The hidden truths, the hidden lies

According to the grand jury indictment, it was a regular house of horrors:

The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment — such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff — was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn’t used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.

Sounds like one of those back-alley abortion mills women who wanted to exercise their reproductive rights were forced to go to back in those bad old days before Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion safe, legal and rare. At least, that’s the narrative.

But wait a minute. Roe was handed down 38 years ago. This indictment was handed down just last week by a Philadelphia grand jury after an investigation lasting nearly a year. You mean Roe didn’t make abortions safe, legal and rare?

Nope, it just made them legal. For any reason. At any time.

As for the clinic that was subject to the grand jury report, the paragraph quoted above is the least of it. According to the indictment, the doctor who operated this clinic “regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy — and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors.” And the women who got these “abortions” didn’t fare much better.

The clinic was the benign-sounding “Women’s Medical Society”, which was located in a low-income neighborhood in West Philadelphia, and the doctor was Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D. He and several members of his staff have been charged with eight counts of murder and numerous other crimes in connection with the operation of this clinic. Although murder charges have been filed in only eight cases, the indictment makes it clear that literally “hundreds” of live, breathing babies were murdered at the clinic.

And there’s more. These abuses went on for decades, but the state and municipal agencies responsible for regulating abortion clinics just looked the other way, even when they received complaints about the clinic. And, says the indictment, the reason for this lack of interest was political, and “the politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro”.  The authorities moved to shut down the clinic only because of the publicity that resulted from a drug raid last year. It turns out that, in addition to jamming scissors into the backs of babies’ necks and snipping their spinal cords, the clinic did a lucrative side business in writing fake prescriptions for pain killers.

I first heard this story from Michelle Malkin, and my initial reaction was one of horror. My second reaction was a question: How are the Left and the pro-abortion news media going to spin this story? It didn’t take long for me to find out.

It’s the fault of anti-choice zealots, you see. If they hadn’t blocked taxpayer-funded and late-term abortions, the low-income women who in desperation were forced to seek out Dr. Gosnell could have had their abortions performed in suites at luxurious resort hotels while watching soap operas on big-screen TVs and sipping cocktails served to them by handsome, muscular young men wearing nothing but tight pants and bow-ties. This was the subtext of Time magazine’s coverage of the story.

An Associated Press story led off with the account of a young woman who had gone to Dr. Gosnell in desperation after being “frightened away by protestors” outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. Yes, anti-abortion protesters kept Gosnell’s house of horrors in business!

And a University of Minnesota biology professor charges that Gosnell’s clinic represents “the kind of back-alley deadly hackery that the anti-choice movement would have as the only possible recourse, if they had their way. If anything, the Gosnell case is an argument for legal abortion.” Get it? Gosnell is the kind of abortionist pro-lifers prefer.

And all the coverage has emphasized that this case is “not about abortion.” No, it’s about the activities of one evil doctor and his evil staff. And it’s about poverty. (Unlike the Tucson shooting, which was about “rhetoric”.)

No amount of media spin can hide what this case so starkly reveals: that abortion kills babies. Consider: what Gosnell did is no different in kind than a usually legal late-term abortion procedure called “intact dilation and extraction”, a procedure better known by the politically charged expression “partial-birth abortion”. The only difference — and what makes intact D&X legal — is that the scissors are jammed into the back of the baby’s skull before delivery is completed. It’s only murder if the baby manages to get out before he or she is killed.

America’s abortion regime is built on a tissue of lies. The biggest lie, of course, is that what is being killed is something less than human. You’d think we’d be past that one by now, what with all the recent advances in ultrasound technology.

Another lie is that abortion is just another medical procedure. No, it isn’t. It is, in fact, the only medical procedure that, if successful, results in the death of a human being. It is also the only medical procedure (in fact, about the only human activity of any kind) that liberals adamantly insist should be free from government regulation. A doctor cannot perform, say, heart surgery until he has completed a lengthy residency and has been board-certified, but he can perform abortions without any specialized training whatsoever. In fact, at Gosnell’s clinic — and, I am sure, at many others as well — abortions were regularly performed by people who did not have any medical training. Any move to regulate or provide oversight of the abortion industry invariably elicits howls of protest that this is just another attempt to interfere with a woman’s right to choose.

Not only is the abortion regime built on a tissue of lies, but those who support that regime know it. How do I know they know it? Because they cannot talk about abortion without resorting to euphemism. In fact, the term “pro-choice” is itself a euphemism. Whenever I hear people use the expression “a woman’s right to choose”, I want to ask, “a woman’s right to choose what?” Or, how about “reproductive rights”? Abortion is about killing, not reproduction. And Dr. Gosnell’s expression for his stabbing-and-snipping procedure: “ensuring fetal demise”?

Supporters of the abortion regime also go to great lengths to try to prevent women in crisis pregnancies from finding out the truth. Thus their adamant opposition to laws requiring abortion clinics to give an expectant mother the opportunity to see an ultrasound image of her unborn child. Not only do they want to hide the truth from women who come into abortion clinics, they also want to prevent them from going to crisis pregnancy centers where they can see ultrasound images and get reliable information on fetal development. Thus their drive to regulate and legislate crisis pregnancy centers out of existence. I trust the irony of this is not lost on anyone: crisis pregnancy centers, which offer only information, support and financial assistance to women who want to carry their pregnancies to term, are to be heavily regulated, while abortion clinics, where invasive procedures are performed on women, are not. Such is the mentality of pro-choice America.

Saturday was the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In the succeeding years, 50 million babies have been legally killed in the United States. Yes, that is an inflammatory statement. But it’s also a true statement. Another true statement is that, as a result, there are 50 million fewer people who will be working and producing the goods and services needed to support an aging population.

Back when states first started legalizing abortion, critics warned of a slippery slope, that legalizing the killing of the youngest members of our society opened the door to legalizing the killing of the aged and infirm. We are now sliding down that slope. Assisted suicide is now legal in three states, and more are sure to follow. Assisted suicide inevitably will become voluntary euthanasia, and that in turn will evolve into involuntary euthanasia. This is being driven by economics as well as evolving moral standards, but it was Roe v. Wade that set both of these processes in motion.

In her column Friday, Michelle Malkin wrote that

Deadly indifference to protecting life isn’t tangential to the abortion industry’s existence — it’s at the core of it. The Philadelphia Horror is no anomaly. It’s the logical, blood-curdling consequence of an evil, eugenics-rooted enterprise wrapped in feminist clothing.

After the Philadelphia Horror, they cannot hide the truth any longer.

8 thoughts on “The hidden truths, the hidden lies”

  1. Phil, how do you answer the Rothbardian position on abortion? ie. You have the right to evict a trespasser from your property using the least forceful means. An unwanted, unborn baby can be considered a “trespasser” in the body of a woman. The woman has the right (as the owner of her body) to evict the “trespasser,” it is unfortunate that the least-forceful means in this case will generally result in the death of the child.
    If we’re going to respect property rights, I don’t see how legally prohibiting abortion can be defended from a “natural rights” basis.

  2. Ron,

    I’m glad you asked that question. It shows you’ve been thinkg about the issue. I’m very familiar with Rothbard’s position — it used to be my position as well. However, one’s body isn’t “property” in the same sense other things are (neither are so-called “intellectual” property or raw land — but those are topics for another discussion). Rothbard himself in another context argued that one could not sell oneself into chattel slavery. Or take a more extreme example. Suppose you are in desperate need of money. A cannibal offers you $1 million with the condition that, after a year’s time, you must submit yourself to be slaughtered and butchered to provide a meal for him. Suppose that by the end of the year, you’ve changed your mind. Does the cannibal still have the right to slaughter you? After all, he “bought” you. Doesn’t he “own” you? Rothbard would answer that question in the negative. He argued that the right to self-ownership is inalienable, and therefore cannot be sold. But if you “own” property, why shouldn’t you be allowed to sell it? That’s the contradiction you run into with the “self-ownership” argument. (BTW, the man who decided he didn’t want to become a meal could make the cannibal whole by paying back the $1 million, with interest. Of course, it might take him his entire life to do so, but that’s not my problem.)

    The problem is, defending a right to abortion on the basis of a property right in one’s body makes property rights fundamental. But the right to own property is subsidiary to the more fundamental right to life, which means: the right to be free from aggression. Property rights merely draw boundaries so we can know what does or does not constitute aggression.

    For a more detailed treatement, see Ed Viera, “Why the Statement ‘A Woman Has the Right to Control Her Own Body’ Begs the Basic Question in the Abortion Debate” on the Libertarians for Life website.

  3. Unfortunately Ron Paul gets to the crux of what makes the abortion debate so difficult from a libertarian perspective. A libertarian would not object to someone smoking, or drinking to excess, or taking “illegal” drugs; but all of these actions would likely cause considerable harm to the (fetus/child) when done by a pregnant woman.
    Should a pregnant woman be prohibited from doing these things as well?
    We shouldn’t force grocery stores to feed people just because they are hungry and we shouldn’t force doctors to treat people just because they are sick. Should we force women to provide a hospitable womb just because they are pregnant?

  4. If men got pregnant, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    So, if men got pregnant Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Beverly LaHaye, Laura Ingraham, Sharron Angle, Ann Coulter, etc., would all be for abortion?

  5. In a critical care situation, which takes precedence, the life of the mother or the life of the unborn child?

  6. In a critical care situation, which takes precedence, the life of the mother or the life of the unborn child?

    I assume you’re talking about a situation in which the mother will die if she continues the pregnancy. There are two possibilities: (1) The child could be in an early stage of development and unable to survive outside the womb. If the mother dies, the child dies anyway, in which case you’re choosing between losing one life or two. This would be the case in an ectopic pregnancy (implantation of the zygote outside the uterus). (2) The other possibility is that the child is developed enough to survive outside the womb. In this case, the solution is immediately delivery (possibly by Caesarean section), not abortion. This way you don’t lose either life.

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