“If Dr. Gosnell had walked into a nursery and shot seven infants with an AR-15, it would be national news and the subject of presidential hand-wringing,” said Rep. Smith…
“Will the decades-long major national news media cover-up of the brutality—and violence—of abortion methods ever end?” Rep. Smith continued. “Will Americans ever be told the horrifying details as to how — and how often — abortionists dismember, decapitate, and chemically poison innocent babies?”
Martin Baron, executive editor of the Post, tells the Erik Wemple Blog:
We believe the story is deserving of coverage by our own staff, and we intend to send a reporter for the resumption of the trial next week. In retrospect, we should have sent a reporter sooner.
So the question, raised by pro-lifers, is this: Explain to us why Gosnell isn’t a national story. Somebody else can try. I can’t explain it. It’s never made sense to me, how a local crime story becomes a national story. Two words: “Poop cruise.” CNN ran hours of coverage and grainy video of a stranded Carnival cruise ship, a situation that inconvenienced many and killed none. How does a missing college student or an angry man in a TSA line become part of Our National Conversation? I don’t know. I do know that a reporter in the bubble is less likely to be compelled by the news of an arrested abortionist…
[T]here is a political scandal here. Grand jury investigators were baffled: How did Gosnell’s clinic, an infamous place in the tri-state area, go un-inspected for so long? Basically, the regulators blew it. “Even though the first DOH Certificate of Approval for Gosnell’s clinic expired on December 20, 1980,” write the investigators, “the next documented site review was not conducted until August 1989.” After a 1992 visit, regulators reported that the clinic was wheelchair-accessible, even though it’s “multi-leveled and has no elevator.” After 1993, the state didn’t follow up complaints about the clinic.
If you’re pro-choice, say, and you worry that the Gosnell story is being promoted only to weaken your cause, you really should read that grand jury report. “DOH could and should have closed down Gosnell’s clinic years before,” write the investigators. Why wasn’t it? Were state regulators nervous about igniting a political fight about abortion? Is the regulatory system incompetent or under-funded? And are there other states where the same could be said? Social conservatives are largely right about the Gosnell story. Maybe it’s not a raw political story. It’s just the story of a potential mass murderer who operated for decades as government regulators did nothing.
But the media have a long history of ignoring misconduct within the abortion industry. For instance, in July 2011, Americans United for Life released an exposé on Planned Parenthood. It provided 180 pages of evidence that Planned Parenthood violated parental-involvement laws, failed to report sexual abuse of children, and cannot account for millions in government grants. Despite a Capitol Hill press conference, it received coverage from only a handful of mainstream-media outlets. The fact that Planned Parenthood did not even post their response to the report on their website is evidence that they were confident that the mainstream media would cover for them…
Pro-lifers have gotten used to the fact that mainstream-media outlets are not going to report our perspective on polls, trends, and studies. However, some of us hoped that the Gosnell trial would be different than other stories involving abortion. After all, it provides plenty of graphic evidence of both real human suffering and gross misconduct. We hoped that the testimony might convince some in the media that abortion clinics need more regulation. Unfortunately, all pro-lifers have received is yet another example of the media’s circling the wagons for their allies in the abortion industry.
But, as I tried to argue last night on Special Report, I think the mainstream media stayed away from this story as much as it did because it had already locked into the position that partial-birth abortion is a right-wing bogeyman. If they covered the outrages that the feminists are understandably furious about, they would also have to mention somewhere in the reporting the fact that a whole bunch of actual babies were being cut up. The feminists don’t think that’s a problem. They just just want to make sure it’s done under more equitable and sanitary conditions. But the mainstream media understands that it is a problem — for them.
There’s very little difference between what [Dr. Leroy] Carhart does on a regular basis and what Kermit Gosnell stands on trial for. In one federal trial on the federal partial-birth-abortion ban, one abortionist testified (under a court-imposed cloak of anonymity) that his regular practice in late-term abortions was to decapitate a partially born child. So the horrors of what Jonah rightly called Gosnell’s “abattoir” should come as no surprise to those who have been paying attention…
Yet the Constitution is said by abortion apologists to protect this butchery. And while the pro-abortion industry appears embarrassed by the Gosnell trial, they’ve held Carhart up as their hero. Carhart was awarded the 2009 William K. Rashbaum, MD, Abortion Provider Award by Physicians for Reproductive Health — because there’s nothing like dying on the table to advance a woman’s health. Oh, and NARAL Pro-Choice America (which no longer stands for National Abortion Rights Action League, given that some people might think that name icky) gave him its Hero Award in the same year.
Jezebel points out the obvious, writing that “Gosnell doesn’t represent or stand for abortion care in any way. Abortion, done right, is a safe medical procedure.” But this idea of a high-profile case drawing an emotional response, and the attempt to use that emotional response to drive a policy debate, ought to be familiar. Jezebel’s statement, after all, could just as easily have read: “But Adam Lanza doesn’t represent or stand for gun ownership in any way. Gun ownership, done right, is a safe practice.” Jezebel notes that “fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients ever experience a complication that requires hospitalization,” according to a pro-abortion rights group. But even according to anti-gun statistics, there were only 33,000 gun-related deaths in 2011 for 300,000,000 guns owned in the country (fewer than .00012 percent). The violent crime rate in the U.S., in fact, is approaching a historical low.
Said the President after Sandy Hook:
“No law or set of laws can keep our children completely safe. But if there’s even one thing we can do, if there’s just one life we can save, we’ve got an obligation to try.”
I agree. We need sensible abortion control. Think of how many classrooms of children lost their lives at the hands of Gosnell. The difference between Gosnell and some other abortionists is that Gosnell was caught. Gosnell didn’t use an AR-15 to snuff out the lives of these live infants. He assaulted them with scissors. Too many to count. There is a photo of one child (via the grand jury testimony) stuffed into a shoebox like a pet hamster. His little legs were too big so they hung out over the sides. Just one life.