When Politicians Allow the Murder of Infants

Now that the verdict is in on Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist convicted of delivering live babies—most of them African American—and killing them, perhaps President Obama might finally be willing to respond to the horrific crime.  Silent on the facts of the case, it is curious why neither the President nor the First Lady have been willing to comment on the house of horrors Gosnell presided over.

Prior to the Gosnell case, President Obama was quite willing to involve himself in violent cases—especially when the cases involved African American children.  In the days following the death of Trayvon Martin, the teenager who was shot last year by a neighborhood watch captain in a gated community in Florida, President Obama told a gathering of reporters in the Rose Garden that “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” And, in a speech last month that addressed youth violence in Chicago, First Lady Michelle Obama compared herself to Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl murdered there: “Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her.”

Personally identifying with the victims of violence is something that the President and his wife have done often—most recently, bringing the parents of the children slain in Sandy Hook to Washington to lobby Congress on gun control. Yet, neither the President nor his wife have said a word about the horrific descriptions of tiny screams, flailing arms, and beheadings in the capital murder trial of Kermit Gosnell. Neither the President nor the First Lady seem to have noticed that the pictures of the newborn victims at the clinic may have looked a lot like their own newborn children.

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Ignoring the Gosnell case, President Obama drew a standing ovation from Planned Parenthood staffers and supporters at their annual fundraising gala last month when he assured them that “You’ve got a president who’s going to be right here with you fighting every step of the way.”  The President is standing with Planned Parenthood despite the fact that last week the organization admitted to knowing about the conditions inside Gosnell’s Philadelphia clinic yet chose not to act to help end the killing of newborn babies.

President Obama is choosing to stand beside an organization that lobbies for the right to abort unborn children in Philadelphia up to 24 weeks of gestation.  It is not a coincidence—as reporters at World magazine have pointed out—that most of abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s second trimester patient files introduced at his murder trial have the number “24.5” written in the column indicating gestational age.

Thanks to the lobbying efforts of Planned Parenthood, there are even more opportunities for aborted babies to be born alive in other states.  In Oregon, Nevada, Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida, and Maryland, abortion is legal until 23 weeks six days. And, in Colorado and New Mexico, women can have a legal abortion until the 26th week.

There are also loopholes for those who want even later term abortions if there are concerns for the “mother’s health” which can include physical, emotional, psychological and familial wellness.  These abortions can be done at any time—into the final days of the full-term pregnancy.

President Obama, has tacitly supported the ability of doctors like Gosnell to kill newborn babies through his support for public policy in Illinois in 2001 and 2002.   Then State Senator Obama voted against the Born-Alive Protection Act which would have defined the term “born alive infant, as an infant that is expelled or extracted from his or her mother that exhibits a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles.”  Senator Obama voted against providing this protection to the newborn saying that “it could interfere with a woman’s right to an abortion as established through the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision.”  Each time he had the opportunity to do so, President Obama voted to deny basic Constitutional protections for babies born alive from an abortion.

Today, President Obama will not acknowledge this.  In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Obama accused the National Right to Life Committee of lying about his lack of support for the Born-Alive Protection Act.  But, the Washington Post accused the President of misrepresenting these facts. On September 10, 2012,  Washington Post reporter,  John Hicks, wrote that “The evidence suggests we could have awarded Four Pinocchios to the former Illinois senator for his comments to the Christian Broadcasting Network.”

President Obama’s promises to the adoring Planned Parenthood audience ensure that he will continue to support public policy that leads to the horrors in Philadelphia.  Criticizing states that have passed more restrictive abortion laws in the last few years, the President claimed that such efforts were an attempt to send the country back to a time before Roe v Wade.  For the unborn—and now, the newborn—it was a much safer time.


  • Anne Hendershott

    Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH. She is the author of The Politics of Envy (Crisis Publications, 2020).

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