Why I'm Thankful for the Gosnell Case

Why I'm Thankful for the Gosnell Case

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 It's the story Satan wants us to ignore. Or at least forget.

By now, many of you have probably seen the Facebook posts and tweets about the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell — and the media's silence on it. What you read in the recent op-ed in USA Today or article in The Atlantic  about the violent murders of live, full-term babies at an abortion clinic in Philadelphia is sickening and horrifying. Gosnell is on trial for the murder of one woman and seven babies.

As the columnist of the USA Today article, Kirstin Powers, said: "This is not about being 'pro-choice' or 'pro-life.' It's about basic human rights." 

The only encouraging thing about this terrible case is that I've watched my Facebook page light up with links to the articles and relinks. (One article talks about how conservatives broke this story on Twitter.) And some fellow Christians have written some incredibly moving blog posts, such as this one by Boundless writer Joshua Rogers, "To the Infant Victims of Dr. Kermit Gosnell." The gruesome details we've learned about Dr. Gosnell's practices at his abortion clinic have crossed the line in a big way and have appeared to awaken us to this issue in a new way.

The thing is, if we believe what happened there is wrong — and it certainly is — we must back up and consider the whole issue of abortion and the reality that millions of preborn children are killed in abortion clinics each year. Yes, it's a particular kind of evil that snips the spinal cord of a living, breathing child as he comes out of the womb. But, the truth is, all abortions end a human life. 

I've watched some Christian leaders respond to this case, and the notoriety it is receiving, with a rebuke toward believers. Some of these leaders have reminded us, "This is nothing new! Such atrocities have been taking place for years — killing millions of babies and hurting millions of women. Where have you been, Christian?" 

And while I respect the truth they speak and stand by, the Lord has reminded me that the shocking and heart-wrenching nature of this story — and the fact that it is getting out among Christians — is an act of His grace. As Romans 2:4 says, "His kindness leads us to repentance." And though, I personally, have not kept the deaths of preborn children as close to my heart, mind and prayers as I should have, God has been kind to remind me, along with many fellow believers, that evil is being perpetrated against some of the most innocent of our society. 

This is a fact that Satan wants to mask under the confusion of a "political issue"; but you can not read about the Gosnell case without feeling extreme compassion for the individuals involved — beings created in God's image. 

The fact that what happened in the "House of Horrors" in Philadelphia shocks us into remembering the plight of preborn children, is a grace from the Lord, that should bring us to repentance and compel us to action. And I'm grateful for that. I hope our response to this case is not as short-lived as "sharing" an article on Facebook. I know that would be the enemy's desire. But I pray we would all dig deep and ask the Lord what our role should be in defending these children. Lives depend upon it. 

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  • There is a great 20 minute documentary on Dr. Gosnell and his clinic.  You can watch it here: http://3801lancaster.com/

  • The lack of press coverage  in the secular media is disturbing but what is even more disturbing is the conspiracy of silence within most Christian churches themselves.  It has been years, perhaps even a decade, since I have heard abortion preached against from any pulpit in any church I have attended.  

    Why are churches so silent when it comes to discussing people who harm children?  I just watched a documentary about the cover up of wide spread sexual abuse in the Catholic church in Australia.  People knew what was happening but said nothing.   Saying nothing is another form of lying.

  • Keith, really?  My pastor is extremely vocal against abortion,  and our church supports a local crisis pregnancy center (someday, when I'm not too busy with my own family, I hope to volunteer there).   But I know some churches don't like to get too political (my church is not one of them).

  • The reason why you don't hear about it anymore is most people in this country are resigned that "abortion is here to stay" so why bother trying to fight it.  A comfortable majority are in support of abortion, or rather in support of NOT repealing Roe v. Wade (although most support reasonable restrictions).  Even many honest to goodness Christians are not in favor of wasting their energies in trying to overturn Roe v. Wade but rather focusing on other "Christian issues" like human trafficking, fighting poverty, and the environment.  I suspect that the same sense of futility will come one gay marriage becomes legal nationwide (which will simply be a matter of time).  Many Christians have already "given up" on trying to fight that issue too.  They have come to conclude that like abortion, it's wrong but that's there's little we can or should do about it.

    Playing Devil's advocate here, if Christians truly believe that abortion = murder maybe part of the reason why there hasn't been more zeal is because as much as we intellectually know that a fetus is a human life with an eternal soul, our attitudes towards the crime don't seem to fit.  Meaning, if someone were to willingly murder their 1 year old baby not only would it be wrong from a legal sense, it produces a shocking emotional response.  Yet if a woman willingly aborts a fetus, legal or not, there is not quite as much moral outrage from the Christian community.  We don't ask the mother to repent and confess of her sin of "murder" (which essentially is what it is), we use more lenient language.  We don't refer to abortion as a whole as "genocide" because we don't want it to sound like we are putting our policies and our neighbors on the same plane as Hitler and Nazi Germany.

    This is not to say that we should start doing this and screaming in women's faces that they are baby-killers.  Simply that I've noticed that in Christianity (at least in this country but suspect elsewhere) there seems to be causes and crusades (again, another loaded term) which as "cool" and the "in" thing.  In generations past when Roe v. Wade was past I suspect abortion was one of them.  Now it is no longer.  Then it was gay marriage (and still is to some extent but now that is fading away).  Now it is what's termed "social justice" (e.g. human trafficking as mentioned earlier).  Seems abortion is no longer on churches' radar.

    I don't know how much interest this case will sustain against abortion (sadly, I doubt it will linger very long in people's minds).  But I just trust that God will call the right people to continue this just cause, like all the other just causes in this world.

  • It is sickening to hear the stories coming out from this trial, and I would agree they transcend being a political issue.  (being late term or in some cases post-birth). But I can't apply this same standard to the other end of the spectrum either, I just can't make myself believe they are the same morally or politically.  

  • This is so sickening. It's horrific and yet it happens every day..... I mean don't tell me that there aren't other Mal-pracitcing abortionists out there not to mention "regular" abortion.I agree with some of these comments though that we are becoming desensitized in general about abortion. A question for James79; what were you comparing? What wasn't the same? I lost you.

  • I don't know how to appropriately respond to this post.

    It is never ok to be thankful in any capacity for an atrocity. It is not ok to imply that these infant deaths, the death of a woman, and the women who suffered at the hand of this mal-practicing illegal practioner were neccessary to repoint our focus back onto the importance of life.

    I was indignant and a little frustrated to read in more progressive leaning publications that pro-life people were "happy" about this case. How could anyone be "happy" about this horrible, horrible story? How could anyone find "good" in the death of innocents, and in the kind of sociey that would push women into the abysmal condititions described in this clinic?

    If anything, this should motivate us to work with people to ensure that no woman -- low income or otherwise, is every subjected to these debasing circumstances, and should press us to counter abortions from both a preventative and pro-active reactive measures.

    I am not at all for abortion, in any capacity, but we do wrong when we imply that horrible slaughter houses like Gosnell's practice are the norm when it comes to abortion. They aren't -- but they would be, if abortion was an illegal procedure. So this story causes me incredible conflict when it comes to the issue in a way that I've never experienced. If women are willing to subject themelves to these sort of circumstances out of sheer desperation to rid themselves of an unwanted child -- what can we do to help THAT?

  • Kellie, my church is the same. Now. It actually took a late-term abortionist moving into our community to cause there to be a big outrage in most of the local churches. But it's caused a lot of people to literally put money where their mouth was, and through several organizations and churches, we were able to create a pregnancy referral center across the street from the clinic. It's been neat to see the Body come together in unity over this issue.

    MikeTime: I agree that people may feel that some of these moral issues are lost causes. But I also think some Christians may underestimate the little things they can do. We may not have time to volunteer at a pregnancy center or rescue girls from the sex trade, but we can have "seasoned with salt" conversations with colleagues, neighbors, anyone God puts in our lives. And when there is opportunity, we can get people thinking. When I met many people in the neighborhood of a new abortion clinic, I found that 1) many people had no idea there was an abortion clinic in their neighborhood, and 2) most had no idea that late term abortion was even legal. I think opportunities to share the truth with people, if shared in a loving way, are little victories in the war.

  • Dear MrsAshleyTOF,

     I think what Suzanne was trying to point out is how hard it is to get Christians to focus on important issues for very long. It is heart-breakingly sad that it takes something as horrific as this for so many Christians to remember how awful abortion is. Yes, this was "worse" by some degree but killing is killing. And, actually, I think it is good to be thankful in hard times (like this). After all God is in charge over all. He certainly didn't make that man kill babies, but He did allow him to. And as far as "if abortion wasn't legal..." issue, less than 75,000 women die per year from botched abortions and 50,000,000 babies have died from legal abortions. So.... if someone is going to die either way, wouldn't you want to choose the lesser number? I'm not at all disqualifying that women do die from unsafe abortions, but I just think that if someone must die, shoot for the smaller number. Again, I'm not trying to sound cruel at all. Those women were/are loved by God, but so are the babies.

  • Well-said, Ashley! I had the same reaction.

  • MrsAshleyTOF: I take issue with the statement that "if abortion were illegal, this is what it would always be." Gosnell wasn't running his clinic in a third-world country. Most abortions are legal in PA. There was nothing "underground" or "back alley" about the Women's Medical Society. Your assumption rests on a hypothetical situation in which this is not the case. This did not happen because there are "too many pro-life laws" shutting clincs down. There were other, "better" clinics blocks away. It was the lack of enforcement of pro-life laws already on the books that caused this. Pro-life laws (abortion restrictions) would have saved these women and children's lives if they had been properly enofrced. Instead, leaders and politicians succumbed to *pro-abortion* politics.

  • My heart was heavy the whole day yesterday as I read this for the 1st time hear and I prayed and asked God to keep my heart in that place as His heart always hurts for the loss of his children. I was a bit relived to see Canadian new's talking about this news yesterday when I turned on the TV to watch the news about Boston. Its such a hard place to decide what to do or feel, I am just simply asking God about his heart and what we can do.

  • Joy: I would rather that less women seek abortions, and that no one seek them from facilities as disgusting and vile as Gosnell's. I would rather that no one die. I would rather that we actually actively encourage those who would choose abortions to practice safe, effective and pro-active birth control, and that we work hard to make adoption a more attractive option both for women experiencing unexpected, unwanted preganancy and for infertile couples who want to raise children in a healthy, loving home.

    TheMeh: You haven't read the same articles I have, I guess. Gosnell's facility catered, nearly exclusively, to low income women who couldn't afford to go to a better clinic -- and charged flat fees under the table, sometimes medicating patients before they had ever seen anyone with an actual medical license or degree. At least one of the women who testified said that she was going to go to another facility -- but didn't because of her discomfort with those protesting outside, and instead was refered to Gosnell by a "friend." You are right, though -- Gosnell's facilities were practicing unethically and illegally. Just like every abortion clinic would be if the procedure were illegal.

  • MrsAshleyToF:

    Your point about not being "happy" about something like this is well-taken. I regret that I went with a sensationalized title that misrepresents how I truly feel about this tragedy. Of course I am not thankful that this happened. What I am thankful for is the softening of people's hearts toward unborn children that I have witnessed as a result of this instance being brought to light.

    As far as your argument that "most" abortion clinics are somehow totally different than Gosnell's, I do not agree. As I said, the crimes that have been brought to light at that abortion clinic are heinous, but I appreciated what Randy Alcorn, who has dedicated much of his life to research and advocacy of the pro-life cause, had to say:

    "I must say that while I agree the revelations in the case are all horrific, in fact I am not shocked about them. Why? Because I already knew what was going on in abortion clinics. I already knew that innocent people are killed there by the hundreds every week. Twenty-four years ago I looked in the dumpster of an abortion clinic and saw pieces of human flesh. This is not news to me. I knew that the lives of women are ruined there, and I knew that the “doctors” who spend their lives killing babies in most cases know exactly what they are doing. (Yes, I have talked with them.)

    "There is nothing new about this. If you are surprised to discover, as in the case of this Pennsylvanian abortion clinic, that those who kill babies for a living are really not very good people, my question is…where have you been, and what have you been thinking goes on in these clinics? And if some abortionists are better at sanitizing the walls and disposing of baby body parts, do you really think that makes them any better in the sight of God Almighty, Creator of these children, and Judge of us all?"

    [From Alcorn's Facebook page, April 12, 2013]

    It's hard stuff to think about for sure. It's very uncomfortable to consider that you may be party to such evil by simply not becoming involved. And I am thankful for the discussions this is causing and hope they will not be short-lived.

  • MrsAshleyTOF:

    Here is my problem with your response Mrs. Ashley.  When you stated the following: “but we do wrong when we imply that horrible slaughter houses like Gosnell's practice are the norm when it comes to abortion. They aren't -- but they would be, if abortion was an illegal procedure.”  You said that articles like this one imply that Abortion clinics are horrible slaughter houses as a norm. (rephrased)  However, ALL abortion clinics ARE horrible slaughter houses!  Even if the grown women visiting these houses of horror are not normally dying these days, millions of their unborn children are NORMALLY being slaughtered in these houses without anyone blinking an eye.  

    Your views and statements show a lack of equality in your view of life and the underlying value of each person that God creates.   I’m troubled and indignant as well, just more at your response than the original article, the article said she was thankful for the effects of the trial, not the atrocities leading up to the trial.  Suzanne was clear that the case horrified her.  

    I don't see any difference between the 7 babies and 1 woman horribly murdered recently by the evil man Gosnell, or the over 50 million unborn children murdered legally since 1973 by equally evil men and women working in the abortion clinics across our nation.  And far more importantly, I don't think God sees a difference.

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