Abortion: President Obama’s Position, Dr. Gosnell’s Practice, & All of Us

Recently more and more of the press are picking up on the case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his abortion practices, and many are being left horrified by them because of his treatment of both women and babies. But the parallels between this practice and that of late-term abortion (partial-birth abortion) should not be ignored.

The most stringent gate-keepers of pro-choice rights have defended late-term abortion because they know that if late-term abortion is banned more and more abortion practices could be banned and the “rights” of women to these medical procedures could be diminished. For instance, when President Obama was a senator he voted no on banning late-term abortion for the following reason: “…not because I don’t recognize that these are painful issues, but because [he] trusts woman to make these decisions.”


In a fundraising letter in 2004 Michelle Obama argued that her husband would fight for women’s rights and against the then rising conservatism in America, and used his denial of the partial-birth abortion ban to establish it.

So what’s the difference between “terminating” [medical procedure of late-term abortion] a fetus inside the womb and killing [crime of infanticide] a baby born outside of it? Tim Carney, of the Washington Examiner, shows that there is none:

…late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart, who operates in Germantown, Md., snips their spines with scissors.

In his first U.S. Senate race, Obama used Carhart’s procedure as a fundraising pitch. In a 2004 campaign mailing, Michelle Obama tried to rally the donor base by explaining how Republicans were trying to ban partial-birth abortion, “a legitimate medical procedure,” as Michelle put it.

The most substantive difference between the partial-birth abortions on which Obama fundraised and Gosnell’s abortions is this: Dr. Gosnell did the snipping outside of the mother’s birth canal, while Dr. Carhart reaches his scissors inside the woman’s vagina to snip the baby’s spine.

This fact points us to the most likely reason the mainstream media ignored the story as long as possible: The Gosnell story has an inherent pro-life bias, because the Gosnell story leads us to discussing abortion procedures.

When you discuss the act of aborting — even perfectly legal abortions — you have to discuss the blood, the scalpels, the scissors. You might use terms like “dilation and extraction” or “dilation and curettage.” Think through those terms (“curettage” is defined as “a surgical scraping or cleaning”) and recall that what is being extracted or scraped has a beating heart.

Discussing Gosnell threatens to start a discussion on abortion procedures — and that’s not good for anyone in the abortion industry.

The argument is often made that pro-choice candidates don’t like abortion and that they hope to see abortions dwindle. I am not arguing that President Obama or any other vigorous pro-choice defenders “like” abortion at any term during a woman’s pregnancy and a baby’s development in the womb, but I am noting, as Carney put it, that there is no “substantive difference” between Dr. Gosnell’s practice of “snipping” and the President and other advocates of late-term abortion rights positions.

When it comes to pro-life arguments, like the one I’m making, Dr. Gosnell is an easy target and late-term pro-choice politicians like the President and his wife are too. The particularly gruesome details of abortions under Dr. Gosnell’s practice and the similar though more, dare I say, conveniently hidden (via in the birth canal) practice of late-term abortion, puts on display the horror of all abortion in general. It’s easy to be sickened by the obvious violent killing of babies under Gosnell’s regime, but what is truly sickening is that all of us are not equally disgusted by the 50 million abortions that have taken place in the US during the last four decades at any term.

These are not just digits. These are babies. And Gosnell’s trial throws this up in our faces.