It was a mere three days before the right-to-life movement mournfully marked — and President Barack Obama celebrated — the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions that legalized the killing of unborn children in all 50 states.

It probably wasn’t intentional, but last Wednesday’s criminal indictment of Kermit Gosnell for murder was not badly timed.


It was a mere three days before the right-to-life movement mournfully marked — and President Barack Obama celebrated — the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions that legalized the killing of unborn children in all 50 states.


Due to those decisions, Gosnell cannot be charged in connection with the thousands of unborn babies he has killed during his four-decade career as an abortion doctor in Pennsylvania.


Although the unborn have no legal protections in the U.S., at this time, our society still considers it a crime to kill a child after he or she has been born. That is where Gosnell is alleged to have fallen afoul of the law.


I’ll spare you the quite literally gory details, but Gosnell’s grim and often stomach-turning indictment at times reads almost like a horror novel, painting a picture of gross malpractice, flagrant violation of state and federal regulations and utter disregard for even the most basic standards of health and hygiene.


The indictment alleges that he killed one of his clients, Karnamaya Mongar, in November 2009 with overdoses of anesthesia and painkillers. But even worse, Gosnell, who was one of the few people in the U.S. willing to perform late-term abortions, is accused of erasing the line separating abortion from infanticide, killing seven babies after delivering them alive. An assistant reportedly even played with one of those seven babies for a while before killing him.


As you’d expect, the Gosnell case has elicited outrage and disgust from the pro-life community, but even supporters of legal abortion could hardly approve of the way Gosnell ran his business. Surely everyone can agree on that much.


Despite their shock and disapproval, supporters of legal abortion really shouldn’t be surprised. Pro-lifers have been saying for decades that a culture that accepts and approves of abortion inevitably experiences a moral corrosion, a cheapening of life and coarsening of our moral sensitivities. We should expect a tendency for that to be far more pronounced among those who do the actual killing.


Now, some supporters of abortion say they want it to be “safe, legal and rare.” Mind you, they don’t really have a cogent or coherent reason for saying something should be rare if it’s not a bad thing and is solely a woman’s private choice, but still that word “rare” signals they know on some level that abortion really isn’t a good thing.


Still, it frankly doesn’t matter how “safe” an abortion may be (for the woman, that is, not the child) or how emotionally and intellectually sanitized our culture tries to portray it. Each abortion is an act of violence, a violation of something sacred, an assault on nature, turning from the beautiful and allowing the ugly to flourish.


We can try to rationalize it, but that does nothing to impede the consequences of our actions. Whenever a society devalues unborn human life, before long it suffers an erosion of respect for human dignity across the board.


That same trajectory of descent can be traced in the course of Gosnell’s career as plotted in the pages of his indictment and of the Philadelphia Inquirer: Absence of respect for the unborn was followed by lack of concern for the health of the women who came to him and a disregard for even the barest of legal and professional safeguards.


If you want to know how the travesty of Gosnell’s abortion business could be possible, ask the more than 50 million Americans who have been killed in their mothers’ wombs since 1973. You’ll hear the answer in their silenced voices.


Community editor Jared Olar may be reached at jolar@pekintimes.com.