U.S. Supreme Court upholds late term abortion ban

Most press just call it ‘the controversial abortion law’. Why is it controversial?

Because most big media are complicit with the abortion industry and therefore against any restrictions on abortion whatsoever. But the Texas law bans abortions after 20 weeks, which means killing five month old babies in the womb. We should at least be able to agree on that.

But instead, we’ve had high drama and intense, pitched battles over the legal ‘right’ to kill five month old babies. ‘Choice’ and ‘termination of pregnancy’  and ‘a woman’s right to an abortion’ have dominated news stories, still. After the Kermit Gosnell trial, most or many of us thought we wouldn’t go back there again, to that dark place of disguising the horrible truth of what the abortion logic really is.

So the Texas battle reached the Supreme Court and they ruled this week. Here’s how it played in the press that should have grown more mature in its reporting by now.

CBS News.

A sharply divided Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Texas to continue enforcing abortion restrictions that opponents say have led more than a third of the state’s clinics to stop providing abortions.

What kind of lead is that? Tendentious.

The justices voted 5-4 to leave in effect a provision requiring doctors who perform abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Which…what?…sounds at the very least logical. Especially given the number of times and cases across the country when an ambulance has had to pull up to an abortion clinic to rush a woman off for critical life-saving medical treatment after a botched abortion. So…

The court’s conservative majority refused the plea of Planned Parenthood and several Texas abortion clinics to overturn a preliminary federal appeals court ruling that allowed the provision to take effect.

Note that these stories never report how ‘the court’s liberal majority’ ruled on other opinions that meet media approval.

NBC News reported this:

Part of the new state abortion law requires doctors who perform the procedures to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.

Women’s groups and doctors had challenged the law, and a federal court in Texas last month blocked enforcement of that provision the night before it was to take effect. The judge said the law had no medical purpose.

But just three days later, on Oct. 31, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision, allowing the law to take effect. It said the law was an additional check on a doctor’s qualifications.

Which can only be good for the women they’re treating, right?

Women’s groups asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put the ban on enforcement back in place.

Wait. Which “women’s groups”? That’s vague and unspecific. And left so in the article, though it’s widely known that Planned Parenthood and other abortion backers were the groups fighting this law. Here’s part of what they claim:

“Over one third of the facilities providing abortions in Texas have been forced to stop providing that care and others have been forced to drastically reduce the number of patients to whom they are able to provide care. Already, appointments are being canceled and women seeking abortions are being turned away,” they said.

Notice that the word “care” is used twice in that paragraph. Define “care.” How is unregulated abortion, with no backup care in nearby hospitals by treating doctors, considered “care”?

CNN reported this:

The original lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Austin by Planned Parenthood on behalf of more than a dozen women’s health care providers across Texas, alleged the state’s new abortion law violates the constitutional rights of women and puts unreasonable demands on doctors who perform abortions.

It is not an “unreasonable demand” that those doctors have privileges at local hospitals. In fact, it should be required for any and all “women’s health care providers”, to be truthful.

The bill originally failed to gain approval because of a Democratic filibuster led by state Sen. Wendy Davis…

Davis, who is running for governor, blasted Tuesday’s decision.

“Clinics will close and women’s health will be hurt because of this law. This is an abuse of power by politicians in Austin. I trust women to make their own decisions and will continue to work to make sure that women and mothers are safe and have access to adequate health care,” she said in a statement.

Wait. Women’s health will be hurt because the law requires women’s doctors to have admitting privileges in local hospitals? A prominent abortion activist promises to make sure “mothers are safe and have access to adequate health care”, while opposing the very law that ensures that?

The New York Times.

“Reasonable minds can perhaps disagree about whether the court of appeals should have granted a stay in this case,” Justice Scalia wrote. “But there is no doubt that the applicants have not carried their heavy burden of showing that doing so was a clear violation of accepted legal standards — which do not include a special ‘status quo’ standard for laws affecting abortion.”…

State officials told the court that the law, which requires that doctors have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of where they perform abortions, protects public health by “fostering a woman’s ability to seek consultation and treatment for complications directly from her physician.”

The officials added that the impact of the law was modest, saying that more than 90 percent of women seeking abortions in the state will still live within 100 miles of an abortion clinic….

At bottom, the two sides in Tuesday’s ruling differed about what it means to maintain the status quo while a case proceeds through the courts. Justice Scalia said that the status quo is upheld and federalism principles are vindicated when validly enacted state laws are allowed to stand while their constitutionality is definitively resolved.

I would arrange the priority of reporting in this Fox News story in reverse order.


The law also bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and beginning in October 2014 requires doctors to perform all abortions in surgical facilities.

Sounds good and reasonable.

During the trial, officials for one chain of abortion clinics testified that they’ve tried to obtain admitting privileges for their doctors at 32 hospitals, but so far only 15 accepted applications and none have announced a decision.

Many hospitals with religious affiliations will not allow abortion doctors to work there, while others fear protests if they provide privileges.

Many have requirements that doctors live within a certain radius of the facility, or perform a minimum number of surgeries a year that must be performed in a hospital.

This is all reasonable. Safety and regulation should be foremost in everyone’s mind.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday said the office is “pleased” with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“These are commonsense – and perfectly constitutional – regulations that further the state’s interest in protecting the health and safety of Texas women,” Lauren Bean said.

Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry also said he was happy with the court’s decision.

“This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas, who are now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions,” Perry said.

Like Kermit Gosnell, to remind of something I thought we wouldn’t soon, if ever, forget.

Sound and fury in Texas late-term abortion fight

The Gosnell abortion trial was so graphically revealing of what abortion is and does, it made some pro-choice people re-think their beliefs. And others redouble their efforts to ensure it’s available on demand at all times, no matter what.

They came out in force last week in Texas over a proposed law to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks and make abortion clinics safer. That should make sense to anybody who’s reasonable. Which puts what happened around the statehouse in perspective.

It was a circus. First act.

An “anti-abortion” bill [terminology used by big media, hence the quotes] was defeated last night in Austin and President Obama tweeted that it was “something special.”

That, alone, calls for attention.

The eleven-hour filibuster circus, involved a cheerleading squad led by Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, daughter of the late Texas governor Ann Richards, and the Twitter hashtag #StandwithWendy, which made an overnight celebrity of a Democratic legislator wearing pink sneakers (this was the most frequently mentioned fact).

Vice-president Joe Biden’s wife Dr. Jill Biden got into the act and tweeted this, strangely and sadly:

If this bill passes, women will have to hold monthly funerals for their periods, like when you flush a goldfish.

Seriously? Our president and the wife of the vice-president are tweeting these things about this legislation, that seeks only to stop Gosnell-like late term abortions and regulate clinics for women’s safety? Really?

This is the seriousness with which we take debates about late-term abortion in America?

So a bill trying to protect unborn children after 20 weeks has been defeated, and we’re celebrating a victory for “women” and “health” and “freedom”? When do we get tired of this?

We already have. It’s happened. Women Speak For Themselves don’t ‘stand with Wendy.’ In fact, because the abortion industry has made Sandra Fluke and now Wendy Davis the faces and voices of their strong-arm campaign to demand the indefensible and distract an already complicit media away from the real point of their arguments, more and more women    in groups and individually are speaking out for the other ‘choice,’ the one the alleged ‘choice’ movement won’t tolerate. Or at least for laws and social policies that stand for women’s health.

What does ‘standing with Wendy’ mean?

Had you listened solely to Davis’s bevy of supporters, you would presumably not have known what it was that she had taken to the floor to protest. In the course of their hysteria, the usual suspects rolled out the usual rhetoric, focused on irrelevancies…

The fatuous charge that opponents of abortion use the issue as a way of “controlling women” was quite popular. But dress it up as they might, the truth remained ghastly: What Wendy and her team of protesters were trying to do was block a bill that would have made it illegal to deliberately kill an unborn child after 20 weeks of pregnancy. And that is a disgrace.

The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson wrote that, during the filibuster, Davis explained “how a pregnancy unfolded — all points on which, she noted, her male colleagues seemed vague.” Perhaps Davis is right that many of her fellow human beings know embarrassingly little about how they grew. I’d venture, though, that this is to her advantage: It is precisely the knowledge of how babies develop that informs my revulsion at their execution.

Follow this through. The whole fiasco in Texas was over whether or not it should remain legal to kill babies in the womb after 20 weeks. What, exactly, does that mean, beyond a ‘choice’?

We might recap: By the time that a baby has been in utero for one month, blood is pumping around the body. In the second month, facial features develop, including the growth of ears, eyes, arms, legs, toes, and fingers. At six weeks, the baby’s brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system are all pretty well formed — in outline at least. By the two-month mark, sensory organs begin to develop and bone replaces cartilage.

Three months in, arms, hands, fingers, feet, and toes are fully formed, and the baby can grab with its fists as well as open and close its mouth. Teeth are on their way, as are reproductive organs. In month four, the baby is fully formed, and eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails, and hair develop. At this point, a baby can suck his thumb, yawn, hiccup, stretch, and make faces. At 18 weeks, the baby can move around, and experience REM sleep, including dreams. At 20 weeks, some studies show, it can recognize its mother’s voice.

At each of these stages, had the bill been passed, it would have remained legal in Texas to kill the child. The law that Wendy Davis and her fellow “pro-science” acolytes so bravely stood against would have rendered it illegal to kill the child after this point.

Emphasis added.

And when I say kill, I mean kill. I mean break bones, rip apart limbs, crush skulls, drain fluids, still a beating heart, annihilate a brain that is capable of dreaming, and crush a nervous system. I mean: Kill. As David Freddoso put it yesterday, “Wendy Davis can now say, When the moment came to stand up for smashing the life out of a baby 6 mos into pregnancy, I was up to the task.” This is not an accomplishment of which she should be proud.

Former Clinton administration staffer Kirsten Powers agrees. In a Fox News discussion on this story, Powers said “I think it’s sick.” In her Daily Beast column, she declared “I Don’t Stand With Wendy Davis.” Nor, she says, would most women.

It’s amazing what is considered heroism these days.

A Texas legislator and her pink sneakers have been lionized for an eleventh-hour filibuster against a bill that would have made it illegal for mothers to abort babies past 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in the case of severe fetal abnormalities or to protect the life or health of the mother.

And that ‘health of the mother’ loophole includes anything, stress or depression or change of mind or anything in a highly elasticized category under the ‘health’ label.

But the fight is not over. The bill will be reintroduced, and supporters of the ban are optimistic it will pass. For now, Wendy Davis has achieved the dubious victory of maintaining a very dark status quo. Texas women will still be able to abort a healthy baby up to the 26th week of pregnancy for any reason, as the current law allows.

This is a call for clarity, and it’s about time. We’ve had too few bold voices saying these things in big media, or voices getting access to media to say it. Now, ‘gatekeeper’ media don’t matter as much and they certainly can’t mind the gate. It’s unhinged.

If the majority of Americans oppose elective late-term abortion, why do we have Davis complaining to CBS’s Bob Schieffer that the male politicians who are championing the late-term abortion ban are “bullying women”? Maybe it’s she who is bullying the rest of us into supporting a view that is mocked by scientific advancement; namely 3-D sonograms. Maybe we should be thankful for the men and wonder what is wrong with the women who think protecting the right to abort your baby for any reason up to the 26th week is a “human right.”

Right. Now we’re talking.

Human-rights movements have traditionally existed to help the voiceless and those without agency gain progressively more rights. Yet in the case of abortion, the voiceless have progressively lost rights at the hands of people who claim to be human-rights crusaders. Abortion-rights leaders have turned the world upside down. They want us to believe that a grown woman is voiceless, that she has less agency than the infant in her womb who relies on her for life. A woman has so little agency, we are told, that she is incapable of getting an abortion before the fifth month of her pregnancy. To suggest she should do so is a “war on women.” It’s an insult to women dressed up as “women’s rights.”

There it is. Exposed.

Which is probably why there’s such desperation in the pro-abortion movement. And that’s getting chilling. The abortion movement is huge, powerful, very well funded and backed by some of the most powerful people in the country. But they’re now on the defensive.

Because the truth of the abortion logic is out, in so many glaring ways.

Gosnell forced recalculation of missing children

Among other things the trial of notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell did to jolt cultural awareness of what abortion is and does, it gave us a whole new sense of how we count children who have gone missing in America.

Just after the three young women abducted a decade ago by Ariel Castro were rescued, without neighbors ever realizing they were there and experts not seeing enough evidence to trace their existence, I interviewed International Child Legal Counsel Liz Yore on the topic of missing children and ways to protect our children better. Since then, she’s posted some searing insights on her blog, namely ‘The Other Missing Children.’

In the early 1980s, child advocates jumped on the missing children bandwagon mobilizing the country to search for abducted children. The spate of missing children cases began with the Etan Patz disappearance, and then the Adam Walsh abduction and murder.  The missing children movement mobilized a nation to look for missing children and demand tougher state and federal laws.

Liz does us a favor recalling our history on this, the urgent need and the response.

As a nation, we rejoiced over the recovery and return of missing children and mourned over the death of a missing child. With every high profile case, a new federal law was named after a missing child. First came the Adam Walsh Act, then the Jacob Wetterling Act, and Jessica’s Law, and the Amber Alert, to name just a few…The technology age ushered in new inventions to assist in finding missing children. The Amber Alert flashed missing child alerts on electronic highway billboards along with mobile phone alerts warning the public of an abduction in progress…

The world watched with admiration as America demonstrated that it takes missing children seriously and the statistics proved it. Since the days of milk cartons, the recovery rate of missing children rose from 62% to 97%. But there are millions more missing children, who went missing without a trace or even a mention. They weren’t seen on flyers or on Amber Alerts. They simply disappeared. They had no name. We never saw their faces. Until Now.

Until the 2010 Philadelphia Grand Jury issued its 261 page report on the Kermit Gosnell Abortion Mill on Lancaster Avenue replete with photos of the carnage of aborted babies.

For the first time, the nation saw some of the missing children from an abortion; the babies that survived the extraction and abduction by the abortionist’s instruments and toxic solutions. The photos showed the faces of babies inconveniently born alive from failed abortions. Children born breathing, squirming, crying, and moaning. The photos showed the babies whose spines were snipped so that they would stop breathing and go missing forever. A recent 2010 report found that 1200 babies are born alive from a botched abortions and are left to die or killed in the clinic. Finally, a Grand jury displayed the photos of fully formed babies with their faces were clearly displayed in the Gosnell clinic. The Grand Jury took another step; they named these babies; Baby A, through Baby G.

The Grand Jury performed a noble feat. They showed the photos of the babies born alive. The evidence required that they named the victim babies, Baby A-Baby G. To charge a crime, you must name the victim. The profound, but simple act of showing the photo of the face of a born alive baby and naming the newborn acknowledged its existence, its dignity and its humanity.

Every child aborted had a face, a body, a unique set of characteristics, an identity. Seeing the faces and bodies of babies killed in late term abortions forced us to consider what abortion does in any stage of pregnancy. The Gosnell trial forced us to face their humanity.

The grim and staggering statistics of the missing babies from abortions point to an unimaginable failure to protect and recover over 1 million missing children per year and over 54 million gone missing since the Roe decision. Some survive but seldom are they recovered and rescued. So much for America’s missing child success rate.

The curtain has finally been pulled back after 40 long years…

Elie Wiesel, the holocaust survivor understands the power of photos to breakdown the denial of a slaughter. When Wiesel visited the D.C. Holocaust Museum and looked at the photos of the dead bodies of the children piled up in mounds in the concentration camps, he said, “ So many children, I now see the pictures of the children. Why the children? My God, why the children?”

Yes, so many children gone missing from our nation. Surely, 54 million missing from abortion will shock the conscience? They are gone forever. No missing children posters will help find them. No Amber Alert will flash on the highway that they are missing.

Will America pass a law to protect Baby A, like it did in honor of Adam Walsh? Will we honor them on May 25th, Missing Children’s Day? Or will we keep pretending that these babies aren’t missing?

My sense is that this watershed moment won’t allow us, collectively, to go back. Liz told me “it’s time for a paradigm shift.” It’s time to be honest about what abortion is and does. Gosnell’s conviction of killing babies only begins to tell that truth, finally using honest language. Babies have been killed. Gosnell got life. His victims never had that chance.

Gosnell uncovers what Roe wrought

And undercover videos show Gosnell is no ‘aberration.’ Some honest advocates of ‘choice’ are seriously reconsidering their whole premise and belief system in light of recent news. While some ‘abortion rights’ activists are coming unglued over these revelations.

Here’s the latter case in point. Watch the video. Listen to the video exchange, and the studio exchange, which isn’t really an exchange at all. There’s no disputing what the Gosnell trial reveals about the logic of abortion. There’s no disputing what the Live Action video reveals. But Tamara Holder disputes alright, though not with reason and logic and the art of debate.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen Tamara Holder on television news shows many, many times engage in lively and sometimes heated panel discussions of politics and policy, and she tends to be very committed to liberal causes and positions. Which is fine. Let there be reasoned debate of each position.

But in this video with Lila Rose of Live Action, Holder comes undone in every way, visibly in her demeanor and body language  and verbally in the language she used to flail at the revelations coming out about abortion clinics and a more- widely-prevailing-than-we-knew attitude toward babies who survive abortion attempts as something less than human life worthy of rights and protection.

Even when Rose simplifies it to the fundamental question of whether they couldn’t find common ground agreement on protecting tiny infants who emerge still squirming and struggling for life, Holder devolves to the angry ad hominem attack on Rose and not her argument, nor on the content of her undercover video. It was ugly, and revealing.

That was after the second video was released. There’s a new one since then, and some call it more shocking. How can we measure such degrees of inhumanity?

For weeks now, during and after the Gosnell trial, ‘Democratic strategist’ and ‘liberal news contributor’ Kirsten Powers has been writing about the trial in USA Today and The Daily Beast agonizing over what we have allowed in social policy on abortion and facilitated by the language of choice, and covered up by a complicit media unwilling to report on any news story that runs counter to the narrative that abortion on demand at all times is what women want, need and deserve.

Thank God Kirsten Powers was noticed by some big media people who were willing to start paying attention earlier than the rest, and follow an idea through to its logical conclusions. Here’s her latest column.

Abortion rights advocates have argued that there is nothing to see here. Move along. This is what illegal abortion looks like, they say.

But Gosnell’s clinic was not illegal. It was a licensed medical facility. The state of his clinic was well known: there were repeated complaints to government officials and even the local Planned Parenthood. He wasn’t operating under the radar but in plain sight, and he received referrals from abortion clinics up and down the East Coast. Gosnell performed plenty of abortions within the 24-week limit in Pennsylvania and worked part time for a National Abortion Federation–accredited clinic in Delaware.

The woman Gosnell is on trial for allegedly killing, Karnamaya Mongar, perished during a legal abortion while she was 19 weeks pregnant. Gosnell was not forced to operate in the dark because of anti–abortion rights regulations. It’s the opposite: he was able to flourish—pulling in $1.8 million a year—because multiple abortion rights administrations decided that to inspect his clinic might mean limiting access to abortion. It’s all in the grand jury report, if you don’t believe me.

I’ve linked to that grand jury report multiple times, and hope people will confront it, especially people who consider themselves pro-choice.

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.

Does that statement make you uncomfortable? Good.

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. Indeed, Gosnell’s defense attorney Jack J. McMahon has relied on the argument that Gosnell killed the babies prior to delivering them, therefore he is not guilty of murder. His exact words were: “Every one of those babies died in utero.”

Gosnell is accused of aborting infants past the 24-week limit in Pennsylvania. But those same deaths – if done in utero – would have been perfectly legal in many states with sometimes abused health exceptions, which can include the elastic category of “mental distress.

The New York Times reported that MacMahon argued: “Because the women were given injections of the drug digoxin, which causes ‘fetal demise,’ any postdelivery movements were involuntary spasms.” The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney, who attended the trial, reported that McMahon argued: “The purpose of the shot…is to kill the baby so that it will not be a live birth.”

This is, finally, where the rubber meets the road. Keep going.

I cannot legitimately say I am a person who cherishes human rights and remain silent about our country legally endorsing infanticide.

Which, listeners of mine on radi have pointed out to me in emails, is too remote a name for what it is, the murder of an infant. True.

We live in a country where if a six-months-pregnant woman started downing shots of vodka in a bar or lit up a cigarette, people might want her arrested. But that same woman could walk into an abortion clinic, no questions asked, and be injected with a drug that would stop her baby’s heart.

Just watch those Live Action undercover videos to see what drugs are injected into a pregnant woman to stop her baby’s heart. And other ways they do procedures that assure ‘fetal demise.’

I’ll put my cards on the table: I think life begins at conception and would love to live in a world where no women ever felt she needed to get an abortion. However, I know enough people who are pro-abortion rights—indeed, I was one of them for most of my life—to know that reasonable and sincere people can disagree about when meaningful life begins.

I will, respectfully, take issue here with Kirsten Powers on the subject off “when meaningful life begins,” starting with ‘who decides?’ and ‘what do you mean by “meaningful life”, much less the question of when that begins.

They also can disagree about how to weigh that moral uncertainty against a woman’s right to control her body—and her own life.

I take exception to this as well, since the woman’s body is one thing, but when she is pregnant the doctor has two patients, and she is carrying within her womb a separate, unique, whole and complete human being with her or his own DNA, already fully in existence. So a woman can do with her body what she morally decides is best, but another human being is present by design of human procreaction, and her decision over her body affect the well-being of that other human body and her or his own life.

I have only ever voted for Democrats, so overturning Roe v. Wade is not one of my priorities. I never want to return to the days of gruesome back-alley abortions.

In case you missed this in an earlier post, Kermit Gosnell was a back-alley abortionist, who Roe ensconced in his own clinic. The clinic Pennsylvania authorities dubbed a ‘house of horrors.’

So this gets down to the anguish of reasoning through the obvious which forces confrontation with accepted beliefs.

But medical advances since Roe v. Wade have made it clear to me that late-term abortion is not a moral gray area, and we need to stop pretending it is. No six-months-pregnant woman is picking out names for her “fetus.” It’s a baby. Let’s stop playing Orwellian word games. We are talking about human beings here.

Finally. The awareness comes. Prof. Robert George helps focus that reasoning process.

I just finished watching the Fox News special “See No Evil” on abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who is on trial in Philadelphia for multiple murders and other crimes. Gosnell can’t understand how it can be that he is facing prison and possibly even the death penalty for killing the babies whose necks he snipped after they “precipitated” (i.e., emerged from the womb.) The women who came into his clinic came in to have the babies they were carrying killed. That was the point of the exercise. “Terminating” the babies’ lives was the service he offered and performed. Had he killed the babies while they were still in their mothers’ bodies (by, for example, inserting a needle to inject a poison into their tiny hearts) that would not have been a crime. He merely would have been assisting his patients in exercising what the Supreme Court deems a constitutional right. So why, he would like to know, is he being prosecuted for killing the same babies moments later after they precipitated?

I must admit that I am no less puzzled by that question than Gosnell is. How can it be that killing a baby inside the womb is perfectly acceptable while killing the very same baby (or even a baby that is a few days or even weeks younger) outside the womb is first degree murder? Of course, in my view we should not permit the killing of babies inside or outside the womb. A baby’s status as a precious member of the human family, possessing profound, inherent, and equal dignity, does not depend on something as morally arbitrary as his or her location. But if we permit the Gosnells of the world to kill babies inside the womb, it seems odd to charge them with murder for killing them outside the womb. This is especially true in view of the fact that inducing delivery and then killing babies marked for “termination” eliminates the risk to women involved in the common abortion practice of dismembering babies inside the womb and removing their severed body parts.

The whole state of abortion and reality of what Roe wrought becomes clearer with the Gosnell trial revelations, and those coming out of the Live Action video series from abortion clinics around the US.

We’re finally talking about abortion, what we’ve legalized, what we’ve accepted, what we’ve told ourselves and come to believe as a society. Let’s be honest, for crying out loud.

Kermit Gosnell: the back-alley abortionist Roe ensconced

But that’s giving away one of the punchlines of a very lengthy, gut-wrenching, soul-searching article in the Wall Street Journal the other day that, taken together with the commentaries and articles linked within it, is filled with punches to the gut. It may be the best handling of the worst abortion news we’ve heard publicly since the news that the Supreme Court made abortion legal with its Roe decision.

The headline on James Taranto’s article in the WSJ was succinct and apt: From Roe to Gosnell. There is a direct line if you follow the logic of abortion.

This pull quote pretty well sums up the article:

“The reductio ad absurdum of the pro-abortion side is Kermit Gosnell. That is why the Gosnell case has crystallized our view that the current regime of abortion on demand in America is a grave evil that ought to be abolished. It is murderous, if not categorically then at least in its extreme manifestations. Maintaining it requires an assault on language and logic that has taken on a totalitarian character. And it is politically poisonous.”

Don’t think this is some pro-life screed of triumphalism using the horrors committed by notorious Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell as a launching point to vent nearly 40 years worth of pent up angst over fighting the pro-abortion movement.

It’s an alarm bell set off by a former “pro-choice libertarian” journalist from what he himself calls “the mushy middle” on abortion issues. A journalist who’s been making the transition for many years from one position to another, although one who sees the full pro-life position as “a bridge too far” but found in the Gosnell case and subsequent trial the most damning evidence that Roe was really wrong all along.

Using the editorial ‘we’, he explains:

Our path was more cerebral and less visceral. It started with our education in constitutional law. Although we thought abortion on demand was a good policy, we knew how to read, and the Constitution had nothing to say about the matter. We came to view Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that declared otherwise, as a gross abuse of power by the Supreme Court, notwithstanding that it was in the service of a cause we agreed with.

A funny thing happens when you dissent from Roe v. Wade: You come to see that there’s not much else by way of intellectual content to the case for abortion on demand. Roe predates our own political consciousness, so we have to assume there were once stronger arguments. But these days the appeal to the authority of Roe is pretty much all there is apart from sloganeering, name-calling, appeals to self-interest and an emphasis on difficult and unusual cases such as pregnancy due to rape.

Among other things to get from this is the point that a former pro-choice libertarian is writing it and wrestling with the logic of abortion and the truth of following that logic through to its consequences.

When you dissent from Roe v. Wade, you notice that people committed to the pro-abortion side almost never acknowledge that the question of abortion poses a conflict of rights or of legitimate interests. Try to pin them down as to where they’d draw the line–at what point in fetal development does abortion become unacceptable? It’s pretty much impossible.

Right. That is true time and again.

Now here’s an important line that shouldn’t be missed:

Our own moral intuition is that an early-term abortion, or the use of an abortifacient to prevent implantation, is different in kind from a late-term abortion or infanticide.

This is an opening to a good discussion or debate, though Taranto is already open to that. But virtually nobody who considers themselves ‘pro-choice’ will talk honestly about abortifacients at all, much less their role and goal in preventing the implantation of the de facto beginning of a new human life already present at fertilization. Different in ‘kind’ from abortion or infanticide gets into a debate over the difference space and time make in the life of that unique, separate, whole, living human being already present at the moment of conception. Justifying it at one end extends to justifying it at some other end along the human continuum depending on cognitive ability and vulnerability and dependence, etc.

Taranto said as much.

But we concede that intuition is irreconcilable with the scientific fact that the difference between a zygote and an infant–or, for that matter, an adult–is one of degree: All are the same human being at different stages of development…

Any line one could draw between acceptable abortion and homicide would be an arbitrary one.

In fact, he goes on later to say…

The most jaw-dropping example of pro-abortion Orwellianism is the one we cited last week: the fierce objection to the assertion that life begins at fertilization. As we noted, that is a simple statement of scientific fact–a tautology.


We live in a free society. People have an absolute right to form opinions about matters of public concern, and a nearly absolute right to express those opinions, individually or in concert with others of like mind. “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Supreme Court, by interpreting (or misinterpreting) the Constitution, has the capacity to impose vast and sweeping changes in the law, as it did when it decided Roe v. Wade. What it cannot do–what it lacks not only the authority but the slightest ability to do–is control people’s thoughts.

The media and politicians and the abortion movement have done that over the decades since Roe. But they are losing their grip. The truth has been coming out. The old arguments aren’t working anymore.

One of the strongest practical arguments in favor of the Roe regime is that abortion has been around since time immemorial and outlawing it only drove it underground, leading women to endanger themselves by seeking out the services of back-alley quacks. The Philadelphia grand jurors recounted a powerful example from their own city’s history.

Pay attention to this.

It was called the Mother’s Day Massacre. A young Philadelphia doctor “offered to perform abortions on 15 poor women who were bused to his clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972, in their second trimester of pregnancy.” The women didn’t know that the doctor “planned to use an experimental device called a ‘super coil’ developed by a California man named Harvey Karman.”

A colleague of Karman’s Philadelphia collaborator described the contraption as “basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball. . . . They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman’s uterus. And after several hours of body temperature, . . . the gel would melt and these . . . things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus.”

Nine of the 15 Chicago women suffered serious complications. One of them needed a hysterectomy. The following year, the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. It would be 37 more years before the Philadelphia doctor who carried out the Mother’s Day Massacre would go out of business. His name is Kermit Gosnell.