The Silence on the Gosnell

A couple of years ago, I blogged about the case of Kermit Gosnell, the abortion “doctor” in Philadelphia who was taking enormous sums to perform illegal late-term abortions in horrific conditions. The trial is under way now and the details emerging are horrifying for anyone. And the response of the media is … silence:

Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure. Haven’t heard about these sickening accusations?

It’s not your fault. Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page. The revolting revelations of Gosnell’s former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart.

A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months. The exception is when Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan hijacked a segment on Meet the Press meant to foment outrage over an anti-abortion rights law in some backward red state.

The Washington Post has not published original reporting on this during the trial and The New York Times saw fit to run one original story on A-17 on the trial’s first day. They’ve been silent ever since, despite headline-worthy testimony.

The networks have found time to cover the Jodi Arias trial extensively. But a case where a doctor butchered third trimester fetuses in an illegal and revolting practice? Hey, what’s Bieber up to?

I can understand that the details are horrific but … that’s never stopped the media before. They may not want to dip into the water of the abortion debate but … they have no problem talking about every anti-abortion law the Republicans propose. And, as I said in my previous post, this isn’t really about the abortion debate.

Now maybe you could argue that part of the horror wouldn’t have happened without the ban on late-term abortions, which made women seeking them go to Gosnell. But you’re not going to find many people who agree with you. Late-term abortion bans are in place in 36 states and have been upheld by the Supreme Court. The ban is, in fact, perfectly consistent with Roe, which only forbad states from outlawing abortions in the first semester. A ban on partial birth abortion was passed by by veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress. And Gosnell appears to have also violated the BAIPA, which was passed by voice vote in the House and unanimously in the Senate. There is simply no twisting of the politics that could produce a situation in which Gosnell’s actions were remotely legal, even if we had nine Democrats on the Court.

(I would add that none of those European Wonder States we are supposed to imitate don’t allow third trimester abortions either. In fact, most have more restrictive abortion laws than we do.)

So what is it? Are they afraid that recalling the grisly details might remind the American public of what a gruesome procedure abortion is? Are there not enough pretty people and risque sex involved? Does the case just cross some line of brutality that no one wants to think about?

The media should be talking about this. They should be talking about dangerously unregulated abortion clinics. They should be talking about doctors who break the law. Doing so does not make you some crazy pro-life zealot. I’m pro-choice and I’m horrified and enraged by what happened in this case. Reporting on this doesn’t make you a Republican. Report on this makes you … a reporter.

Comments are closed.

  1. Miguelito

    I still say, you want to change people’s current mindset about abortion? Create a new legal abortion option for men.

    I do believe that you can’t just outlaw abortion because you will go back to back-alley ones, people dying, etc. But right now, there is such a cavalier attitude that far too many take, often using it as their birth control rather than, well.. birth control. You should feel bad/ashamed/whatever if you have an abortion, but it should still be an option.

    A legal option for men would lead toward the scale being a little more balanced. Right now, a woman has all the power. She can abort over the wishes of the father, or keep it and essentially have legal power over the man for at least 18 years if so desired. Keep in place the same limitations on the physical abortion (with some allowances so that a woman can’t show up after it’d be too late and be in control again). Make the legal abortion non-reversible: Can’t be used for any legal rights, states can’t make you pay support (that’ll keep it from ever happening right there) and if you later want to be a legal parent, you’d have to adopt like any random guy.

    Sure, this would lead to a lot of scumbags just running out on women and leaving them in the lurch, but long term, the more equal footing the man and woman are on would (hopefully) start to make people think twice and maybe even plan ahead more.

    As long as we have attitudes about it where it’s seen as perfectly ok to abort because it’s inconvenient, or that the state will fight to get child support from the father, or you’ll get more state support anyway; we’ll continue to see a far too cavalier attitude about sex, birth control, and abortion.

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  2. Mississippi Yankee

    Reporting on this doesn’t make you a Republican. Report on this makes you … a reporter.

    And also on the endangered species list since about 2007.

    Dr. Gosnell (and some of his staff) are perfectly valid reasons why public executions should be brought back in vogue.

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