Several commenters have decried the lack of media coverage of the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia. Gosnell is charged with the deaths of one pregnant woman and seven children who were born after botched abortions; those children were killed by having their spinal cords severed. Witnesses have testified that many more babies were also killed that way.
The reason for the media silence is obvious. Shining a spotlight on Gosnell's butcheries might cause people to raise questions about abortion, something the media has long treated as a sacred right. As pro-lifers have argued, there is no logical dfference between killing a child late in pregnancy and killing a child shortly after it emerges from the womb. Gosnell's grisly deeds drive that point home. Indeed, infanticide enjoys considerable support in the same elite circles that cherish abortion. When the Reagan Administration sought to protect handicapped infants from being left to die in hospitals, the New York Times was outraged. Barack Obama, back when he was an Illinois state senator, opposed legislation to give legal protection to children born following a failed abortion. Princeton philosophy professor Peter Singer has argued that parents should be able to kill children up to the age of two. And just recently a Planned Parenthood representative, asked in the Florida legislature what should happen to a baby born after a failed abortion, replied that the doctor and the mother should be the ones who decide what happens to the baby they had tried to kill.
The blunt truth is that what went on in Gosnell's abortion mill differs only in degree, not in kind, from what goes on in all the "clinics" operated by people who enjoy the unqualified support of all the purveyors of respectable opinion in this country. After all, one of Barack Obama's signature issues in the last election was his support for Planned Parenthood, an entity that kills hundreds of thousands of unborn children in America year after year. What happened in Philadelphia is the inevitable result of viewing abortion as an inalienable right. But what the Gosnell case shows is that you won't encounter facts supporting that viewpoint on NPR or the network news, or in the New York Times or Washington Post.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.