When a Philadelphia jury found abortionist Kermit Gosnell guilty of three first-degree murders and involuntary manslaughter May 13, the pro-life community breathed a collective sigh of relief that such appalling crimes were not whitewashed. Twitter rejoiced with cries of “justice” and “murderer” and “guilty.” The conventional wisdom, many journalists had believed, was that after deliberating for 10 days, the jury wouldn’t deliver anything worse than a third-degree murder charge on the 250-plus counts at Gosnell’s door. Many thought the jury even might be hung.

Babies, in utero or out, can’t be subjected to a ‘viability checklist.’ They are alive from the moment of conception onward.

But the jury, nine of whom are reportedly “pro-choice,” surprised all by passing down 237 guilty verdicts on various charges, including the three first-degree counts. They then firmly and publicly confirmed their votes when individually polled.

This is undeniably a victory for the pro-life movement. The trial exposed the horrors in abortion clinics that, as a news analysis on Page 5 shows, are the rule rather than the exception. Such abuses need to be exposed and condemned.

Our relief is tempered, though, by the reality with which we’re left. Though the jury handed down three guilty verdicts in the cases of “Baby A,” “Baby C” and “Baby D,” the abortionist was acquitted in the death of “Baby E,” whom prosecutors said whimpered before his or her neck was snipped. One can only imagine the hairs the jury was splitting in its deliberations to come up with two different verdicts in identical situations. What was it about “Baby E” that made him or her matter less? At 23 weeks gestation, which “Baby E” was at the very least, parents typically would be narrowing down their list of names or decorating the nursery.

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All life is precious. iStockphoto

There were also other unborn infants the court determined wouldn’t be considered before the trial even began — and the millions more not affiliated with this case who never see the light of day. They must not be forgotten in the light of small victories.

Ironically, after the verdicts were announced, Planned Parenthood tweeted: “A just verdict. The jury has rightly convicted #Gosnell for his appalling crimes, ensuring no woman is victimized by him ever again.” That statement so clearly outlines what proponents of abortion simply don’t comprehend: that abortion is a crime at any stage. Babies, in utero or out, can’t be subjected to a “viability checklist.” They are alive from the moment of conception onward. The same baby who was born in the toilet and struggled to survive is the same baby who is extracted from its mother at 6 weeks or 8 weeks or 10 weeks.

Even an April column by pro-abortion journalist Megan McArdle of Newsweek and The Daily Beast acknowledges that truth — though not openly — when she admitted that she wasn’t covering the trial was because “it makes me ill.” Whether you are for it or against it, abortion ends a human life, and there’s no way around it.

According to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, Gosnell has avoided a death penalty sentence by agreeing not to appeal the verdict and to instead accept life in prison without the possibility of parole. With the finality of that decision, chances are that Kermit Gosnell and his “House of Horrors” will drop out of the news and, all too soon, be forgotten.

Our job is not to let it. As pro-life activist Lila Rose said at the conclusion of a six-month undercover investigation into the world of abortion clinics: “Gosnell is not alone. The atrocities that he committed are being committed at abortion facilities across the country to children both inside and outside of the womb.” 

Editorial Board: Greg Erlandson, publisher; Msgr. Owen F. Campion, associate publisher; Beth McNamara, editorial director; Gretchen R. Crowe, editor; Sarah Hayes, executive editor