Twitchy.com reports that there is a concerted effort today on Twitter to spread the word about Kermit Gosnell and his trial for serial murder of newly born babies. The idea (which appears to have originated on Facebook) ignores Instapundit’s now age-old plea: “can we please stop scheduling PR stunts on Fridays?” Nevertheless, it is still a good idea. The story has been pooh-poohed as a “local crime story” by national reporters. As Jim Geraghty points out, what was the O.J. Simpson trial? The Trayvon Martin case? The arrest of Henry Louis Gates? I would add to that stories about serial murderers of strangers, which often make national news — or indeed, the single murder of any abortion doctor. The fundamental irony is expressed well by John Nolte:
If someone had killed Kermit Gosnell you can BET YOUR LIFE media would cover it. He (allegedly) kills SEVEN and *crickets*.
— John Nolte(@NolteNC) April 12, 2013
The attempt by leftists to black out the story is so complete, they’re even considering deleting the Wikipedia article about Gosnell.
All this got me thinking about why the Gosnell story is being ignored. I do believe that if a random masked man were walking into numerous delivery rooms and snipping the spinal cords of babies the mothers were trying to have, it would be perhaps the biggest story in the nation. I think there are two things that, in the mind of the media, separate this story from such a situation.
First, unlike babies in a delivery room, the babies are not wanted by their mothers. Quite simply, the media is putting a lower value on the lives of babies that mothers don’t want — even after they are born. I think this is a fundamental difference between people outraged by abortion and people who support late-term abortions. The former consider all life precious, while the latter group, which often falsifies the facts about why people obtain such abortions (about which more in a second), simply does not care as much about lives that are not wanted by their mothers.
This was made clear to me when I saw an Erick Erickson tweet saying that this would be a huge story if Gosnell had killed puppies. I immediately thought: but dog pounds do kill puppies, all the time, if they are not wanted. With dogs, we look at an overpopulation and decide that we will attempt to place the creatures in homes, but only up to a point. With humans, it is different — at least for now. We put unwanted children in foster homes, and no matter how long they remain unwanted, we do not simply put them down.
But a society that takes no note of a Kermit Gosnell is a society that is on a slippery slope towards putting foster children to sleep. And if you want to mock me for saying that, tell me what national newspapers have been reporting on the Gosnell trial. I’ll wait right here.
You would think that a profession (journalism) that prides itself on “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” would recognize this slippery slope and highlight it, but not so much.
The second factor at work here is, I believe, the lazy assumption that most mid- or late-term abortions are done because the fetus is horribly deformed and has a terminal disease, to the point where it will lead such a short and painful life that the parents killed it out of mercy. Such abortions happen, of course, but they are not the only such abortions. I have discussed this before in the context of partial-birth abortions:
Radical abortion rights supporters claim that we need to have partial-birth abortion, because (they claim) most late-term abortions are done for medical reasons such as terrible genetic abnormalities. This is not so. Don’t believe me; believe liberal journalists David Savage and Franklin Foer.
David Savage of the L.A. Times has written: “Doctors say only a small percentage of [partial-birth abortions] are done because of medical complications or fetal deformity.” Foer summarized research done by the Washington Post and Bergen Record and said: “After interviewing doctors who perform the procedure, both papers concluded that only in very few instances was the [partial-birth abortion] actually necessary to protect the woman’s health. Most of them were performed on poor women who could not muster the money to pay for abortions earlier in their pregnancies.”
In addition, the “health” exception for women is not limited to physical health. The exception is so broad that it can always be justified by a doctor willing to claim that a woman’s mental health would be affected by the denial of an abortion. As Jan Crawford Greenburg has explained:
Current Supreme Court jurisprudence is understood by lower courts to prohibit those flat-out bans unless the laws provide exceptions for a woman’s mental health. Lower courts repeatedly have struck down laws that only provide an exception for serious physical issues as being contrary to Supreme Court precedent.
I don’t know whether any of Gosnell’s victims were terminally ill anyway, but to assume that they were simply because a late-term abortion was done is lazy.
End the media blackout.
P.S. There is a simpler potential reason for the blackout, and it may be the real reason: if people get outraged about this, they may start thinking to themselves: hey, how is this different from the guy killing the baby inside the womb instead of outside? Does that mean maybe I oppose abortion — or at least late-term abortion?
And we can’t have that!