in the bloodshed we are condoning in the name of “choice,” or whatever. God, judge of the living and the dead, offers mercy, and forgiveness of the most heinous of sins, to those individuals or nations who genuinely repent (Ezekiel 18:21-23).
But for those who continue to walk in the path of evil, there is this warning, ” ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
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