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Susan Page

Speaking Up About ‘Live Abortions’

I was asked at a dinner what my topic would be for this week’s column. The answer didn’t elicit a rousing response. Interest cooled, eyes diverted, the subject changed.

Be forewarned. It’s a tough one. You may not want to know, either.

For 30 years, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, had been performing abortions at the Women’s Medical Society in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.

He specialized in illegal late-term abortions.

Now, after years of complaints and lawsuits, this monster is finally on trial on several counts, including the murders of seven babies born alive, and of one woman, dead from an overdose of drugs before a procedure. Though records were destroyed, testimony from former clinic workers indicates that many more live-baby murders occurred.

NBC-10 television news in Philadelphia reported that Stephen Massof, a former Gosnell worker, “described how he snipped the spinal cords of babies, calling it, ‘literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.’” One former worker, Adrienne Moton, testified that Gosnell taught her his “snipping” technique to use on infants born alive.

A 2010 FBI raid yielded more than the suspected illegal drug distribution: filth, dried blood, cat feces, unsanitary equipment, drugged, moaning women, unlicensed workers and fetuses in jars. And more shocking, this was the first time the clinic had been inspected since the early 1990s. In fact, after opening in 1979, the clinic went uninspected for 10 years. Both in 1992 and 1993, Gosnell’s “little shop of horrors” was sited for several violations by the Pennsylvania Health Department, but was allowed to stay open despite of accusations of live birth abortions, exploiting poor immigrant women and taking unreported cash payments.

Gosnell’s acts are so repugnant that most people won’t look them in the face because it’s a tiny newborn slain by a doctor. But news outlets can’t ignore these murders any more than the Sandy Hook murders. Neither can our president. So far he’s been silent on Gosnell’s infanticide, but press secretary Jay Carney, when asked, said, “the things you hear and read about this case are unsettling.” Imagine if the president described the Sandy Hook murders as “unsettling,” or the Boston bombings.

In a prayer vigil speech for Sandy Hook victims, President Obama, quoted Bible scripture, Matthew 19:14, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” If only he’d hold a vigil for Gosnell’s victims and speak about their place in heaven’s kingdom and Gosnell’s place in Hades.

No doubt the politics of abortion abetted Gosnell’s three-decade butchering spree. When pro-choice Republican Tom Ridge became Pennsylvania’s governor, his administration stopped routine inspections that “put up a barrier to women” wanting abortions.

Are you kidding? The nail salon I go to gets routine inspections. Whether pro-life or pro-choice, can’t we agree that medical clinics, especially those dealing with mothers and babies, should be health inspected?

Though sickeningly graphic, I read the trial testimony and saw the pictures of murdered babies with little necks slit, because they deserve the dignity of acknowledgement. This column is dedicated to Baby A, whom Gosnell killed at 27 weeks, a big, pink healthy girl he joked about as he severed her spine.

My daughter blessed me with the chance to witness the birth of my granddaughter. Little Emma, as all babies do, struggled heroically from the safety of the womb head-first down through the birth canal. Fully formed with a tiny circulatory and digestive system, heart, lungs, kidneys and eyes, she finally plunged out into the world, completely vulnerable, completely trusting.

It is Emma I think of as my heart breaks.

There are plenty who advocate for American women’s reproductive rights. But how about an innocent baby’s rights? One who has the audacity to survive a pregnancy, a birth and sometimes poison, only to face a doctor to whom human life means little more than cash under a filthy birthing table.

The Gosnell trial jury, the so-far mum major news media and all of us must cry out for those babies.

What kind of people are we if we remain silent?

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