Logic of the Abortion Industry

Kermit Gosnell has been accused of “snipping” the spinal cords of babies born alive in his Philadelphia abortion clinic. Is such behavior crazy, or does it simply follow the logic of an industry that believes the mother’s choice overrides any right to protection that the baby has?

Now I’m not saying Gosnell, if found guilty, shouldn’t be held accountable for the eight murders he is charged with. But I am suggesting that a certain set of presumptions has been created by our public policies on abortion and the arguments made to justify these policies. If we are horrified by what happened at Gosnell’s clinic, we have to examine what that connection might be.

Statistics from the Guttmacher Institute show that, in the United States, about 18,000 abortions occur annually – and legally – at 21 weeks of pregnancy and beyond. These are babies the size of a large banana.

One of the most memorable conversations I ever had was with Dr. Martin Haskell of Ohio, who performs abortions in the latest stages of pregnancy. I asked how he justified doing such a thing. “I don’t know when the child receives a soul,” he said.

Dr. James McMahon, a late-term abortionist, said in an interview with American Medical News: “After 20 weeks, where it frankly is a child to me, I really agonize over it. … On the other hand, I have another position, which I think is superior in the hierarchy of questions, and that is: ‘Who owns the child?’ It’s got to be the mother.”

Notice the lack of an argument here denying that these children are living human babies. Instead, we’re hearing that these are babies who do not deserve the protection of the law. This dichotomy starts with Roe v. Wade. On the one hand, the Supreme Court ruling states, “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.” But it also states, “The word person, as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.”

Thus, some humans don’t have to be considered persons. The difficulty, of course, is drawing a clear line and having a clear rationale for that line. However, we have all kinds of evidence of how dangerously flexible that line can be.

Florida is working to pass a bill that would protect babies born after a failed abortion attempt. We already have this law on the federal level – the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. During a March hearing on the Florida bill, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist named Alisa LaPolt Snow was asked: “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

She responded, “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

In February 2012, the Journal of Medical Ethics published an article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva titled, “After-birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?” The authors state, “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”

As the authors admit, the assertion is not new. The controversial ethicist Peter Singer said long ago: “The location of the baby inside or outside the womb cannot make such a crucial moral difference” and, to be consistent, there are “only two possibilities,” namely, “oppose abortion, or allow infanticide.”

In the last decade, federal legislation has attempted to put the brakes on the endorsement of infanticide. The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act was signed into law in 2002, and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban was enacted the next year. The ban was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.

But such laws are not sufficient to resolve the dangerous tension created by allowing children to be killed at certain stages of their development for rationales that don’t apply at later stages

Posted at: http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/20130418_Logic_of_abortion_industry.html

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection


 These reflections are taken from the book “Pro-Life Reflections for Every Day” by Fr. Frank Pavone which is available for purchase at: ProLifeReflectionsForEveryDay.org

“To refuse to take part in committing an injustice is not only a moral duty; it is also a basic human right” – (The Gospel of Life, 74).

Reflection: One of the key battlegrounds in the fight for life is to defend the freedom of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, judges and other professionals to refuse to violate their conscience as they carry out their work. At times this freedom is secure, and at other times, fidelity carries a high price.

Prayer: Lord, provide light and strength to all those who may face the loss of their jobs in order to maintain their integrity. Protect us all as we do what is right. Amen.

Report From the Courtroom

ffphillyI spent the day today in Philadelphia at the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

The prosecution in the Gosnell murder trial seems to be nearing the conclusion of its work. A small courtroom, able to hold about 70 people, but mostly empty throughout the day, was the site today of this ongoing trial that looks and sounds like something out of Nuremburg.

Gosnell sat there – just a few yards away from me — with a great deal of composure during the whole thing, sometimes smiling, sometimes whispering to his attorney, sometimes taking notes.

Just in front of the witness stand were various silent witnesses, namely, various instruments from Gosnell’s clinic. I saw the suction machine, and the plastic cannulae (which were a stained orange color). Likewise an ancient looking ultrasound machine was there, again with stains on it – one of those things that looks like a dinosaur computer that might be in an old closet in your garage.

The morning was taken up with the tearful testimony (spoken through a translator) of the daughter of Karnamaya Mongar, one of Gosnell’s murder victims. She described how her mom was given medication by the staff, began to experience pain and drowsiness, and was eventually taken away by ambulance. Interestingly, she got to Gosnell’s mill via three other facilities – two in Virginia and one in DC – all of whom said they could not do the abortion on her.

In the afternoon, one of the witnesses was a man employed by Gosnell and who had various cleaning responsibilities in the facility, including taking care of clogged pipes and toilets. He testified that at one point, when using a plunger to unclog the drain, body parts – particularly little arms – came up out of the waste.

Later, an employee of the state testified about how, in making an official visit to Gosnell’s facility, found vaccinations that had expired.

As I said, the courtroom was mostly empty. I was there with a couple of other pro-life leaders, and various reporters. At one point during the morning, a high school class from a local girls’ school came in to watch the proceedings. One of the girls later was asking why it would take so much time and effort to convict this man…. Wasn’t the wrong that he did obvious?

We shall see.

-Fr. Frank Pavone

Another TweetFest Tomorrow to Show America “Who Is #Gosnell”

After the phenomenal success of a TweetFest last Friday that finally convinced the mainstream media to cover the trial of abortionist and accused mass murderer Kermit Gosnell, organizers will take to Twitter again tomorrow to highlight exactly “Who Is #Gosnell?”

From 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, everyone with a Twitter account is invited to share their outrage that Gosnell was able to operate his “house of horrors” in Pennsylvania for 17 years with absolutely no oversight. Tweets should continue to use the hashtag #Gosnell and point the way to WhoIsGosnell.com, a website established by TweetFest co-organizer Bryan Kemper, Youth Outreach Director for Priests for Life.

tweetbird“In one day last week, there were 600,000 mentions of Gosnell on Twitter,” Kemper said. “The hashtag got the topic trending and brought the ongoing trial to the attention of Anderson Cooper and other national media outlets. Now that we’ve got their attention, we want to make sure they understand exactly who Gosnell is, what’s he accused of doing, and how our abortion-friendly culture allowed this to happen.”

Organizers also are Tweeting pro-life celebrities in an effort to get them involved in event.

Frustrated by the total absence of national media coverage of the trial, Kemper, along with Operation Rescue President Troy Newman and Abortion Wiki Founder Andy Moore, came up with the idea of raising awareness of Gosnell through social media.

“The pro-life movement is absolutely tuned in to the power of social media, so we knew this effort would be a success,” said Kemper. “But we had no idea just how much of an impact it would have. Now we know, and there will be no stopping us.”

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and a prolific Tweeter, said the TweetFest was proof that social media is a powerful tool for the pro-life movement.

“People who had no idea who Gosnell is or what he was accused of are now getting a full education in what Roe v. Wade has allowed to happen in our country,” Father Pavone said as he Tweeted from outside the Philadelphia courtroom where he is attending Gosnell’s trial. “As this information gets out, our movement can only get stronger as a result.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

Dr. Alveda King recalls 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

“Change ‘segregation’ to ‘abortion’ and you have the year 2013”

ATLANTA – On the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” his niece, Dr. Alveda King, Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, says her uncle’s letter applies just as profoundly today to abortion as it did in 1963 to segregation.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, concurred, saying,  “Today, that letter still speaks. Just as it spoke in his day on behalf of those who suffered the violence of segregation, so now it speaks for those who suffer the violence of abortion.”

mlkDr. King said of her uncle’s famous letter:

“If Uncle M.L. were alive today, he would surely include the 21st century womb babies and their mothers in his ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail.’ The atrocity of abortion in America has killed millions of human babies who are often considered to be property, chattel, and less than human.

“In his 1963 letter, he wrote that segregation ‘ends up relegating persons to the status of things.’ Change ‘segregation’ to ‘abortion’ and you have the year 2013.

“Jim Crow laws gave us the continuing dehumanization of African-Americans, beatings, lynchings, and the Ku Klux Klan.  Roe v. Wade has given us the dehumanization of unborn and, now, born babies, skull crushings, spine snippings. Consider Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia; the Planned Parenthood Chicago facility that killed Tonya Reaves; and all of the other hundreds of abortion providers and Planned Parenthood officials who can’t say whether fully born babies who survive abortions should be helped to live.

“In ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Uncle M.L. noted that by their effort and example, early Christians ‘brought an end to such evils as infanticide’ in the Greco-Roman world. We now know, however, that the Greco-Roman world has been revived in abortion clinics across the land. Where the ancients would leave their unwanted babies to die of exposure, abortionists now leave their ‘mistakes’ to die in corners or closets – or worse.

mlk1“My Uncle M.L. once wrote in 1953 that the most segregated hour in America is 11 a.m. on Sunday because back then blacks and whites didn’t often worship together.

“Fast forward to 2013, where minority mothers and our babies are targeted by abortion providers as the most vulnerable recipients of abortion in the name of women’s rights and solutions to poverty. Even Gosnell, whose defense lawyer said if women want Mayo Clinic standards they should go to the Mayo Clinic, yes even Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors’ had a slightly cleaner ‘White Only’ surgical room, while black women and their babies were butchered in a torture chamber in another section of the abortion mill. All the while, they all keep trying to hide the fact that all abortions are dangerous to a woman’s health, her baby’s life, and generally result in death and misery.

“The most segregated place a woman can go today is an abortion mill!

“Uncle M. L. once asked: ‘How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust?  A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: ‘An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.’

“Rev. King was a man of God and a preacher of the Word.  He sought a peace that was not just the absence of tension, but the presence of justice.  He would agree that there can be no real peace in a society that tolerates injustice.  He would most certainly agree that the taking of innocent lives is a horrible injustice.  There is no doubt that just as my Uncle M.L. called America’s clergy to awaken 50 years ago to the moral transgression of segregation, he would today sound out a call for a moral awakening and urge all Americans and indeed all human beings around the world today to awaken to the grievous wrong of abortion, and the subsequent devastation of natural marriage and family.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

Fr. Pavone to Deliver Keynote Address at Bismarck Rally

frfrank STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, will fly to Bismarck, North Dakota, tomorrow to help lead a rally in support of the strong pro-life legislation signed in recent weeks by Gov. Jack Dalrymple. After the 3 p.m. CT rally at the capitol building, Father Pavone will celebrate Mass at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck.

“This event will show the gratitude of the citizens of North Dakota and of the pro-life community nationwide to the legislators and the governor for their courage and leadership,” Father Pavone said “And it will show our commitment to guard and build upon what has been achieved. Some fear passing bold legislation like this because it will cause a fight. God bless North Dakotans for their willingness to fight! I will be right there with them!”

Priests for Life are the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

50 Years Later: The Letter Still Speaks

Fifty years ago today, April 16, Martin Luther King, Jr. penned the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Today, that letter still speaks.

Just as it spoke in his day on behalf of those who suffered the violence of segregation, so now it speaks for those who suffer the violence of abortion. And it speaks for those who fight injustices like these.

It speaks about the fact that there is a law higher than laws passed by human authority, and that when that authority oppresses human beings, those unjust laws must be broken.

It speaks about the fact that we are not to wait before we cry out for justice. The time for doing what is right is always the present.

It speaks of the inevitable fact that standing for justice means enduring the tension between those who favor it and those who oppose it. We are not to be afraid of that tension, whether we speak for Blacks or for babies.

Today, 50 years later, let us learn the lesson of this letter, let us spread that lesson, and let us live that lesson as we build the Culture of Life!

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection



These reflections are taken from the book “Pro-Life Reflections for Every Day” by Fr. Frank Pavone which is available for purchase at: ProLifeReflectionsForEveryDay.org

“We who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17). 

Reflection: When we call each other “brothers and sisters,” we are not merely using a metaphor that dimly reflects the unity between children of the same parents. Our unity in Christ is even stronger than that, because we do have common blood: the blood of Christ! The result of the Eucharist is that we become one, and this obliges us to be as concerned for each other as we are for our own bodies.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the unity which marks the Culture of Life. Amen!

Priests for Life Mourns Loss of Pro-Life Pioneer Barbara Willke

dr_mrs_willke_currentSTATEN ISLAND, NY — Priests for Life is saddened by the death of Barbara Willke, a pro-life pioneer and devoted wife of Dr. Jack Willke, likewise an icon in the pro-life movement.

“Barbara was always a joy to be with, and the work she did in the movement helped lay the foundation for decades of life-saving activity,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director. “We will miss her, but we will carry her spirit with us and build on her work!”

Janet Morana, Executive Director, added, “Barbara had a great influence on me and was a great encouragement to me especially when I first became involved in the pro-life movement over 20 years ago.  Our movement has suffered a great loss.  May angels lead you into Paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your coming and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.  May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.