A Catholic priest presided over a service Thursday to give proper names to the 45 babies whose bodies were found in the West Philadelphia abortion clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. He is charged with killing five people - a patient and four viable babies that prosecutors say were born alive. He has also been charged with performing late-term abortions that violate Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit on the procedure.
“People have names, people deserve names. The name expresses the person. The name recognizes that there is a person there.” said Father Frank Pavone during the 30-minute service in the New York chapel of Priests for Life, the Catholic Church’s largest pro-life activist group.
“Who are these children, and whose are these children?” Father Pavone asked. “Are they medical waste or are they our brothers and sisters?”
The babies whose deaths have been part of the trial record - Baby A through Baby G - were named first: Baby Adam, aborted at seven and a half months and Baby Michael at 28 weeks; Baby Alex, who breathed for 20 minutes after delivery; Baby Chris, delivered into a toilet and seen “swimming” there, according to court recrods; Baby Andy, who was heard to whine, and Baby Lou, whose leg moved after being delivered.
During the service, Priests for Life staffers and volunteers walked in procession to the chapel’s altar, carrying certificates with a name for each child.
“It is our honor to honor you with your name,” Father Pavone said after each child had been named. He also prayed for the parents of the infants.
Father Pavone has asked permission of the Philadelphia Medical Examiner to give the babies a proper funeral and burial once the trial reaches its conclusion. That request is still pending, and the medical examiner has said it is under consideration.
Audio and video of the service will be available at PriestsforLife.org