I try to stay out of the political fray. I have my views, but I also know well that reasonable people can differ on many things. Most of the political pundits are polarizing. I do not want to be polarizing. I think most people are earnest in their choices and do not take lightly the positions they take. I would rather add to the dialogue than entrench and through stones.
I am more interested in bridging gaps than creating them. Abortion is one of those things as to which people have tried to carve out a middle ground without success. I agree with freedom of choice. I agree that women should be able to control their bodies and not be intruded upon by other people or government. We have a history, a human history, of abuse toward women by men and government.
I think we have emerged out the other side of that dark reality for the most part, though men still prey on women sometimes. More accurately, people still prey on people. It is the sad human condition since the time of Cain and Abel. The powerful prey on and take advantage of the weak. Parents abuse children, men abuse women, sometimes women abuse men, the criminal among us take advantage of the weak in body or mind. Government and the people should stand up against these injustices and seek to prevent violence and crime and bring to justice those who perpetuate it.
The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell has been playing out in recent weeks in Pennsylvania. Dr. Gosnell is a doctor who for many, many years performed abortions in an abortion clinic in Philadelphia that catered to the poor women in that area. He is accused of negligently performing procedures on at least one woman who died at his hands. There were other women who died at his clinic, but charges are only pending in regard to one. He is also accused of killing in astoundingly brutal and cold blooded ways babies who were born alive. These babies were “allowed” to live for twenty minutes or more, moving their hands and feet and crying, before he or someone at his direction took scissors and “snipped” their heads off. (They referred to the “procedure” as “snipping”.)
This is where the intellectual debate on abortion begins to come unglued. Roe v. Wade carved out the first trimester of pregnancy as a no man’s land between human life and something else. Since that time, the line has been advanced to the point of birth. Now, we have playing out in a court room in Pennsylvania a murder trial, and the only reason it is a murder trial is that the babies were “allowed” to live beyond birth, even if for only 20 minutes.
The dialogue is fascinating if not brutal, cold and frightful. Because the Doctor was negligent in performing the medical procedure of abortion, the fetuses were born alive; he is now being tried for the murder of babies. Four of them to be exact.
What turns an aborted fetus into a baby? The transition from fetus to child is minutes. Twenty minutes before birth, it is a surgical procedure; twenty minutes after birth it is cold blooded murder.
The Gosnell case is messy and makes a real mess of the abortion debate. It is hard to keep it at the intellectual level when babies’ heads are being snipped off as they lie on the table moving their limbs, breathing, trying to see the faces of the people who would otherwise be there to comfort and hold them. This case is hard to stomach and hard to fit into the intellectual boxes when the facts stare you in the face. The middle ground in the abortion debate is a no man’s land that is extremely uncomfortable to abide after reading the details of this case.
At least one reporter has completely changed positions on abortion as a result of covering the case. For an account, read and watch the interview of JD Mullane.