Friday, April 19, 2013

_almost_ invincible ignorance

So, among the many topics in the news these days, there's the Kermit Gosnell trial.  Arrested in 2010--on drug trafficking charges--Gosnell operated an abortion clinic in west Philadelphia, providing late term abortions...and apparently no questions asked.

The key point--if you've read the grand jury report or any of the media coverage (more on that angle later)--is that at least one woman died from Gosnell's malpractice...and he apparently killed several viable babies.  I say that because when Gosnell ended their lives by snipping their spinal chords with a pair of scissors they were all _born_, as in "out of the mother."

That alone is blood-chilling but there are several accounts of body parts found in the clinic (baby feet in jars of formaldehyde, bags of body parts stuffed in refridgerators, etc.) and malpractice and unsanitary conditions throughout the clinic.

Across the board awful, basically.  So he's on trial for murder.

The pro-life Twitterverse went into hyperdrive a week ago to draw further media attention to what one reporter at the Washington Post originally cast as "a local crime story."

What's finally surprising about all this, though, has been the utter flippancy and refusal to recognize the root problem with abortion among several friends, students, and, more broadly, members of the 'intelligentsia.'  As in they twist the awful story of Gosnell's clinic into an argument for further, extended protection of Roe v. Wade and all other pro-abortion sanctions.  Some students don't even go that far;  they really don't care if somebody's dismembering babies. Robert George calls for honesty, asking if we're really shocked by Gosnell's actions given pro-choice rhetoric.  A very good point.

As their ethics professor this makes me wonder, well, lots of things.  And while I accept George's point, I am still shocked by the utter disregard the Gosnell story raises in my students--and especially my faculty colleagues, many of whom 1) are women; and 2) are mothers themselves.  Several of the people not worried or bothered by Gosnell's clinic have held more small babies than I ever have--or ever will.  It's as if these students and faculty--all of whom are adults--become robotic when confronted with the details of Gosnell's one and a half decades of abortion. So when it comes time to discuss basic values--like the Catholic social justice principle of 'intrinsic human dignity'--the words are literally falling the deaf ears.  I'm surely not alone in realizing that several of my friends and colleagues--good people, not the straw monsters we make anonymously out of other people on the Internet--simply can not hear, see, contemplate what went on in Gosnell's clinic.

The knee-jerk response is start posting, start tweeting, and start damning.

And that's precisely what must be resisted and avoided--at all costs.  Ezekiel 37 tells us the dry bones can live, so these deaf ears and blind eyes can be opened.  It starts with prayer--and an apostolate of charity and love...but also firmness and a recognition that admonition might be needed.  This will take time, but we are dealing with God's plan and God's time frame, not our own.  Given the resistance to accept the magnitude of the Gosnell trial, that's a good thing.

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