From Roe to Gosnell: The case for regime change on abortion
By JAMES TARANTO
Here is incontrovertible proof that Kirsten Powers and Conor Friedersdorf are correct in arguing that the murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell has received insufficient media coverage: On Friday, Snopes.com was compelled to publish a page confirming that the story is real, not merely an urban legend.
What accounts for the media’s lack of interest in a trial that not only is sensational but implicates the most divisive social and political issue in America? PJMedia.com’s Roger L. Simon has the answer: “The trial of Dr. Gosnell is a potential time bomb exploding in the conventional liberal narrative on abortion itself.” He demonstrates via self-reflection:
Welcome to the mushy middle, Roger. This columnist has been here for quite some time, as you can see from this 1999 piece. But we too, when we were very young, were a “pro-choice” libertarian. We came to question, and ultimately rejected, that position, although fully accepting the “pro-life” side of the argument remains a bridge too far for us.
The line-drawing exercise is indeed a vexing one. We aren’t “pro-life”–which is to say that we do not favor the outlawing of all abortion–and not only because of the difficult cases Simon notes. Our own moral intuition is that an early-term abortion, or the use of an abortifacient to prevent implantation, is different in kind from a late-term abortion or infanticide.
But we concede that intuition is irreconcilable with the scientific fact that the difference between a zygote and an infant–or, for that matter, an adult–is one of degree: All are the same human being at different stages of development.
I missed this one when it was published, nearly three weeks ago.Taranto (and Roger L. Simon, who is quoted in this article) put their finger on a huge reason the MSM tried to avoid, and have since given near token coverage to this trial.
Learning what Gosnell did all but forces people to think on what Gosnell was doing. Gosnell killed babies who were right around the age where they could survive, with aid, outside of the uterus (the court will decide whether several of those he killed were, indeed, viable). That thinking process is a Pandora’s box for some one who is vaguely Pro-“Choice”. Not all abortionists do late-term abortions, but Gosnell was not alone, either. George Tiller and Leo Carhart also did/do late-term abortions. The whole “outlier” argument - whether regarding late-term abortions or abortuary filth is simply a hastily improvised falsehood to mollify the willfully ignorant.
As soon as the concept of viability comes under thought, its arbitrariness becomes evident. First, the point of viability is not fixed, and it has been moved earlier and earlier as medical knowledge and capabilities have grown. If one thinks just a half step further, the question arises: does any transformative process happen when a baby becomes viable that takes it from non-human to human? The answer is, “No!”, and that question leads, if the reasoner allows herself/himself to go “there”, to the question of what makes something some one, a human being. This is the “there” to which Taranto (and, apparently, Simon and his wife) have come. Without articulating it to this degree of detail, they realized that, whether zygote or senescent adult, both are genetically a unique human being, and are in stages of the continuous process that, if not interrupted, starts at the point when the chromosomes from the egg and the sperm become a full set, and ends in old age when the body’s vital functions break down to the point that the body can no longer sustain life.
Taranto stops, at least in this article, at this point. He points out that fully realizing and acknowledging all this is basically fatal to the Pro-“Choice” position (for those who value human life more than their hamburger (or tofu burger) or their kitty, at least). But he also labels as “monstrous” the implication of the full Pro-Life position, that women in the uncommon position of being pregnant from rape or incest would have to carry that child for nine months and then face the choice of keeping and raising that child or giving him/her up for adoption. I’m sure Taranto knows this, but it may come as a “surprise” to Pro-“Choice” people who advance those facts as an objection: Pro-Life people are quite aware of those potential pains (not every woman so situated is going to view that process and that choice as painful). Being human is fraught with choices in which all options are to one degree or another painful or entail the risk of pain. The rational approach is to choose the option(s) in which the pain or evil is least serious. The bottom line, using this reasoning, is that killing a human being who has done no wrong and poses almost no threat (and the long-term psychological consequences of that choice) is a far greater evil than nine months of an involuntary pregnancy and a keep-or-adopt-out choice (and the long-term psychological consequences of that process and choice).
Though Pro-Abortion and Pro-“Choice” people deny or try to ignore it, the past 4 decades have shown that accepting the killing of an innocent and harmless human being as a “right” does great harm to a society, and puts that society onto a slippery slope that leads to killing infants and the aged when they become inconvenient. The US is pretty far down that slope!