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The Moral Catastrophe of Gosnell’s House of Horrors

Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D. and several members of his staff are on trial for the first-degree murder of seven newborn babies. He is also on trial for performing illegal late-term abortions, running a corrupt enterprise, among other charges. He is also being charged in a separate trial for illegally dispensing narcotics. You can read details about the trial here  or, as I did, you can read the 281 page Grand Jury Report.

Let’s be frank. This “doctor” didn’t run an abortion clinic; he ran a house of horrors. Newborn babies (actual babies–not “fetuses”) brutally murdered, mutilated women, blood stains everywhere, urine on the walls, body parts in freezers, toilets, and waste bags, faulty and missing medical equipment, and unqualified staff, including a 15 year old girl. And this is just a snapshot. (If you have any doubt about the horrifying actions of Gosnell, simply read the Grand Jury Report; it is very convincing).

An important question has been repeatedly posed about the media largely ignoring such a horrific and obviously newsworthy story; and legitimate concerns have been issued about both sides of the political divide making the case about politics. However, I think there is a separate and much more important point to make about this case.

Biohazard.svgGosnell’s employees were aware of the full horror of Gosnell’s crimes; city and state inspectors as well as certifying agents walked through his facility and were aware of the filthy and dangerous conditions; governmental agencies were aware of the patterned lawsuits that showed similar negligence across time–not to mention the continued complaints against Gosnell; and, doctors and nurses from other hospitals and facilities were aware of some of the illegality and the irresponsible ineptitude with which Gosnell and his staff performed many procedures.

Yet, out of all of these people (over the course of decades) only two individuals stand out as having honestly tried to sound the alarm: one doctor and one inspector. Though, several hospitals also reported him according to protocol when his patients ended up there due to his negligence.

In other words, there were (at least) hundreds of individuals who knew either through complaints, inspections, or first-hand experience that Gosnell was breaking numerous laws and regulations and that he was a danger to the women under his care. If so many people knew, how come nothing was done to stop him?

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

Regardless of whatever new psycho-sociological name our society has created to excuse ignoring flagrant evil, there is just one source for it–moral cowardice.

MedizinrechtThe people who knew about Gosnell didn’t want to rock the boat; they chose to ignore reality rather than to contend with it; they chose to blindly comply rather than to question authority. This is a modern-day, moral catastrophe. Because these people chose not to act on their knowledge of Gosnell, countless women and babies suffered the kind of horrors we would normally attribute to third-world countries–not to a developed, liberty-loving, and individual-rights-based nation.

It takes confidence and courage to speak out against evil:

  • People will be upset and they will likely take it out on us.
  • People will get in trouble and they may even go to jail.
  • It could cause chaos in our own lives.

Facing these challenges, the people who knew of Gosnell’s crimes folded. They were weak, not confident. They were cowardly, not courageous.

But without confident and courageous people standing up to and speaking out against evil, as Edmund Burke so eloquently stated, then evil triumphs. Without interference, bad people will continue to do bad things and innocent victims will continue to suffer. We cannot wait for someone else to interfere for us–passing the buck from coward to coward–for if we all did this, then we end up where we are now, with someone like Gosnell being able to perpetrate evil for decades.

When we can ourselves have the integrity of the person we criticize others for not being, people like Gosnell will no longer be allowed to thrive in our society.


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