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Roger L. Simon

GosnellGate: It’s the A-Word

April 13th, 2013 - 12:17 am

Conor Friedersdorf has written an excellent article in the Atlantic on the extraordinary case of 72-year-old abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell titled, “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story.”

For those who have missed it — and given Friedersdorf’s title apparently many have — Gosnell is a doctor who regularly performed late-term abortions that verged on, or really crossed the line into, infanticide in a veritable grand guignol of a mad abortionist meets Krafft-Ebing.

You can read the gruesome details in Friedersdof’s column, but here’s a taste:

Charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, Dr. Gosnell is now standing trial in a Philadelphia courtroom. An NBC affiliate’s coverage includes testimony as grisly as you’d expect. “An unlicensed medical school graduate delivered graphic testimony about the chaos at a Philadelphia clinic where he helped perform late-term abortions,” the channel reports. “Stephen Massof described how he snipped the spinal cords of babies, calling it, ‘literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.’ He testified that at times, when women were given medicine to speed up their deliveries, ‘it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place.’”

Yes, there are photos, if you care to look at them.  I don’t.

Friedersdorf gets to the crux of his article at the end when he asks why our normally scandal-hungry mainstream media has not covered this repellent but obviously newsworthy story.  He suggests it may have something to do with the fact that Dr. Gosnell is African American and was, allegedly, discriminatory toward his patients of color, treating them even worse than his Caucasian patients (a distinction without a difference, perhaps, in this case, since everyone was treated some degree of horrifically).  He also mentions that several government agencies are possibly culpable here, having not exercised proper oversight over a medical clinic perpetrating flagrant butchery under the most unsanitary conditions for decades.

These explanations may have had some minor validity, I don’t know, but Friedersdorf touches only briefly on what I am almost certain is the real reason this story is being given short shrift.

The trial of Dr. Gosnell is a potential time bomb exploding in the conventional liberal narrative on abortion itself.  This is about the A-word.

No feeling human being can read this story or watch it on TV without being confronted with the obvious conclusion — like it or not — that abortion is murder.

It may be murder with extenuating circumstances (rape, survival of the mother, etc.) but it is murder nonetheless.  Dr. Gosnell — monster though he is — has accidentally shoved that uncomfortable truth in our faces.

Pushing this case front and center in the media would change the national narrative on this subject.  (The current stats are here, via Rasmussen.)

I can give you two guinea pigs to prove this point — my wife Sheryl and me.  We were in the kitchen last night, preparing dinner, when we saw a short report of this story on the countertop TV.

Both lifelong “pro-choice” people, after watching only seconds, we embarked in an immediate discussion of whether it was time to reconsider that view.  (Didn’t human life really begin at the moment of conception?  What other time?) Neither of us was comfortable as a “pro-choice” advocate in the face of these horrifying revelations.  How could we be?

Yes, Dr. Gosnell was exceptional (thank God for that!), but a dead fetus was a dead fetus, even if incinerated in some supposedly humane fashion rather than left crying out in blind agony on the operating room floor, as was reportedly the case with one of Gosnell’s victims. I say blind because this second-trimester fetus did not yet have fully formed eyes. (Think about that one.)

So I don’t think I’m “pro-choice” anymore, but I’m not really “pro-life” either.  I would feel like a hypocrite. I don’t want to pretend to ideals I have serious doubts I would be able to uphold in a real-world situation.  If a woman in my family, or a close friend, were (Heaven forbid) impregnated through rape, I would undoubtedly support her right to abortion.  I might even advocate it.  I also have no idea how I would react if confronted by having to make a choice between the life of a fetus and his/her mother.  Just the thought makes my head spin.

Anyone who he thinks he knows how he would respond in these situations — and hasn’t — is doing nothing but posturing.

But I do know this: when it comes to social issues, I am more libertarian than ever.  I want the government out of our private lives as much, if not more, than I want it out of our financial lives.  And that’s a lot.

I trust people to make the right decisions on these personal matters for themselves, if they are allowed to have the proper information. The Gosnell case is an example where they were not.  The mainstream-media reactionaries (my favorite synonym for liberals, these days) did not want the public to see.  Indeed, they were too frightened to see themselves; too afraid their conventional wisdom would shatter.  What cowards.

Only Kirsten Powers on the left (if that’s what she is) has had the guts to confront this atrocity and demand it be reported. For that she deserves great praise. She has far more courage than I do, advocating for it here, because she brooks the rejection of her peers.

Of course it is those peers who should be hanging their heads in shame.  They have brought GosnellGate on themselves.

Also read: Pro-Life Supporters to Blame for Gosnell, Says Salon Writer

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Top Rated Comments   
David Weigel at admitted the truth:

Weigel: "Let's just state the obvious: National political reporters are, by and large, socially liberal. We are more likely to know a gay couple than to know someone who owns an 'assault weapon.' We are, generally, pro-choice. Twice, in D.C., I've caused a friend to literally leave a conversation and freeze me out for a day or so because I suggested that the Stupak Amendment and the Hyde Amendment made sense. There is a bubble. Horror stories of abortionists are less likely to permeate that bubble than, say, a story about a right-wing pundit attacking an abortionist who then claims to have gotten death threats....

"CNN ran hours of coverage and grainy video of a stranded Carnival cruise ship, a situation that inconvenienced many and killed none. How does a missing college student or an angry man in a TSA line become part of Our National Conversation? I don't know. I do know that a reporter in the bubble is less likely to be compelled by the news of an arrested abortionist."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The reason this story is not told, is that it not only does not fit the glass slipper narrative, it shatters it and leaves splinters in the unwashed feet of leftism.

I am personally anti-abortion and I fell "partially" into the category of..."let God decide who are the sinners and deal with them accordingly" for others and their choices.

Partially, because I always have felt that at some, not clear bright line, there was a day across "life's Rubicon"...that I simply thought man's law was involved...not simply God's law or free will.

Third trimester for sure. AFTER the child was born, is not only is hideously monstrous.

Leftists used to hide in the shadows. Now, with the help of their conspirators in the media, (as well as academia and Hollywood), they hide in plain sight. Often masquerading as "liberals". Something they most definitely are not.

NO "liberal" could snap the neck of a newborn and live with themselves. Because...they have a conscience. So, the truth needs to be scrubbed, sanitized and mopped up before it ever reaches them.

Leftists are ugly, brutish and thuggish. They are not compassionate, soft, tolerant, or peace-loving.

In refusing to report on this, the media are accessories after the murder. They are hiding material evidence from ..."liberals". They really don't care that non-leftists get or don't get this news. It's not being hidden from us. We don't matter. In fact,...we are the enemy.

Gosnell, and his case...ought to be named Death Knell. The bell tolls for thee and too many of us have asked not for whom...for too long.

But, having just come from three days of mourning the loss of a dear friend, the first of my closest inner circle of the past 40 years...I am in a mood to reflect on things that happen in "God's time".

Allowing leftism to dictate our "culture" without resistance due to their many powerful weapons of indoctrination, peer pressure and cultural over for me. Enough is enough.

I try to live my life as a fair man and a decent human being. I have flaws, frailties and be sure. But, I retain a conscience.

Abortion is not just the "slippery slope" that I once believed it was. In the "Death Knell" case, it is far beyond that. It is cold, calculated destruction of a precious gift of life. God gave us free will, so I defer to HIM to declare who is a sinner. And to forgive any and all that I may have committed, although none in this category.

But, at some point...we MUST speak. I can stay silent no longer.

Leftism, is the Death Knell of our culture. And the tolls for me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is the same old liberal story: principle vs. identity. Under that umbrella of identity, literally nothing is wrong as long as the proper identity does it: murder, flying planes into buildings, hate speech, flat out racial bigotry, homophobia, discrimination - nothing. Hell, such people get awards and rewards for it.

Identity politics is a world of deflection - blame, excuses, mitigation, bizarre theories about privilege, conspiracies to prevent racial diversity, coulda, woulda, shoulda. And this is all done with the racial and gender guilt of Columbus and Cortes constantly shoved in our faces.

In short, liberalism is a world of endemic hypocrisy and double standards where the NBA being 80% black is a natural and accidental expression of a culture and meritocracy and the exact same paradigm in literature but where whites are 80% is a racial conspiracy to hold back non-whites and a thing in need of diversity.

This is how you have a culture with a dozen literary awards I can't win because I'm white be considered a culture of anti-racism and the culture accused of racism has no such racial literary awards.

The intellectual failure of progressive liberals is stunning. Sandra Fluke: victim. Victims: a non-event. There is nothing progressive here. A liberal can understand an umpire who calls 'em like he sees 'em in sport. Turn that onto politics and suddenly that framework of principle is smashed on the floor. Suddenly who's pitching and whose batting and their gender and color and political party are what determines balls and strikes, right and wrong.

Even the few liberals discussing this are turning this story on its head to triumphantly show how valuable Roe VS Wade is, without the least acknowledgment of the extent to which infanticide has been casually mainstreamed by liberals in the first place.

Liberals are never wrong. Trying to appeal to their reason is an exercise in futility.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (108)
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You said, "Anyone who he thinks he knows how he would respond in these situations — and hasn’t — is doing nothing but posturing." This is a shallow response that is universal and not very thoughtful. There are those who have spend hours, weeks, years, developing a worldview that supports a response to how they might respond personally to such an event. Would the decision be easy? No! But the worldview that says abortion at any time for any reason totally focuses on this generation in the here and now. I does not take into account that the human who is killed by an abortion will not have the chance that the mother, or father for that matter, currently has. Many of these decisions are selfish and do not consider the longer-term ramifications of such a decision. Develop a worldview that is intellectually honest. When you do, even tough decisions can be made.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roger, I believe that you, like me, are ProChoice. It's just that the term has been hijacked by shills for the abortion industry.

Consider an analogy - I'm, also, ProChoice on cosmetic surgery. I don't care if you get a nose job. However, if someone said he is ProChoice on cosmetic surgery, therefore the government should pay for it, teenage girls should be able to get boob jobs without their parents knowledge or consent, and cosmetic surgeons should be unregulated, you'd recognized that these are shill positions, not ProChoice positions.

What makes you, and me, uncomfortable is the suspicion that those who claim to be ProLife on TV are telling the truth, while those who claim to be ProChoice are lying. I submit there are at least 3 very distinct positions: ProLife, ProChoice, and Shill.

The ProLifers believe all human life is sacred, even that in utero. A woman who can't or won't care for a child should put him up for adoption, and abortion is murder.

The ProChoicers believe the ProLifers are simply giving too much power to the state. How would you even police early abortions without a vastly more intrusive state? They have doubts about the personhood of a fetus, and, thus, give legal weight to the woman who is undeniably a person.

The Shills believe, crudely put, in a coathanger in every closet. Some have a financial stake in abortions. Some believe in negative eugenics - getting rid of undesireables in utero. Some are just mindless factionalists who believe what those in their faction are supposed to believe. You can reject the Shills, and even have contempt for them, without being any less ProChoice.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
a poster was claiming that women are not likely to become pregnant due to rape. The poster claimed there was this insignificant window of time that a woman can become pregnant. Neither of these statements is true.

We track where and when the Mongol horde travelled across the Eurasian plain by blood-types. They raped their way across Eurasia. They had a measurable impact on the populations blood-types. Genghis Khan, himself, had one wife kidnapped, raped and impregnated. He raised the child as his own son, but massacred the tribe that had kidnapped his beloved wife. He then used this as a policy of terror- both him and his sons, and his troops.

Second, the window of fertility averages to a few days. For young women- from 14- 24 years of age- that is, the age group with the highest rate of being raped- their body is fertile for at least a solid week. They have their eggs,but they also have abundant pro-sperm mucus. They have a healthy vaginal vault- sperm can, and does, tuck into the folds, for days on end. The estimate is that young women are fertile about 1/3 of the month. As well, doctors are finding that eggs mature in waves- it's not a one egg per month situation. It's several, each with their own peak of ripeness. Oh- white blood cells can "hug" a sperm- the theory is that it's for sensitizing the immune system- except there are at least two infants born that weren't from vaginally introduced sperm. Doctors don't know how the sperm travelled- they are guessing the white blood cells. And that's kind of a big deal- infants are being born that we don't know!!! how they got there- that's the edge of medicine.

So, the women who are currently most likely to get raped- by FBI stats- are also most likely to get pregnant from the event.

The theory of a small, brittle time horizon is from women who wait- even to the later twenties. Also, up until the 70's or 80's, upper-class women - that is, women going to doctors on a regular basis- douched with some fairly unnerving chemical mixes- Lysol, straight up, for instance. Doctors were looking at scarred up interiors. Scar tissue is smooth, and unresponsive to environmental stimulus.

After this stopped, sexual health educators began advocating for condoms and condom-friendly lubricants. Latex is a contact allergen. Take a look at med-surg nurses' hands. It's not pretty. Condom-friendly lubricants are usually glycerin-based. Glycerin is humectant- it's drawing moisture out, any where it can get it, including from tissues. So women have been scarring up, or roughing up, or becoming inflamed, if they have public-health responsible sex.

Okay, well, rape isn't public health responsible sex. They aren't having a fast immune response provoked- their parts aren't trying to kill everything off, immediately.

I mean, even now- to deliberately get knocked up- the advice is to reverse your practices- use olive oil, wait to even wash your parts for a day or two after sex, have sex off a schedule- more is better- have the guy work on his strength- more testosterone and steaks and such- even more aggressive sex with the girl on bottom, helpless before him-- that's not hand-holding and roses.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It seems one element in this sorry tale is largely overlooked except in passing or as afterthought.

These late - term abortions are, whatever else they are, reputedly unlawful. We are told that witness and collaborators with some danger to themselves reported the crimes to the government agencies with remit to oversee compliance with that law.

What is the position of the managers of the agencies with decision as to how, when and why to do their jobs? What does mis- if not perhaps mal-feasance mean in situations like these?

What is meant by "accountability" and how far does it extend in government agencies as putative "servants" established precisely to oversee potential breaches of the law and bring the culprits to account. In this case duty not done.

Law does not happen in vacuum but in a cultural milieu. With whatever principles are "fundamental" to the culture. Whether moral or religious/secular.

If the laws are unacceptable to the people who are the culture, then why are they on the books. If on the books and people are employed to assure compliance with them, then don't those employees have the onus to do their job, assure compliance? And when/if they do not do their jobs?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roger, please recall what the Torah says: "You shall not put the son to death for the crime of the father." For this reason, rape can never justify aborting the child conceived thereby.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dear Mr. Simon, Thank you for founding PJ Media. I visit several times a day! It's an honor to be trusted as a reader with the honest reassessment you and your wife are going through regarding abortion. Bernard Nathanson, M.D., one of the founders of NARAL, produced a video titled "The Silent Scream". It can be found on YouTube. I've known of it for years, watched it last night. It's still very relevant, especially in light of the Gosnell case. My husband and I get to love on, influence for good a specially little girl-our granddaughter. We were faced with the news of our grown daughter's unwedded pregnancy several years ago. We were devasted! We tried to raise her to value marriage before sex, she chose differently. We faced a closed door to a future we had no control over. But the fact that we believed that children are a blessing from God, gave us something to hold onto, along with each other. We walked through that door, and have uncountable blessings in our lives through our relationship with our granddaughter. I believe even if a pregnancy happens through rape, the blessings of choosing life for that child outweigh the difficulties that lie behind the unopened door.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't feel somehow more revulsion for this doctor's acts than I do for the many first and second trimester abortions committed legally. He just overstepped the bounds of the law to do the same thing. His acts are entirely consistent with his practice.

Hollywood likes making mafia movies about hitmen who kill for money—think they'll make a movie about doctors who kill for money?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, this nightmarish story displays the left for what it is - thuggish, brutal, conscienceless. But it also is quite understandable how a "doctor" can giddily behead screaming helpless infants - his own hero and President favors live-birth abortions. Gosnell just figured he is on the..err...cutting edge of culture.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

After you confess how you supported the murderers of 50 million innocent helpless babies in mommies tender tummy it still maybe difficult for you to leap on to the other side of the great chasm to the truth You may want to run deep into the forest where your cauldren is when you appear on the list 10 most wanted for supporting baby killing. but don't !they believe you casting magic spells for the evil satanic dragon and they will hunt you down. After all what is worst then molesting children is murdering them.
You may think of fleeing to Joel Osteen's 100,000 strong church. But don't posters will be up with the 10 most wanted . Another poster the 100 most wanted and another for those into erudite education with the poster of the 500 most wanted for supporting baby killing
The back bone of hollywood will be cracked and the people will feel safer in their homes
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Isn't it strange that a movement that supposedly wants to empower women feeds this irresponsible victim mentality? On one hand, you are supposed to be a CEO, and on the other, it is too much to be responsible for your own actions. Free sex stands above everything.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roger, thanks for your straightforward candor in your feelings about this. Gotta respect a man who considers rethinking his position.

Having indicated that I respect your point-of-view, may I nevertheless make some slightly contrarian observations?


Observation #1: "Libertarianism" versus "Federalism": Perhaps you should be a bit more precise about blaming your desire that the matter be returned to the states on Federalism rather than Libertarianism. True, there're a lot of overlap between people who support Federalism (under that name, or the less-America-specific term "Subsidiarity") and those who are Libertarian.

But Libertarians could *conceivably* think that the Constitution was unwise to distribute power and that individual rights could have been better protected by doing it all from D.C.! Oh, sure, it'd be a foolish notion, given what we know of human nature...but if his goal was to better protect individual liberties a libertarian could plausibly think that a very limited-power CENTRAL government could do it all.

It is Federalists/Subsidiarists who specifically make the point that whatever can be done either in a centralized way, or a distributed way, ought prudentially to be done in the distributed way. This risks less tyranny; and it keeps decision-makers closer to the consequences of their decisions; and it protect the dignity and organic diveristy of all the little sub-groups which voluntarily form and self-organize in a healthy society. Those aren't so much Libertarian observations as Subsidiarist/Federalist observations.

Observation #2: A man should be MOVED by such an emotionally-charged event. Honestly, a man who doesn't think Gosnell "oughta be hanged" is a man without a fully-human, a fully-humane, heart.

(Please: Nobody misunderstand what I just said. I am not calling a man like that less-than-human. That way lies Nazism. But I am saying a man who feels only casual distaste for Gosnell's deeds, such as he might for some corporate embezzler, has somehow amputated from himself some of what makes a human fully humane: his compassion for the innocent and helpless, and his just, righteous fury against men who evil deeds repeatedly while chuckling.)

So, I stipulate: a man SHOULD be moved, emotionally, by this story.

But, policy opinions should be formed on reality and follow logically from sound principles.

If our emotions overwhelm our good sense, that does not prove that our hearts are too big, but only that our brains are too small. That's the usual error of liberalism, you know: Doing all these showy, seemingly big-hearted things for the needy, in intellectual denial of how consistently those policies RAVAGE the poor over time. (I would never vote for a Democrat; for I would never wish to stab my poor and needy neighbors in the back that way!)

So emotions are useful and good, WHEN THEY ARE REACTING CORRECTLY. If they give us the courage and vigor to fight the good fight, excellent. But if they merely undermine our will to do what must be done or drive us to do what ought not be done, that's NOT excellent.

(We're not helpless in that regard, by the way; we can train our emotions instead of letting them run wild. That's what the aesthetic life, and much of the spiritual life, is about.)

I say all this to you because you sound like your mind is not changed, but that your emotions are.

Fair enough: Nobody can change important facets of his worldview overnight!

But if you don't have sound reasons to drop the "pro-choice" label..? If all you have is your gut reaction to Gosnell's evil?

Then...that means you have some mental work to do. Your head and heart are divided. You are currently two people: You need to become one person again; to regain (in the most literal sense) integrity.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
...continuing from Part 1, above...

In short: There are good reasons to hold a view about abortion. So, find a view which allows you, while holding it, to feel a fully-human disgust and fury at Gosnell while NOT have to make excuses for weak or self-contradictory thinking/policy-opinions.

Take your time. But do the hard work to get your head and heart integrated.

Observation #3: It may be true that "Libertarians" are mostly pro-choice. But a not-inconsiderable percentage are pro-life. The fact is that the "Libertarian" principle is not anarchist but rather one of limiting government to one very important duty; namely, protecting the rights of the innocent against being violated (through wrongful force or fraud).

Aye, but there's the rub: Are the unborn "the innocent" or not? If you believe they are "the innocent" then obviously you have to protect their rights, if you're a Libertarian. For that falls within the state's CORRECT use of power. To think that the unborn are "the innocent," yet not ask the state to protect their rights, is not Libertarian; that's Anarchist.

On the other hand: if the unborn are sub-human/less-than-fully-human, then the state must protect the rights of the unarguably fully-human woman to do what she likes with her body. Compelling her in such matters would fall OUTSIDE the state's correct use of power.

Now I know you know that. You're a grown-up, and no dummy.

But I wanted to point out to you: You can't fall back on your Libertarian instincts (which I think are good instincts) in this matter. Libertarian principles can go EITHER WAY on this point. So they're no help.

It all depends on whether you want to consider a living being with completely human ancestry, but with (temporarily) diminished capacities, to be "less than human" or "fully human." Libertarianism will not help you with that; Libertarianism just tells you what to do about it, once you've made up your mind.

Roger, I offer these three Observations to you. You can make up your own mind. But I wanted to give you a gentle nudge, so you wouldn't avoid making your mind up.

For, it's so much easier NOT to make up your mind! On this topic, it's easier to avoid giving offense at parties if you hedge and hem and haw a bit.

But that approach doesn't quite have integrity, I'm afraid. Since you've already done the tough mental work of "coming out" as a conservative/libertarian, I figure you're the kind of guy who's willing to do the reading, hear the arguments, and adopt a view that'll allow you to live with yourself.

'Nuff said. Take it for what it's worth.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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