Hundreds of thousands braved yesterday’s chill to mark the bitter anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. For the past 37 years, the annual event has drawn a peaceful, prayerful crowd dedicated to the true civil rights challenge of our era: ending the termination of human life for profit.
The horrors of this enterprise were exposed Wednesday as murder charges were filed against practitioners at the Women's Medical Society abortion clinic in West Philadelphia. The grand jury’s report provided descriptions too gruesome to reprint beyond the summary statement, “It was a baby charnel house.” The facility belonged to Dr. Kermit B. Gosnell, whose alleged primary goal was to maximize the number of procedures performed at the lowest possible cost. Corners were apparently cut by having nonprofessionals do the bulk of the work in unsanitary conditions.
According to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, same-day service was available, no matter how late the term, for mostly minority women seeking to end their pregnancies. Documents show the clinic encouraged late-term procedures because the price tag increased from $330 in the 12th week of pregnancy to $1,625 in the 24th. Beyond that, prices rose as high as $3,000, for an annual revenue of $1.8 million.
Such late-term abortions are horrendous, illegal procedures. Evidence suggests that the clinic would induce labor and then kill the newborn after birth. The clinic termed this as “ensuring fetal demise,” but few would disagree that this was infanticide. Sadly, the process differs only by degree from legal abortions performed on a daily basis in sterile hospital conditions across the land. The ultimate result is certainly the same for the baby.
From the dawn of medicine, doctors were charged first and foremost to do no harm and never play an active role in terminating a life. In just the past few decades, the American Medical Association (AMA) has cheapened the value of life by erasing the specific prohibition on abortion from the text of the Hippocratic Oath and declaring no ethical problem with a physician who snuffs out the unborn for cash.
It should come as little surprise that when Pennsylvania officials learned of the unintended death of a patient at the Women's Medical Society, they looked the other way. After 1993, no inspections were made of the facility lest it be construed as interference with the right to abortion invented by the Supreme Court. As the grand jury report charged, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health put more effort into inspecting “swimming pools and beauty parlors.”
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, refers to this attitude as an “acceptable bigotry” against the child in the womb. “The abortion industry is a multibillion-dollar industry,” Mr. Smith told The Washington Times. “It makes those employed by it filthy rich - especially the so-called physicians who have chosen killing over curing.”
On Thursday, House Speaker John A. Boehner joined Mr. Smith in introducing H.R. 3, a bill that would outlaw all forms of federal subsidy for abortion. This measure would free American taxpayers from the burden and guilt of bankrolling this sordid industry. It’s an appropriate stop-gap measure until Congress and the courts restore the value of human life by undoing the damage done by Roe v. Wade.