Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Murder' now affixed to in-utero life

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And so, what Jack McMahon audaciously called a racist prosecution, wherein a black man was being called to account for ending the lives of countless nameless black babies, has ended in a righteous verdict: guilty, guilty, and again, guilty.

Three lives vindicated with three words, uttered after months of testimony and evidence that makes you want to turn your face away. But we looked, and we understood that here was madness and evil, not racism.

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Kermit Gosnell could now face the death penalty, something that has far-reaching repercussions not only for the immediate victims and their families but -- and don't let them tell you otherwise -- also for the abortion industry.

For years, ever since the carnage in West Philly was uncovered, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers have attempted to distance themselves from this gruesome scenario.

Until now, "murder" was never officially affixed to the deliberate destruction of life in utero. It was always "termination," "D & X," or in the words of late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart, surreptitiously captured in a Live Action sting, "meat in a slow cooker."

Now, a Philadelphia jury has restored the true definition of the criminal act.

The Founders chose the right city in which to birth a nation.

Now is not the time to talk about punishment. Now is the time to thank the men and women who deliberated longer than anyone expected them to and made every effort to separate the spin from the media (on both sides) and the desires of the advocates (on both sides) from the legal truths.

This jury wasn't afraid to say that allowing a child to die after a botched abortion attempt was infanticide. They understood, as so many have not, that plunging scissors into the skull of a child or snipping her spinal cord to stop the plaintive cries of the newly arrived is a crime against humanity.

Gosnell's defence was based on technicalities and pieced together from the legacy of Roe, one that helped us to ignore the humanity of the unborn creature. Jack McMahon is a brilliant adversary for any prosecutor, and knows how to use just the right balance of law and legerdemain to assist his clients. As a fellow attorney, I admire him immensely.

But as a woman who believes with every fibre of her being that what is created in the womb is undeniably human and therefore inviolate, I rejoice that his professional expertise failed to sway the jury.

This is not a case of nuance. It is clear that both pro-life and pro-choice camps were able to find common ground against this man who used the Hippocratic oath like toilet paper. But that common ground is deceptive, because it is as solid as shifting quicksand.

The moment we start talking about how abortion needs to remain safe and legal and that Gosnell is not the face of the movement, we allow ourselves to fall back into that comfort zone of denial.

Gosnell is the face of the movement, or at least the face of what it can become when we look away.

When Harry Blackmun divided life into tidy trimesters and placed relatively little value on the first two, we took that first step into the moral abyss.

Gosnell is just the natural evolution of what started in 1973.

While I have no illusion that what this jury has done will stop the moral devolution, I am glad that at least we are taking a long look at where we are headed. If the message conveyed by this jury does anything, it holds a mirror up to a society that, for so long, has closed its eyes.

And if the fleeting glimpse in the glass makes us shudder, as it made that jury shudder, there is perhaps a blessing in the sacrifice of those young lives.

 

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 15, 2013 A9

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