UPDATE: On May 13, 2013, after this article was originally posted, Dr. Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for killing three babies born alive.  The NBC affiliate in Philadelphia has chronicled the developments in the "House of Horrors" trial.

 

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By Michael D. Peabody –

Charged with multiple counts of first degree murder - Dr. Kermit Gosnell

Charged with multiple counts of first degree murder – Dr. Kermit Gosnell

Today the jury that is deciding the fate of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion provider who has been charged with killing four babies who had survived his attempts to abort them and in the 2009 overdose death of a patient, Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old mother of three, is entering its fourth day of deliberations.

Because of the political latitude given to these clinics, Gosnell had been able to operate what the grand jury report described in grisly detail as a filthy, contaminated facility for many years without a state inspection, and was able to allegedly violate many laws, including performing third trimester abortions and executing babies who were born alive by using scissors to stab their necks and snip their spinal cords. The evidence in the case is ghastly with accounts of fetal bodies being stored randomly throughout the building, and several clinic workers testified about squirming babies who cried out in pain as they were effectively "decapitated." When Gosnell's attorneys had their opportunity to be heard, they presented no witnesses.

Since abortion is so politically charged, professed people of faith sometimes think the "safest" course is to ignore the issue altogether. But the reality is, regardless of whether you believe the life of an unborn child should be protected, the Gosnell trial still matters because it involves children who were killed after they were born.

By way of perspective, California law permits certain types abortion only as an exception to the murder statute. There is no discussion as to what is a human being and what is not:

(a)Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.
(b)This section shall not apply to any person who commits an act that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply:

(1)The act complied with the Therapeutic Abortion Act, Article 2 (commencing with Section 123400) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code.

(2)The act was committed by a holder of a physician's and surgeon's certificate, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, in a case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth, although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or more likely than not.

(3)The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus.

(c)Subdivision (b) shall not be construed to prohibit the prosecution of any person under any other provision of law.

It was this California code that allowed prosecutors to charge Scott Peterson with the 2002 double-homicide of his wife and unborn child. In California, the killing of an unborn fetus with malice aforethought without the consent of a mother or involvement of a physician is first degree murder.

A Choice to Allow an Infant to Continue Living?

In April, the Florida legislature was considering a bill that would require abortionists to provide emergency medical care to an infant who survived an abortion attempt. Planned Parenthood lobbyist Alisa LaPolt Snow, who was testifying in opposition to the bill, was asked, "If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?"

LaPolt Snow replied, "We believe that any decision that's made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician."

She then repeated her answer.

Although many like to think that situation is unusual, the reality is that it is not unusual for these children (who are no longer unborn) to be either left to die or executed. And there are many who have survived these attempts.

The Washington Post recently published an article that describes the life of the subject of the film "October Baby," Gianna Jessen who survived an abortion attempt by "entrepreneurDr. Edward C. Allred. When she testified before Congress about why she lived after the abortion, Jessen said, "Fortunately for me the abortionist was not in the clinic when I arrived alive… I was early…. I am sure I would not be here today if the abortionist would have been in the clinic, as his job is to take life, not sustain it."  

In 2002 Gianna Jessen was a principle advocate for the the  Infants Born-Alive Protection Act which was signed by President George Bush in 2002.  (Pictured: President Bush and Gianna Jessen at the signing of the Infants Born-Alive Protection Act.)

The Path Toward Normalization of Infanticide

The Gosnell trial is the first time in recent memory that a doctor has been called to justice for killing children who are born alive after failed abortions. If Gosnell survives the prosecution, the next step will be a continuation in the process to legitimize what used to be called infanticide.

In 2011, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva wrote an article in the Journal of Medical  Ethics entitled, "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?"  (You can read it in its entirety here.)  The abstract of the article is as follows:

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call after-birth abortion' (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

There should be no question that killing a newborn baby is morally wrong, and that the perpetrators should be prosecuted. But basic concepts of life can be lost in the exigencies of medical costs and white-coated "professionalism." Even institutions that once would have at least remained neutral on the subject can become promoters as they face daunting financial struggles and cast Faustian bargains with those who have made their fortunes in the death industry.

But, as in Germany of the 1930s and 1940s, when the scientific wonder of eugenic and scientific knowledge wears off and when the laws and governments fade away and all is left is cold steel and dusty concrete, the horrors of an age are laid bare for succeeding generations. "Just following orders" will not be any excuse in the day of judgment.

Hope for the Tiny Victims . . . and All of Us

Seventh-day Adventist pioneer and leader, J.N. Andrews, once wrote a brief article for the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald about abortion. "One of the most shocking, and yet one of the most prevalent sins of this iStock_000004375435XSmallgeneration, is the murder of unborn infants," Andrews wrote. "Let those who think this a small sin, read Ps. cxxxix, 16. They will see that even the unborn child is written in God's book. And they may be well assumed that God will not pass unnoticed the murder of such children."  see this link at page 184.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:13-16.

For the infants who have died, there is still hope. Ellen White, in an 1858 Youths Instructor article republished in Selected Messages, Volume 2, Page 260, described a vision of the resurrection. "As the little infants come forth immortal from their dusty beds, they immediately wing their way to their mother's arms. They meet again nevermore to part. But many of the little ones have no mother there. We listen in vain for the rapturous song of triumph from the mother. The angels receive the motherless infants and conduct them to the tree of life."

God's love is sufficient to overcome the grave, including the unmarked tombs holding the tiny victims of infanticide. And God's grace is sufficient for all of us if we will accept it – there is forgiveness.

By secular legal standards, in America abortion is legal and people can make these life and death decisions for their own children up to a certain point. But it is still illegal to kill a child once it is born, even if it still happens routinely. At the very least, we must work to hold this line.

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3 Comments

  1. Steve Mahan says:

    Why does the Adventist church allow abortions upon requests in their Hospitals ? How can a doctor live with his concsciene after an abortion?

 
 
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