There is no shortage of disturbing images in the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. The grand jury report is not for the faint of heart. And while I ardently disagree with the decision by most news organizations to – at least initially – not cover the trial, I can still understand why they wouldn’t want to talk about the gruesome realities of the case. In fact, the morning I began to cover the trial, the host of my show asked me to consider toning it down in my newscasts – and all (all?) I mentioned were the scissors.
To the secular media: I get it. Sometimes there are stories that are just so chilling that no one wants hear or read them, but we journalists still have the duty get to the bottom of the story. How was a clinic like this ever able to exist in a first-world country like ours? Is his the only clinic like this, or are there more Gosnells out there? I learned in journalism school that a reporter cannot make assumptions about anyone or anything. Therefore, we journalists can’t just assume that Gosnell’s is an isolated case – and if it isn’t, we have a duty to tell the public about it.
I’ve sent an interview request to Planned Parenthood, but I am yet to hear back from them. As a member of the Catholic media, I am aware that members of the abortion industry probably won’t talk to me because they think I’m politically motivated. But these are genuine questions that need to be answered – because there are larger implications here for the safety of the women seeking abortions, and also for the children who may survive abortions (they do have full legal rights of citizenship once outside the birth canal). If you’re a secular journalist reading this piece, I would be grateful if you could ask the following questions. Or, should an abortion industry official happen to see this, please feel free to contact me directly.
First, I read a report that Gosnell’s lawyer, during cross-examination, downplayed the procedures in his clinic by saying they were common in the abortion industry at-large. Is this true? If Gosnell’s procedures are not standard to the industry, what is standard procedure? The latest string of videos from Lila Rose’s Live Action confirms at least that Gosnell’s is not the only clinic that would be willing to let a baby die after a botched abortion (http://www.liveaction.org/inhuman/videos/) – are there more? Should these doctors be punished if the evidence proved they did not provide life saving care for the child?
Second, the conditions in Gosnell’s clinic were revolting, to say the least. He could quite possibly become a poster child for legislation that would require abortion clinics to have the same standards as hospitals. I know that most – perhaps all – abortion rights groups have opposed these bills in the past, saying it would force too many clinics to shut down. In light of the Gosnell case, will that position change? Wouldn’t hospital-like requirements ensure that every clinic provides a clean, safe environment for women? Wouldn’t it be better for a woman to travel farther away if it meant lessening her risk of STDs, infections or even death? If you remain opposed to these kinds of standards, why?
No one should be exempt from tough questions when a tragedy occurs: The government got tough questions after the dismal response to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina; BP got tough questions after the tragic rig explosion and oil spill; the National Rifle Association is currently getting tough questions because of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
What happened over all these years at Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” is a tragedy, too. It’s time now for journalists to ask some tough questions of the abortion industry.
Anna Mitchell is the news director and anchor for the “Son Rise Morning Show” on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network.
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Thank you! – The Editors