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The Charnel House of Blackmun
The right to choose in the City of Brotherly Love.


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It was the great moral struggle of my father’s generation. When they started out, few gave them a snowball’s chance in hell of accomplishing their noble and selfless goals of making this a better, happier, fairer, more tolerant, more compassionate world. They battled ignorance, fear, and, worst of all, the ingrained prejudices of bitter clingers, but they never gave up. They took the fight all the way to the Supreme Court — and, in a landmark decision, they won. Indeed, we speak of it to this day in the hushed, reverent tones others might use for, say, the Holy Koran.

I’m talking, of course, about Roe v. Wade, which enshrined a Woman’s Right to Choose as the most sacred secular sacrament in our canon of unholy rites. For us, a day without an abortion somewhere in this great land is like a day without a sermon on climate change: The world is a drab and bitter place, in which the cheery hosannas of the unborn dead cannot be heard, praising the glory of a Gaian world they will never pollute with their presence. Forget that Baudelaire dude and the gimp, Verbal Kint: The Master’s greatest trick was not convincing the world he didn’t exist, but persuading women that it was morally affirmative to murder their own children. Medea, take a bow!

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I’ve long tried to tell you wingnuts that the best way to think about us is that we’re a kind of suicide cult, made miserable by our existence but joyous at the prospect of our demise, and forever thinking up ways to destroy ourselves. While at first blush this might seem a little extreme to anyone who has an ounce of self-preservation, it all becomes understandable once you consider this: We don’t care what happens to us — since there is no there there after death — as long as we take you with us. And what better way to ensure the future than to make certain there are fewer Americans in it?

Now, you may quibble that Medea killed children who were, you know, actually ambulatory, but to us and Peter Singer, that is a small matter, a mere detail, a bagatelle of a bump in the road on our way to a more perfect nihilism. Which is why I’m here to celebrate a great American named Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D., a man who was standing up to the forces of bigotry and intolerance and unreasoning pedophobia by providing abortion services at his Women’s Medical Society in Philadelphia — until, unaccountably, the state of Pennsylvania arrested him.

And for what? Ask the Philly D.A.:

Gosnell staffed his decrepit and unsanitary clinic entirely with unlicensed personnel, let them practice medicine on unsuspecting patients, unsupervised, and directed them to heavily drug patients in his absence. In addition, he regularly performed abortions beyond the 24-week limit prescribed by law. As a result, viable babies were born. Gosnell killed them by plunging scissors into their spinal cords. He taught his staff to do the same.

The grand-jury report offers some alleged details:

The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment — such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff — was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn’t used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.

Well, one man’s “baby charnel house” is another man’s monument to the House that Blackmun Built, and surely reasonable men and women of good conscience can agree to disagree, even if Roe is long-since settled law and if you troglodytes so much as try to touch one hair of its sacred little head, we’re coming after you with scissors, suction, a pair of pliers, and a blowtorch.



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