Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. - John 3:36

A Peek Behind the Screen -- A Look at the Conviction of Abortionist Kermit Gosnell

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director of Christian Life Resources

CLR NOTE: Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted May 13, 2013, on three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of unborn babies whose spines were cut during late-term abortion procedures as his West Philadelphia clinic. Gosnell was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the drug-overdose death of a patient who had undergone an abortion.

The Lion thought it might be as well to frighten the Wizard, so he gave a large, loud roar, which was so fierce and dreadful that Toto jumped away from him in alarm and tipped over the screen that stood in a corner. As it fell with a crash they looked that way, and the next moment all of them were filled with wonder. For they saw, standing in just the spot the screen had hidden, a little old man, with a bald head and a wrinkled face, who seemed to be as much surprised as they were. The Tin Woodman, raising his axe, rushed toward the little man and cried out, “Who are you?”

“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible,” said the little man, in a trembling voice. “But don't strike me--please don’t--and I’ll do anything you want me to.”

Our friends looked at him in surprise and dismay.

“I thought Oz was a great Head,” said Dorothy.

“And I thought Oz was a lovely Lady,” said the Scarecrow.

“And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast,” said the Tin Woodman.

“And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire,” exclaimed the Lion.

“No, you are all wrong,” said the little man meekly. “I have been making believe.”

“Making believe!” cried Dorothy. “Are you not a Great Wizard?”

“Hush, my dear,” he said. “Don’t speak so loud, or you will be overheard--and I should be ruined. I’m supposed to be a Great Wizard.”

“And aren’t you?” she asked.

“Not a bit of it, my dear; I’m just a common man.”

- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum (1900)


I have been reluctant to speak too soon about the Kermit Gosnell case primarily because it was too easy.  Gosnell’s deeds of murder and mayhem of unborn and newly born children have been chronicled in excruciating detail by every pro-life agency and commentator.  Stories of a grimy clinic, late-term abortions, the unintentional live births and the subsequent murder of those children sound like words from a shocking slasher movie.

Any student of Scripture knows that life exists in the womb.  Passages like Psalm 51:5 and Psalm 139 are frequently cited as Biblical evidence of God’s view of unborn life.  There are other passages – references to unborn children moving in the womb, being called from within the womb to minister, etc.  For the Christian community that actually reads the Bible there has been no mystery concerning the humanity of unborn life.

What prompted this commentary was the statement released by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortions in America.  Just two paragraphs:

“The jury has punished Kermit Gosnell for his appalling crimes. This verdict will ensure that no woman is victimized by Kermit Gosnell ever again.

“This case has made clear that we must have and enforce laws that protect access to safe and legal abortion, and we must reject misguided laws that would limit women's options and force them to seek treatment from criminals like Kermit Gosnell.”

- Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood Federation of America Vice President for Communications

Gosnell was the face of the abortion community revealed in all of its horror and callousness.  It wasn’t easy getting the story out.  Many mainstream media outlets ignored or buried the story.  Admittedly, the details are horrible.  For those who like to catch up on the news while eating dinner, the Gosnell story was not one a person would have wanted to hear.

The reaction of the abortion-rights community has been sadly predictable.  Consistent with the fantasy marketed within the abortion-rights culture, the babies are always ignored.  Gosnell was convicted of first-degree murder in killing three babies who were born alive before he severed their spinal cords just below the neck.  He was also convicted of one count of involuntary manslaughter in the drug-overdose death of a patient.  Abortion-rights advocates continue to ignore what is "behind the screen" – the reality that in abortion a child dies.

But this has been an ordeal not just for the abortion-advocacy community but for the apathetic public as a whole.  What Gosnell had done was bring to the public eye what has been happening inside of wombs for decades.  For the disinterested, abortion was just a private choice between a woman and her doctor.  Now the real victim is revealed in all of the horror which is abortion.

When pressed on these matters, abortion-rights advocates argue that Gosnell’s crime was an unsanitary practice where he performed abortions beyond Pennsylvania’s 24-week gestation limit.  Really!

Consider the story of Amillia Taylor.  She was born October 24, 2006 in a south Florida hospital.  For a normal pregnancy that typically lasts between 37 and 39 weeks, Amillia was termed a “miracle baby” in that she was born at 21 weeks and six days gestation in the womb.  She weighed 283 grams (just under 10 ounces) and measured 24 centimeters long (about 9 ½ inches) -- which means she easily could have been held with one hand.  Her skin was translucent, revealing the incredible network of underlying blood vessels.  Most significantly, she survived and lives today as a normal grade-school-aged child.

There is something arbitrary about permitting abortions through certain stages of development.  For Pennsylvania 24 weeks was the limit.  It could have been 20 or 30.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, 62.8% of abortions occur at 8 weeks or less of development, 91.4% occur at 13 weeks or less of development, 7.3% were performed between 14 and 20 weeks of development and 1.3% are performed at 21 weeks or greater development.[1]

The abortion-advocacy community encourages women to have abortions early.  The reasoning is that it is safer for the woman, it is easier on the staff to do abortions earlier in a pregnancy, and the child has little or no sense of self-awareness (presumably, and hopefully -- and yet still heavily debated) no sense of pain.

But why split hairs?  Terminating a life based on its level of maturity, its intellectual capacity and wantedness has always been the most troubling aspect of the abortion-rights movement.  A child at eight weeks of development in the womb is a person.  The heart is beating, the body is maturing and left alone to develop this baby always continues to mature through all its stages of life.  It never stops being a person nor does it pass a mile-marker when it becomes a person.  There is not some “window of personlessness” at which we can logically defend killing a child.

The womb, however, is a hidden place – out of the sight of the mother and father – most often out of the sight of the abortionist and staff – until small body parts are extracted from what had been the home of this young life.  If the mother can be kept from the biological facts about her unborn child; if the church remains silent on the theological facts of life beginning at fertilization; and if the press releases can ignore the three first-degree murders in the Gosnell clinic, than the fantasy is preserved, life goes on and unborn children continue to die.

The Gosnell case is a peek behind the screen.  It is the exposure of the fraud that abortion really is.  This is not the removal of mere blobs of tissue.  This tissue is life – human life – accountable for sin before its Perfect Creator (Psalm 51:5) and redeemed by that same Creator through the gift of His Son (John 3:16).

Gosnell’s shop of horrors was as much a peek into the womb as it was to the gruesomeness of late-term abortions.  For those of us in the pro-life community there were no revelations here.  Pictures of aborted children in buckets and dismembered aborted children spread out on the table have been familiar to us for many years.

For the abortion-rights community this is an embarrassment.  Its leadership continues to demonstrate a faux view of life – ignoring the first-degree murders that occurred in order to protect their Emerald City of deception.

For the apathetic there is one less excuse to being disconnected.  The screen has been knocked over, and we have been given a peek of what is going on behind it.  In the United States this scene occurs inside of the womb more than 3,000 times each day.  Nearly 25% of all pregnancies end in the intentional death of an unborn child.  The bliss is gone because there can no longer be any claim of ignorance.  We reach a crossroads: either we choose to live the fantasy of a victimless abortion or choose to accept the reality that abortion kills babies. The time has come for abortion to end.

~ Pastor Robert Fleischmann, National Director of Christian Life Resources

May 14, 2013

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