Kermit Gosnell and the Supreme Court

Kathryn Lopez is keeping up with the revelations coming out of Live Action about Planned Parenthood, over on The Corner.  Meanwhile, lest the abortion abattoir in Philadelphia be forgotten, I will point readers to my article on the NRO homepage, “The Gosnell Case and American Abortion Law.”  A sample:

The women who came to Gosnell’s clinic — poor and desperate, late in their pregnancies, and willing for whatever reason to endure the horrors of his ministrations — wanted to be rid of their babies. This result he provided them. But it is difficult to locate the moral difference between the deaths Gosnell brought about in utero and those he accomplished post-natally. Does an unborn child at 26 weeks of fetal development have less moral standing than a born child at 25 weeks of fetal development? Does the latter’s living and breathing outside the womb for ten minutes, or ten seconds, confer a status that the former lacks? How can that be?

This is the absurd moral corner into which the Supreme Court backed us in 1973. Not that it bothered Dr. Gosnell. He was in the getting-rid-of-babies business, and no one was going to be sent home with a live one. Viewed in a coldly rational light, the doctor’s logic was admirably consistent: before birth, after birth, it made no difference. . . .

Pennsylvania law forbids, except in very narrowly excepted cases, all abortions from 24 weeks onward.  Could that withstand a challenge based on what the Supreme Court has said?  There’s good reason to think not–but very good reason to force this issue.  Read the whole thing to see why.

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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