Despite what amounted to a blackout at many media outlets until last week, you've probably now heard at least some of the details. According to the grand jury report, Gosnell's Philadelphia "clinic" was a filthy abattoir. It stunk of urine. Flea-ridden cats defecated freely, including in procedure rooms. Fetuses — or, rather, parts of fetuses — were all over the place, in jars, on shelves. The remains of 45 babies were found by authorities. Gosnell collected baby feet in jars.
Karnamaya Mongar, 41, a refugee from Nepal, died at Gosnell's clinic, allegedly because he and his staff used too much of a cheap sedative and because the clinic was so crammed with junk that it took paramedics 20 minutes just to find their way out. Authorities later found her intact 19-week-old fetus in a freezer. It had been there for three months.
This barely scratches the surface of what the grand jury describes as a "charnel house."
So, obviously this is a story about the mainstream media.
It's an important issue, of course. But it's not a complicated one. It seems obvious that most mainstream outlets are run and staffed by abortion rights liberals. But whatever the motivation, the
Ironically, the same factors that might have discouraged the mainstream media from covering the story in the first place now give them an incentive to turn it into a story about the media.
In fairness, some feminist writers have been talking about the case all along. But their outrage has not been over the fact that Gosnell fully delivered live babies and then cut their spines with scissors. Their outrage was focused on the legitimately outrageous conditions of the clinic and the economic and racial inequities involved. Gosnell preyed mostly on poor and minority women. He was even something of a racist, reportedly reserving a clean visiting room for white patients.
For example, in 2011, Amanda Marcotte wrote in Slate : "These ... charges involve late-term abortion, and all I could think upon reading the news story was, 'I wish these women could have gone to
Tiller was murdered by an antiabortion fanatic in 2009 because he was one of the most prominent providers of late-term abortions. And though Gosnell's patients would no doubt have gotten better care from Tiller, the truly significant difference is that the fetuses would have been killed without seeing the light of the day.
Many prominent Democratic politicians oppose any meaningful restrictions on late-term abortions. President
Regardless, Gosnell isn't only being charged with performing illegal late-term abortions. He's being charged with delivering viable babies and killing them. The really profound question here is what is the moral difference between killing a living baby that is outside the mother for a few seconds and killing one that's still inside. It's no wonder the media would rather talk about itself.