The trial of Kermit Gosnell—a Philadelphia doctor charged in January 2011 with, among other things, murdering seven infants who survived abortions he performed—has been under way for a month. But it was only last week that the case was thrust into the national spotlight. Thanks to intense pressure from conservative critics of the media's apparent lack of interest in the case, the rest of the country has now glimpsed some of what went on for years in Gosnell's benignly named Women's Medical Society.
Investigators who raided the clinic in 2010 saw "blood on the floor" and smelled "urine in the air," according to the grand jury that indicted Gosnell. They also found "fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic—in bags, milk jugs, orange-juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers." Members of Gosnell's staff testified that the abortionist would deliver babies who had been gestating for as long as 30 weeks, far longer than the 24-week limit imposed by Pennsylvania law. Gosnell or staff members would gouge the infant's neck with scissors to sever the spinal cord, according to the grand jury report. Gosnell referred to the method as "snipping."
These and other appalling details of the Gosnell trial elicit reactions that might be called revulsion or disgust or horror. The word that eminent bioethicist and physician Leon Kass prefers is "repugnance." This intense human reaction reflects a sort of deep moral intuition, he says, and it is one that deserves much more serious consideration than our too-sophisticated culture allows.
"As pain is to the body so repugnance is to the soul," Dr. Kass says as we sit down for an interview in his book-lined office at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is the Madden-Jewett Scholar. "So too with anger and compassion. Repugnance is some kind of wake-up call that there is something untoward going on and attention must be paid. These passions are not simply irrational. They contain within them the germ of insight. You cannot give proper verbal account of the horror of evil, yet a culture that couldn't be absolutely horrified by such things is dead."
President Obama was asked about the Kermit Gosnell trial in an interview that aired this morning:
"Have you been watching the Gosnell trial? It's a Philadelphia abortion doctor accused of gruesome crimes. Are you following it, and do you think it animates a larger debate about abortion in this country?"
The problem with Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist on trial for killing a mother and at least seven infants born alive after botched abortions, is that the government has too many anti-abortion regulations and not enough public funds for providing abortions to poor women. That’s according to the participants on a conference call hosted by RH Reality Check, a news and commentary website focused on “reproductive & sexual health and justice.”
One of the most sinister characters on TV appears in AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead and is known asthe Governor. Initially presented as a selfless leader, the Governor is soon exposed as a deranged tyrant who demands absolute loyalty from everyone around him and worships death to the point of preserving human heads in aquarium tanks. In this season’s finale, he even slaughters his own people in a frenzy of bloodlust.
Blue Bell, Pa. Bill Clinton was the star at a reelection rally here for Barack Obama, in suburban Philadelphia the day before the election. The former president addressed a crowd in the cold on the campus of Montgomery County Community College Monday afternoon. It was one one of four appearances Clinton made across Pennsylvania today.
The Romney campaign seems to have committed to a late push into Pennsylvania, to the derision of Team Obama. The latter sees this as a desperation ploy by a foundering campaign, similar to John McCain’s late entrance into the Keystone State in 2008. Is that right?
Matthew Continetti reviews Larry P. Arnn's The Founders' Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It in the Claremont Review of Books:
On Tuesday, the Vatican appointed Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput to lead Philadelphia’s Catholic population. Formerly the archbishop of Denver, Colorado, Chaput brings years of experience to the job – which he’ll need in a diocese that has been rocked by sexual abuse scandals.
Dr. Gosnell was a little befuddled at his arraignment on January 20. Indicted for eight murders, the Philadelphia abortionist told the court that he understood the first count, a charge of third-degree murder for the death of a woman on whom he had operated. He didn’t understand, however, the seven other counts—the first-degree charges for the deaths of seven babies delivered alive and then killed in his clinic.