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.