Gosnell, Abortion and Reality


“What we want, and all we want, is to have with us the men who think slavery wrong. But those who say they hate slavery, and are opposed to it, but yet act with the Democratic party — where are they? Let us apply a few tests. You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong? Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other?  You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow it to be even called wrong! We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!”

Abraham Lincoln, speech at New Haven Connecticut, March 6, 1860

Thirty-eight years ago today, the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade struck down the laws against abortion throughout the country on the grounds that they were unconstitutional.  The decision was, as Justice White noted in his dissent, a “raw exercise in judicial power”, as there was no basis at all in the Constitution to support the ruling.  Since that day approximately a million, on average, unborn children have been put to death each year, and a large and powerful faction has championed these deaths as right and proper and opposed all efforts to ban or restrict abortion.

It is fitting that as we observe this dreadful anniversary, the nation is shocked by the revelations at the murder mill run by abortionist Kermit Gosnell for over three decades.  As Paul noted in his post on Gosnell here last week the grand jury described his activities in gruesome detail and noted that he was able to do this only with the complicity of the local authorities:

We discovered that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.

The State Legislature has charged the Department of Health (DOH) with responsibility for writing and enforcing regulations to protect health and safety in abortion clinics as well as in hospitals and other health care facilities. Yet a significant difference exists between how DOH monitors abortion clinics and how it monitors facilities where other medical procedures are performed.

Indeed, the department has shown an utter disregard both for the safety of women who seek treatment at abortion clinics and for the health of fetuses after they have become viable. State health officials have also shown a disregard for the laws the department is supposed to enforce. Most appalling of all, the Department of Health’s neglect of abortion patients’ safety and of Pennsylvania laws is clearly not inadvertent: It is by design. …

Abortion, like slavery before it, is at war with reality. In the days of slavery people were asked to believe that slaves were simply property, were in any case happy with their lot, and that all was well. However, reality, in the form of fugitive slaves, the auction block breaking up families and how slavery made a mockery of American protestations to love liberty, kept breaking through. Today, we are called upon to believe that abortion is not the taking of human life, that in any case it must be protected as a Constitional right, although it is not mentioned in the Constitution and had been banned from colonial times, and that all is well. However reality keeps breaking through that the unborn are tiny humans, that the women aborted often bitterly regret what they have done, that coercion not infrequently plays a role in a woman having an abortion, that abortionists are almost always “doctors” regarded as the incompetent scum of their profession, and that a million human beings are offered up in this nation as human sacrices to “gods” like “Choice”, “My Body” and “Privacy” each year. Atrocities like the Gosnell murder mill demonstrate that one may call evil good, but the reality remains the same, and we all know it.

For humans must not be allowed to notice that all great moralists are sent by the Enemy not to inform men but to remind them, to restate the primeval moral platitudes against our continual concealment of them. We make the Sophists: He raises up a Socrates to answer them.

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Letter 23

This country will know no peace of mind as long as abortion remains legal.  Courts, politicians and clergy can declaim over and over again that abortion is a right, and that the unborn are not persons, but we all know that this is untrue and that the unborn are no different from us, children of a loving God, that their deaths at the hands of abortionists are crimes, and no amount of court decisions and statutes can make them otherwise.  Gosnell and men of his ilk are always with us, those who would murder for money.  The shame of our time is that Gosnell operated legally, under the protection of the state, and was supported by those who celebrate his obscene trade as good.  Past time to end this monstrosity and to extend the protection of the Law to the weakest and most innocent among us.  Until we do, none of us will truly rest easy.

The truth is, that this question is one of national importance, and we cannot help dealing with it: we must do something about it, whether we will or not. We cannot avoid it; the subject is one we cannot avoid considering; we can no more avoid it than a man can live without eating. It is upon us; it attaches to the body politic as much and as closely as the natural wants attach to our natural bodies. Now I think it important that this matter should be taken up in earnest, and really settled. And one way to bring about a true settlement of the question is to understand its true magnitude.*******Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it.

Abraham Lincoln, speech at New Haven, Connecticut, March 6, 1860

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Why am I not shocked?

    Those people hold the “trump card.” They totally support the “preferential option” for the poor . . . they (such as IL Sen. Obama who voted to de-criminalize this form of infanticide) get to orate at The University of Notre Dame . . .

  2. Sorry, I don’t buy the line that “the nation is shocked” about this. In fact, the pro-choicers are all but defending the guy, as their comments on websites like Slate and Salon make it clear. Of course, they wish the place had been a little cleaner. But they have no problem at all with the purpose it served.

  3. You are wrong Ron. Some of the pro-aborts are shocked:

    “Again, I am pro-choice but this tragedy occurred because the left violently resisted even the least regulatory oversight of even the most extreme late term abortions. The left has made abortion the highest good that trumps every other concern, and the resulting real-world policies border on the surreal.

    A school nurse cannot give a child an aspirin but any stranger can legally talk a 13 year old into an abortion at almost any term with no oversight whatsoever. The FDA paternalistically denies adults medicines and procedures that the FDA judges “unsafe” but allows children to decide about invasive medical procedures? WTF?

    All prominent Democrats claim to oppose third-term abortion except for cases that endanger the physical or psychological health of the mother. Of course, they leave out who the courts said gets to decide whether a necessary degree of physical or psychological danger existed: the woman and her doctor. So, after all the posturing, in the end the decision to kill a 8-month-and-29-day fetus rests in the same hands and has the same oversight as killing a two-week fetus.

    That’s insane.

    Hell, according to leftists, Gosnell’s only moral or technical crime was in not killing the babies inside the womb. Had he snaked a surgical instrument inside the womb and killed the viable baby there, he would be morally in the clear in the eyes of the left.

    That is insane.”


    Additionally, the pro-aborts are not the nation. Their view of an unlimited abortion “liberty” is becoming an increasingly smaller viewpoint in this land. Gosnell and his murder mill will help make it even smaller.

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