Our nation was outraged, and rightly so, to learn of the gruesome practices of abortionist Kermitt Gosnell, who killed babies both inside and outside the womb, and stored their body parts in milk jugs, orange juice cartons, cat food containers, and freezer bags. In the 2010 raid on his abortion clinic, the bodies of 45 children were discovered, most of whom were in the second trimester of pregnancy. They have been in the possession of the Philadelphia Medical Examiner during the course of the various legal proceedings against Dr. Gosnell.
He has been sentenced and has indicated he will not appeal his case. It is time now to bury these babies.
In April, I requested permission from the Philadelphia Medical Examiner to receive the bodies of these children so that Priests for Life could honor them with a proper funeral and burial. Our request for the bodies received wide publicity as the trial entered its final weeks. As the jury deliberated, we held a service in which these 45 children were given names.
Now, however, through a letter from the Medical Examiner, we are being told that the bodies "will not be released to any third party organization."
People across the country are now asking why. Pro-life as well as pro-choice people, citizens and their political leaders, and even relatives of the babies, want to know why we cannot give these children a proper burial.
And, of course, the other big question is, What is the state going to do with these babies? Will they be thrown in the garbage as medical waste? Will they be burned?
If there was so much outrage over how Dr. Gosnell treated these children, shouldn't there be outrage as to how the rest of us treat them now?
Priests for Life intends to hold a national funeral service for the Gosnell babies, whether or not the bodies can be obtained. This is the least we can do, given the humanity of these children and the inhumanity with which they were treated.
People were rightly upset by the Gosnell case; this will be a way to bring some closure to the experience and let the healing begin.
See related press release