Phila. says no to burial for Gosnell babies

J.D. Mullane

Publication Date: June 06, 2013

One day at the Kermit Gosnell trial, Frank Pavone, a Catholic priest, sat next to me. We were mere feet behind the notorious Philadelphia abortionist, and Pavone set his gaze on the doctor, who was alone at the defense table as his lawyer spoke with a prosecutor.

Pavone whispered: “I really would like to talk to Dr. Gosnell, to counsel him, to see if he is in need. Just because we do evil things — and he did evil things — does not mean we are condemned forever. No one is beyond the reach of God. Not even an abortionist.”

The priest rose, went over to Gosnell’s lawyer, spoke briefly to him, handed over a business card, and retook his seat.

“Well, I can only ask,” he said.

Pavone is a New York City diocesan priest and the national director of Priests for Life. He travels the country combating the metastasizing contempt for human life. He preaches, counsels and consoles. He befriended the parents of Terri Schiavo. He celebrated the funeral Mass of Terri’s father, Bob Schindler, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Upper Southampton in 2009.

Father Pavone is always on a mission. His latest is to obtain the remains of 47 babies that investigators discovered stuffed in bags, boxes, kitty litter and juice containers in Gosnell’s shuttered West Philadelphia abortion mill.

“We would like to give these children a decent burial,” he said.

At first, the Philadelphia medical examiner, Dr. Sam Gulino, seemed open to the request, Pavone said. But now, Gulino has turned down his request. The remains will stay with the city. It is unclear what will happen to them.

“People have contacted me from around the country, funeral directors and others eager to help give these children a decent burial,” Pavone said. “But now (Dr. Gulino) said, ‘Well, you know, we discussed it and had legal consultations, and we will not release the bodies to any third party.’ That’s where we are right now.”

Pavone’s fear is that the babies – the state has given at least eight of them the legal definition of “baby,” not the dehumanizing term “fetus” — will be dumped as medical waste.

“They will incinerate the bodies somewhere. That’s probably what will happen,” Pavone said.

Since 1973, when the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was a private issue and therefore legal, there have been 55 million abortions in America. Since then, about one in three Americans have been aborted. Pavone has buried the remains of innumerable unborn.

“Many of these bodies have been found in Dumpsters outside abortion mills,” he said. “We’ve had so many that, over the years since Roe v. Wade, there are now about 30 burial places across the country, which serve as graves for these aborted bodies. Some of them contain thousands of unborn children. I don’t believe most people are aware of this.”

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