A Grisly and Gruesome Business

By Holly Gatling, Executive Director, South Carolina Citizens for Life

Editor’s note. This appears in the current issue of National Right to Life News. Please share this 42-page issue with your pro-life friends and family.

In 1977 when I was a newspaper reporter in Columbia, S.C., covering crime and courts (if it bleeds it leads), I wrote about a U.S 4th Circuit Court of Appeals case involving the death of a baby who was aborted at 25 weeks but lived for 20 days. The court ruled that the abortionist could not be prosecuted for murder as the local solicitor intended to do.

At least the court had the decency to describe the case as “a grisly and gruesome business” and even expressed revulsion at what happened to the baby boy. Early abortions “may be little cause for revulsion” the court wrote, but continued, “It seems quite different when an abortion is performed when the child has long since quickened and comes into the world with a strong heart beat and its lungs functioning. Difference are aggravated when it takes the child three weeks to die.”

Yet, the court went on to state that Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolten permits a woman “to rid herself of an unwanted fetus comparatively unfettered” and therefore the abortionist could not be prosecuted for murder. 

It took thirteen years after that decision known as Floyd v. Anders for the South Carolina General Assembly to pass its pro-life law, the Parental Consent Act. Since then we have passed a total of 16 laws correlating with a 60 percent decline in abortions occurring in our state.

Years later it was interesting to me – no longer a reporter but now a pro-life activist – to see the prosecution of infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell who was sentenced to life in prison for murdering three infants he aborted and who survived the abortions. That was 2013.

But at least there was justice in his case because the pro-life movement had worked tirelessly and effectively to pass laws regulating (to some extent) when abortion is legal killing and when it is illegal killing. Still, abortion remains a “grisly and gruesome business.”

That brings me to the most recent grisly and gruesome business of the Washington, D.C. abortionist who is suspected of performing illegal partial birth abortions on five well-developed babies. Ironically, this time prosecutors are reluctant to even investigate whether a crime occurred. 

Even with 69 members of Congress calling on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate whether crimes were committee, the silence is deafening. Yet once again, the grisly and gruesome business of abortion has bobbed to the surface leaving ordinary people who oppose abortion stunned and horrified.

Just today a friend called me to ask if it is true that abortionists kill babies who are born alive. I had to tell her yes, and I recommended that she sign up for National Right to Life News to follow these cases and to get involved with stopping these grisly and gruesome crimes against the unborn members of our human family no matter how small or how large they are.