Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gosnell: Drifting With the Current

Preface: This is a draft of a opinion article I'm hoping to submit to my college newspaper. Constructive criticism on structure, wording, content, etc. would be really, really appreciated - I really want to make this good!

Dr. Kermit Gosnell of Philedelphia may be the worst serial killer in American history. He has been charged with eight counts of murder – one for the death of a patient who was overdosed on his operating table, and seven for using scissors to cut the spines of newborn infants – but is suspected to have committed hundreds of similar killings. Federal drug agents raided Gosnell’s abortion clinic last year and discovered a “shop of horrors” – jars holding severed arms and legs lining the walls, blood on the furniature and floor, and a complete lack of sanitation.

More damning, the year-long investigation of Gosnell's abortion operation has uncovered evidence that hundreds of Gosnell’s patients had been born alive and even played with before Gosnell shoved scissors into their necks. Steven Massoff, a medical school graduate working at Gosnell’s clinic, testified that in approximately 100 cases, he himself cut spinal cords after seeing the babies breathe or show some other sign of life. Ashley Baldwin, a young employee at Gosnell’s clinic, testified that she had personally witnessed dozens of babies who were crying, moving, or breathing before their necks was severed.

However, according to CBS Philadelphia, Dr. Gosnell seemed confused by the murder accusations. During his arraignment last Thursday, he asked, “Is it possible you could explain the seven counts? I understand the one count because of the patient who died but not the others.”

We should probably excuse Dr. Gosnell for his confusion. Twelve states permit late-term abortions on-demand, at any time and for any reason. Many more allow third-trimester abortions of babies with abnormalities like Downs Syndrome. These abortions are generally now performed by injecting salt solution into the infant’s heart before delivering it, dead. For Gosnell, the distinction between this procedure and just killing the babies after delivering them apparently seemed superficial.

But while “killing, then delivering” is perfectly legal in a number of states, “delivering, then killing” is first-degree murder. And how the nation howled at poor Dr. Gosnell, who didn’t understand what all the fuss was about! Who's the real hypocrite?

Lynda Williams was a “medical assistant” at Gosnell’s clinic. According to Kareena Cross, another assistant, Gosnell had left a baby on the counter breathing and waving its arms for twenty minutes. Williams touched the baby and then slit its neck. Cross was asked why Williams did this, and answered, “Because the baby, I guess, because the baby was moving and breathing. And she see Dr. Gosnell do it so many times, I guess she felt, you know, she can do it. It’s okay.”

Cross’ line of thought is precisely where 38 years of sanctioned killings have brought us. We’re brought up watching people we respect commit murder, nice doctors and friendly nurses, and eventually we go numb to it all. With abortion, we let ourselves be swept along with the current. Don't think it doesn't happen - Dr. Gosnell’s staff let themselves drift along with infanticide.

Just because authority figures, friends, coworkers, and society at large claim something is perfectly acceptable (and convenient, to boot!) does not make it so. Remember the big ones – slavery, segregation, the holocaust – and also Gosnell’s shop of horrors. You’re all college students – stop, allow yourselves to think!

Something is rotten in America today. And sometimes it takes an extreme case like serial infanticide to make us wake up, take stock, and reflect on where we drifted past the line.

Go to for the Philadelphia Grand Jury’s full report.

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