By Dave Andrusko
“But some of this reluctance [‘most abortion providers resist or refuse late second-trimester abortions’] comes down to the grisly realities of providing such a service. When a fetus gets into the second trimester, we are talking about stifling off the growth and development of something that is visibly, anatomically, human, with a heart to stop.” — Philadelphia Magazine writer Steve Volk, “Kermit Gosnell Is Smart, Funny Warm … and Bent”
Near the end of September, I wrote a four-part series about abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell, based on a profile (turned into a short e-book) written by Steve Volk. (See the conclusion, “Inside the mind of abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell.”)
Today Volk opened up (a bit) about his own feelings about Gosnell and second (and third) trimester abortions.
Since Volk was the lone journalist Gosnell would speak to after his murder convictions (he is serving three consecutive life sentences), Volk’s post-interview comments are worth considering.
Here are five points.
#1. Volk doesn’t believe “the media shied away from Gosnell out of liberal bias,” but does grant, “I do believe a big story didn’t receive the coverage it warranted.” Those who brush off the virtual total news blackout (until the mainstream media was shamed into some marginal coverage by Mollie Hemmingway and Kirsten Powers) offer a laundry list of excuses, none of which hold water and most of which are almost painfully embarrassing.
“But I also fully understood why pro-life factions wanted the media there,” Volk writes.
“To paraphrase a line from [his story] Gosnell’s Babies, abortions in the second trimester are brutal. And the Gosnell trial was rife with images of second-trimester abortion—from verbal descriptions of needles, forceps and hearts, to photos of fetuses and babies, ranging from the mid- second trimester to as old as 32 weeks gestation.”
#2. That explanation is true, as far as it goes. But even now, years after the police raid of Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” and five months after a Philadelphia jury convicted Gosnell of three counts of first degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter, Volk manages to avoid the breathtaking horror of what Gosnell did. He deliberately aborted children ALIVE and then killed them by slitting their spinal cords.
#3. “His case is more complicated than most media portrayals allow,” Volk wrote. “Yet, up close, his story is worse than we knew—a lesson in how self-righteousness and cold rationalizations blur distinctions between man and monster.” Aside from the fact there were not nearly as many “media portrayals” as there should have been, in his original story, Volk painted Gosnell’s self-righteousness as of a piece with the self-righteousness he ascribes to pro-lifers.
A horrific murder story in which there are scenes so grotesque that they remind you of something out of “Lord of the Flies,” and the real moral of the story is that pro-lifers are infected with the same disease as Gosnell. Geez.
#4. To his everlasting credit, Volk does not shy away from the sheer brutality of what Gosnell was doing, OR what any late abortion does to the child. Besides the two already quoted, Volk went to Dayle Steinberg, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, “about the availability of doctors to carry out the procedure later than 19 weeks gestation.” In an email she discretely replied, “Doctors who will perform abortions later in the second trimester are few and far between.” But not as rare as the abortion industry would have you believe!
Steinberg, by the way, wrote an exercise in evasion op-ed for The Daily Beast with another Planned Parenthood operative, Eric Ferrero, titled, “Planned Parenthood on the Real Lessons of the Kermit Gosnell Case.”
In their “we knew nothing” defense, Steinberg and Ferrero wrote with a flourish, “It bears repeating (if only because opponents continue trying to make a connection) that Planned Parenthood has never been affiliated with Gosnell and was not aware of the atrocities happening in his facility until he was arrested.”
First, that does not exonerate the National Abortion Federation which inspected Gosnell’s clinic, found it “beyond redemption” but told no health authorities. None.
Second, back in July, Gloria Steinem spoke at the Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania fundraiser. According to the Philadelphia Daily News’s Morgan Zalot, “Steinberg said that when Gosnell was in practice, women would sometimes come to Planned Parenthood for services after first visiting Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, and would complain to staff about the conditions there. “’We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health,’ Steinberg said as she sat with Steinem before Tuesday’s events.”
Fifth and final
#5. Volk writes about (without using the term) common ground. Pro-lifers would give this or that (or accept this or that) in exchange—supposedly–for a pro-abortion willingness to roll back the latest point women can abort. That is at best demeaning to and a complete misreading of pro-lifers, and at worst (and more likely) utterly insincere.
Pro-abortionists never, EVER agree to any pro-life initiative, no matter how commonsensical, modest, or supported by an overwhelming percentage of the American population. They find “reasons” (so to speak) to justify any abortion at any point in pregnancy—and, increasingly, make the argument that even birth isn’t really all that legally significant.
As we have written many times, someday looking back on the Gosnell trial—as minimally as it was covered—we will see it as a watershed. What he did to hundreds of viable babies (that’s what the Philadelphia Grand Jury believes) sends chills up and down your spine.
Volk describes himself thusly:
“To be straight about it, I have always been comfortably pro choice—a moderate lefty content with Roe. But covering the Gosnell trial provoked a new unease.”
That “new unease” moves him to question second trimester abortion. But for most of those Americans who heard about, read about, or saw video coverage of the trial, Gosnell raised a much more radical question: how can we do this to ANY unborn child?