The decision is in and the coverage – what there was of it – is done. A jury in Philadelphia found Dr. Kermit Gosnell guilty on three counts of first-degree murder. He was charged with killing four babies and a patient, but was acquitted of killing the fourth baby. The jury also found Gosnell guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the patient’s death. The 41-year-old woman died from an overdose of drugs given to her by members of Gosnell’s untrained staff. The jury also found Gosnell guilty for performing illegal, third-term abortions and failing to comply with a state law that requires a 24-hour waiting period before performing an abortion.
Gosnell could have received the death penalty for murdering the babies, but the judge in the case sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. That means Gosnell will most likely die in prison – at great taxpayer expense for feeding, clothing and housing him for the rest of his life.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams called the Gosnell case “the most gruesome” he’d ever seen. Williams called Gosnell a “monster” for severing the spinal cords of “living, breathing babies” who could have survived the abortion attempt if they had received proper medical attention.
Members of Gosnell’s clinic staff were also involved in the killing of the babies. Nine former staff members have been convicted in the case. Four others pleaded guilty to murder.
The national press gave the Gosnell trial what I call “coverage light.” Many of the national television networks gave the trial little coverage and only a slight mention about the guilty verdict and the post-verdict plea deal that saved him from the death penalty. Some network spokespeople called the Gosnell trial a “local story,” thus their reasoning for not covering it indepth or regularly. Some local newspapers gave the trial regular coverage. One paper called Gosnell’s clinic “rogue,” meaning it was outside the normal practice of abortion providers.
Let me share some thoughts with you again as a veteran news person. Even though I spent decades as a news manager I have always been a reporter at heart. I was what some people called “a crusading reporter” because of the types of stories I covered and how passionately I covered them. I believe strongly that a reporter’s job is to find the best stories, investigate the stories thoroughly, and tell the stories fairly and completely – not holding back anything that pertains to the story.
I love everything about “getting the story”and getting it right. I know how stories are chosen, how they are researched, how they are discussed and often debated with management, how they are written, how they are produced, and how they are presented. That’s why I can tell you that the majority of the national and local press (media) that covered the Gosnell trial sanitized their coverage. By that I mean they were careful to withhold certain aspects of the story, not ask questions which may have led to disturbing findings, and generally cleaned up their visual and verbal presentation to make the Gosnell story as inoffensive as possible. Shame on them for doing that to any story, but especially one that involved the murders of innocent human victims.
I’ve already shared in previous posts how medical science has proven that a “fetus” in the first trimester of pregnancy is a “human person.” Did any reporter with the national press bring out that fact during the Gosnell trial? Did any local reporter do that? If they did, I have not seen it or read it anywhere. There’s still time to do that if they want. The facts are in plain view if they will just open their eyes to see it.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I reported about the original abortion case(s) in the late 1960s that led to the Supreme Court’s decision in 1973 that legalized abortion. I have followed this story as a journalist for more than 40 years and can tell you that the press and news media do not want to report the truth about abortion. They just don’t. A new generation of journalists has been born and trained in the years since Roe v Wade and they have bought into the belief that a mother’s “choice” trumps a baby’s “life.” Thus the terms, Pro-Choice and Pro-Life.
Abortion is the pre-meditated murder of a human being. It’s not a “choice” anyone has the right to make. No Supreme Court decision could ever change that fact. People can write words and speak passionately about what they believe, but words and passion cannot change what is true. God created human beings to reproduce human beings – not “fetuses.” What abortion providers provide is murder. That’s what I believe.
So, how should Christians who are journalists report about abortion? Factually, fairly and faithfully. How should non-Christians who are journalists report about abortion? Factually, fairly and faithfully. When it comes to journalism we must always be factual, always be fair, and always be faithful to uphold the tenets of journalistic integrity and excellence.
Gosnell will grow old in prison. He will no longer make millions of dollars murdering babies. Journalists (those who gave any coverage to the Gosnell trial) will pat themselves on the back for a job well done and move on to less offensive stories. Most Christians will happily live their lives with little thought about an unborn child being killed by an abortion provider in the U.S. every 24 seconds. But what about those murdered babies? What about those unborn children who medical science can now identify as being human during the first trimester of their mother’s pregnancy? What about the God Who created the reproductive method that brings human life into this world?
The murdered babies cannot speak for themselves. They can quiver and shake as the abortion providers kill them mercilessly, but they cannot speak for themselves. Someone has to speak for them. It has long been my deep belief that journalists should speak up for the victims in our world who cannot speak for themselves. How sad that the national press, with all its power and pull, will not report the truth about abortion. The Gosnell case was the perfect opportunity to do that, but the press turned its eye away from the truth and preferred to continue with the lie.
Now, concerning what God thinks about all of this. He’s angry – very angry. I know that because He has already spoken clearly about this when He inspired the writers of the Bible to tell the truth about life. God loves babies “from the womb.” He is deeply involved in forming babies in their mother’s womb.
“But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God. Be not far from Me, For trouble is near; For there is none to help.” Psalm 22:9-11
“Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:12-14
“Thus says the Lord who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you.” Isaiah 44:2(a)
“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: ‘I am the Lord, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself.” Isaiah 44:24
“And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, And My God shall be My strength).” Isaiah 49:5
God calls the life that grows inside a pregnant woman a “child,” not a “thing.”
“As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.” Ecclesiastes 11:5
God called prophets by name while they were still in their mother’s womb and set them apart for His service.
“Listen, O coastlands, to Me, And take heed, you peoples from afar! The Lord has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.” Isaiah 49:1
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
God views babies as His “heritage.”
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.” Psalm 127:3-4
John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb and leaped for joy when the Virgin Mary came near because of the Child in her womb.
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” Luke 1:15
“For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” Luke 1:44
God is the Giver of life and He alone has the right to control it. The “choice” is God’s, not ours.
(Mark McGee was a career broadcast and print journalist from 1967 until his retirement in 2009)
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”