In his 1996 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton said he thought abortion in this country should be safe and rare, although he did virtually nothing on the latter count.
Now, 17 years later, abortion is neither safe – especially for the infant whose life is being snuffed out – nor rare.
Take the case of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia doctor convicted earlier this year of snipping the spinal cords of three infants who survived abortions. He also was convicted of manslaughter in the death of a woman who underwent an abortion in his clinic. Gosnell said that he believed he was fighting poverty by providing abortions to poor women. A strange way to fight poverty: kill the children of the poor.
Gosnell escaped the death penalty by agreeing not to appeal his conviction. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Jurors said the trial’s appalling images, including jars of fetus body parts, and graphic testimony took a heavy emotional toll on them.
Advocates of abortion would have us believe that the Gosnell case is a rare exception. But how are we to know?
That’s why the Texas legislature passed a bill requiring that abortion providers have a doctor with admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. It also prohibits most abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy, when scientific evidence shows the infant is able to feel pain.
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court voted, 5-4, not to block implementation of the law while it is on appeal before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
That’s as it should be. Too often courts at both the state and federal level have stepped in to halt laws, frequently abortion laws, passed by elected representatives. If anything, the courts should respect the will of the people over those, such as Planned Parenthood, that have a vested interest.
The Texas law gained national attention when Democratic state senator Wendy Davis successfully filibustered against it, blocking a vote before the legislature’s adjournment deadline. Gov. Rick Perry brought the lawmakers back for a special session, and the law was passed.
Davis, who is now running for governor, said in an interview with The Weekly Standard that she was unaware of what had happened in the Gosnell case. Although that’s inexcusable, it’s not terribly surprising. The case did not get widespread coverage in the mainstream media. After all, this was not about Sandy Hook or Columbine.
The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights but whose statistics are considered reliable, reported in 2011 that 50 million abortions were performed in the United States from 1973, when the Supreme Court issued its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, through 2008, the latest year for which it had statistics. In that last year, 1.2 million abortions were performed. At that rate, we’ve likely exterminated in the past five years at least another 6 million children – nearly 3,300 a day – who will never laugh or sing, feel the sunshine on their faces or sit on Santa’s lap.
How many inventors, doctors, artists, scientists and Nobel laureates were among them?
We will never know.