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May 04, 2013

Django Unchained and Kermit Gosnell: “A Flesh for Cash Business”

Rick’s recent post (or re-post) about the movie Gone Baby Gone (here) got me thinking about a recent film and the issues laid bare by the recent trial of Kermit Gosnell.

In an early scene in the Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, a film set in the ante-bellum South, Dr. King Schultz explains to Django – a slave he has acquired who later becomes King’s friend and business partner – just what his line of work is. (The scene is available on YouTube here). 

“Do you know what a bounty hunter is?” King asks Django.  “Well, the way the slave trade deals in human lives for cash, a bounty hunter deals in corpses. . . . Like slavery it’s a flesh for cash business.”

I don’t know that I would describe Django Unchained as either “Catholic” or “pro-life,” but I do think that Tarantino’s description of bounty hunting is an apt description of the work of Kermit Gosnell, and Planned Parenthood, and everyone involved in the abortion industry – a flesh for cash business.

 

Posted by John Breen on May 4, 2013 at 01:30 PM | Permalink

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A person who kills live infants, breaks the law & is in part charged with killing a woman as well is like "Planned Parenthood," a group for which legal abortion is a small part of their business, does lots of things to PREVENT abortions including by supporting contraceptives, actually provides good health care to lots of women and so forth. What do we call someone who wants to defund Planned Parenthood and leave the poor to the Kermit Gosnells of the world?

Posted by: Joe | May 4, 2013 4:38:02 PM

Bounty hunting = providing early abortions (the vast number of abortion providers, so if we want to talk about "abortions" that would be fair just like "lawyers" would generally not mean ambulance chasers) including for those who were raped, are fifteen year old or cannot for any number of reasons adequately take care of a child and thinks it immoral to give a child up for adoption.

I guess if we want to be crude, adoptions is a flesh for cash business too. It is not just a charity, after all. But, then some of us, including the vast number of people who have a religion, including the average Catholic, has a sense of perspective.

Posted by: Joe | May 4, 2013 4:41:42 PM

Joe, equivocate away my friend.

Posted by: CLS | May 4, 2013 7:19:01 PM

That's not helpful at all. Seriously, "get behind me Satan" honestly comes to mind with these sort of visceral posts.

The general public has mixed feelings about abortion but generally believe in certain cases it is warranted. These includes some who think abortion even there is at best a lesser evil. A great number realize Planned Parenthood provides a myriad of services -- contraceptives, cancer screening, pregnancy services, VD treatment and a varied other things other than abortion services.

Then we have your Kermit Gosnell. Not quite the same thing. Do we want to play that game? Do people love it when the Catholic Church is deemed equal to a small number of child molesting priests? Are they the norm? Is the Catholic Church such priests? No. That is patently unfair. A Catholic is not going to quite take you seriously when you say something like that, in part because they are sensitive about their faith, but also because it is patently unfair.

So, the person here can talk to the choir and put all three on the same level, all in the "a flesh for cash business." Something even someone uncomfortable with abortion will often see as unfair and exaggerated bear baiting. This will cut down abortions, how one wonders. Seems akin to the Catholic Church addressing same sex marriage by calling gays akin to prostitutes or something.

BTW, here's a thought. http://www.law.northwestern.edu/faculty/fulltime/koppelman/forcedlabor.pdf

Posted by: Joe | May 4, 2013 8:02:53 PM

This is some first-rate concern trolling. Bra-vo.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2013 12:47:09 AM

"Woe to those who call evil, good, and good, evil."

Posted by: Nancy | May 5, 2013 1:28:07 PM

Joe, regarding the article you linked to, to consent to engage in the unitive and procreative sexual act which resulted in procreation, and then claim that one is no longer responsible for caring for their son or daughter because it would be an act of "forced labor", would be a lie from the start.

Posted by: Nancy | May 5, 2013 6:43:09 PM

"Seriously, "get behind me Satan" honestly comes to mind with these sort of visceral posts."

"Seriously" if they bother you that much, why do you spent so much time commenting on them?

"A great number realize Planned Parenthood provides a myriad of services -- contraceptives, cancer screening, pregnancy services, VD treatment and a varied other things other than abortion services."

Why is it that pro-abortion groups feel it so necessary to obfuscate that it is they do/advocate. Kind of like when NARAL changed its name last year. Sure, Planned Parenthood advocates for lots of things; are we seriously to believe that it does not also advocate for as little legal regulation of abortion as possible? Just admit it, and defend it, instead of trying to obfuscate it.

Posted by: Josh DeCuir | May 5, 2013 9:11:36 PM

Josh DeCuir,

You say, "[A]re we seriously to believe that it [Planned Parenthood] does not also advocate for as little legal regulation of abortion as possible?"

What Planned Parenthood does is oppose efforts by the anti-abortion movement to take away the constitutional right to abortion. The so-called "pro-life" movement pretends to come up with "reasonable" restrictions, often claiming they are acting in the interests of women's health, when everyone knows their real motive is to continue to place as many restrictions on the right to abortion as they can, until abortions are impossible to obtain. Of course, for those who oppose all abortions at any stage for any reason, Planned Parenthood is doing something they believe to be reprehensible. But considering that abortion has been legal for forty years, how many new regulations that the anti-abortion movement can think up can be considered "reasonable" when abortion is a constitutional right?

If we say that Planned Parenthood is to abortion rights as the NRA is to gun rights, it seems to me that Planned Parenthood comes across as reasonable and moderate.

Posted by: David | May 6, 2013 8:40:37 AM

"If we say that Planned Parenthood is to abortion rights as the NRA is to gun rights, it seems to me that Planned Parenthood comes across as reasonable and moderate."

Suuuuure.

Posted by: Josh DeCuir | May 6, 2013 8:57:21 AM

David, after thinking further, I suppose I should attempt to make some response to the vapidity of your comment. I am not sure if you are intending your analysis to be grounded in Catholic theory - legal or otherwise, but it certainly strikes me that your false dichotomy between an absolutely unqualified "right" enshrined in the US Constitution as against anyone who believes that there can, and ought to be, some reasonable restrictions on the exercise of that right, at least in view of the balanced interest in the right to life also enshrined in the Constitution (an interest Roe itself recognizes, I should add), not to mention the natural law as well, is wholly-lacking any reasonable appreciation of Catholic social teaching's views of rights AND responsibilities, let alone the common good.

Your juxtaposition of the NRA & Planned Parenthood is actually a fairly a useful one in making this point, because, as someone who identifies as a "pro-lifer", I find the protestations that anyone (pro-life or otherwise) who believes there are some limits on "the right to choose" is actually hiding behind some other (disingenuous, at least in your view I take it) agenda just as ludicrous a claim as those who believe that a background check to purchase a gun amounts to government confiscation of their firearms. I find the protestations of Pres. Obama, Planned Parenthood, and others that somehow the very foundations of woman's health are threatened by actions to reasonably restrict access to abortion (actions, again, which Roe itself left open) just as ludicrous as the claims of some that raising marginal tax rates higher than their present rate on certain incomes amounts to a complete arrest of economic liberty in Western civilization.

But however one classifies the claims of you and Planned Parenthood with respect to the free, unbounded exercise of a constitutional right as against the tyranny of us "pro-lifers", let's please not confuse them for having any relation whatsoever with Catholic social teaching. I think this point is essential seeing as how this is a blog dedicated to such teaching.

Posted by: Josh DeCuir | May 6, 2013 9:15:01 AM

Josh, that xkcd comic about something wrong in the Internet is about me.

Seriously, I think this topic too serious to be simplistically discussed, no matter who does it. I feel the same way with knee-jerk sounding remarks from the other side. This is a matter that divides us, including people of faith, many of whom feel there are various complexities here. My comments reflect the norm there. In response, I get sarcasm (one anonymous) and rote sounding preaching slogans.

As to Planned Parenthood, I am not trying to deny that they support abortion rights. I don't know what "as little regulation as possible" means. Does that mean the same level of regulation as other medical procedures, which would push aside a slew of abortion specific regulations?

Anyway, since you agree they do various things, want to CHANGE the law (but by implication follow it) & so forth, I appreciate that perhaps you can see why they are different from Kermit Gosnell.

Posted by: Joe | May 6, 2013 10:28:59 AM

"Anyway, since you agree they do various things, want to CHANGE the law (but by implication follow it) & so forth, I appreciate that perhaps you can see why they are different from Kermit Gosnell."

What is simplistic, Joe, and "rote sounding" is arguing that if one believes that Kermit Gosnell's case has implications for those, like Planned Parenthood and NARAL, who object to almost any restriction on abortion, is equivalent to saying they are Kermit Gosnell, and somehow ignoring complex reality. All I take many here to be saying in raising Kermit Gosnell is that there are some implications for the atrocities he committed for those who simplisticly assert "Constitutional right"/"hands off my body"!! arguments, and assert that somehow reasonable restrictions on abortion amount to a full on assault on the health of women (as Pres. Obama did the other day). Simplicity and complexity, it seems, are in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by: Josh DeCuir | May 6, 2013 11:02:18 AM

Joe, as a follow-up, since you think some of us here are "simplistic" and "rote sounding", you may perhaps find the following article a bit more to your nuanced understanding: caution, though - it concludes, as well, that "[t]hose who argue that infanticide is not a problem, or who see it as unconnected to the broader issue of abortion, need to think again. In part because he was just following the logic abortion (one of many reasons he should not receive the death penalty), Gosnell couldn’t understand why he was charged with multiple counts of homicide for aiming at the death of premature infants. Especially given what we already accept in our culture, one can understand his confusion."

http://catholicmoraltheology.com/what-i-learned-about-infanticide-on-my-trip-to-australia/

I don't think anyone would call Prof. Camosy "simplistic" or "rote sounding".

Posted by: Josh DeCuir | May 6, 2013 11:07:51 AM

Josh, "Woe to those who call evil, good, and good, evil." is rote sounding. So is "This is some first-rate concern trolling. Bra-vo." And, "Joe, equivocate away my friend." If someone around here went to a pro-choice blog, spoke their peace, and got that in return, would that be helpful? Would it?

Posted by: Joe | May 6, 2013 11:24:00 AM

Josh DeCuir,

The difference between pro-gun advocates and pro-abortion advocates is that pro-gun advocates are paranoid if they believe that anyone is trying to take everyone's guns away or even create a national gun registry. But pro-abortion advocates know for a fact that the anti-abortion movement is not about putting "reasonable" restrictions on abortion. It is about completely eliminating the right to abortion, even in cases where the life of the mother is in danger.

Posted by: David | May 6, 2013 11:30:45 AM

Josh DeCuir,

You say, " . . . Gosnell couldn’t understand why he was charged with multiple counts of homicide for aiming at the death of premature infants. Especially given what we already accept in our culture, one can understand his confusion."

The idea that Gosnell is confused by the charges against him is, as far as I can tell, a fiction invented by Robert George. Can you (or George) present any evidence to back it up? The defense in the Gosnell trial is that no infant was ever born alive in Gosnell's clinic, and consequently the charges that he killed viable, born-alive infants is false. From my admittedly limited knowledge of the evidence, it seems to me that a great many viable born-alive babies were born alive and killed. Some on his staff have already plead guilty. But the idea that Gosnell himself is "confused" because he doesn't see any difference between killing an unborn infant before an abortion and killing a born-alive, viable infant after an abortion, as far as I have been able to determine, is fiction. Add to that the fact, which Robert George does not mention, that in the cases where Gosnell and others are accused of murder, the abortions were illegal no matter when the fetus was killed, and the whole idea that "Gosnell is confused" becomes nonsense. Gosnell was clearly falsifying records to make it appear that fetuses well past the 24-week mark, when abortions were clearly illegal in Pennsylvania, were younger. This is clear evidence that Gosnell understood the law and was deliberately violating it.

Posted by: David | May 6, 2013 11:46:41 AM

A son or daughter of a human person, who moves, grows, and responds to their environment, is a living person, regardless of location. To be born, is to be brought forth from the womb or delivered by C-Section, alive. You (personal pronoun) have been you, since the moment of your conception, and I have always been me, myself, and I, since the moment of my conception.

Posted by: Nancy | May 6, 2013 12:29:06 PM

"The difference between pro-gun advocates and pro-abortion advocates is that pro-gun advocates are paranoid if they believe that anyone is trying to take everyone's guns away or even create a national gun registry. But pro-abortion advocates know for a fact that the anti-abortion movement is not about putting "reasonable" restrictions on abortion. It is about completely eliminating the right to abortion, even in cases where the life of the mother is in danger."

Given the general tenor of your comments thus far, I take it as a given, David, that you would square the debate this way (reasonable minded pro-choicers vs. unhinged (and dishonest) pro-lifers); what I am more interested in perhaps seeing your respond to is how you root this framing in any appreciation of Catholic social teaching or legal theory. Again, this is a blog dedicated to such.

Posted by: Josh DeCuir | May 6, 2013 12:34:00 PM

"The idea that Gosnell is confused by the charges against him is, as far as I can tell, a fiction invented by Robert George. Can you (or George) present any evidence to back it up?"

"Kermit Gosnell, Phila. Abortion Doctor, Seems Confused by Murder Charges, Shocked by No Bail

Gosnell, who was not represented by an attorney, understood that he was to be charged in the case of a 41-year-old woman who died during an allegedly botched abortion at his offices.

However, the 69-year-old did not seem to understand the other seven counts until he was told that they related to live-birth viable babies that he allegedly killed using scissors, reports CBS affiliate KYW.

"Is it possible you could explain the seven counts?" he asked. "I understand the one count because of the patient who died but not the others.""

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20029214-504083.html

"Gosnell himself seemed confused, when he was charged with so many counts of murder, as to how that could be. Because even at that point, he didn’t appear to see the children he’s accused of beheading as people.
Planned Parenthood’s Snow was similarly obtuse, either willfully or out of habit, in testifying against a Florida bill that would have required medical care for babies who survive abortions. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion,” she was asked, “what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”
Her answer was a familiar one: “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family and the physician.”"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/04/15/why-kermit-gosnell-hasnt-been-on-page-one/

Posted by: Josh DeCuir | May 6, 2013 12:41:01 PM

"I should think it obvious that the State's interest in the protection of an embryo -- even if that interest is defined as "protecting those who will be citizens," ibid. -- increases progressively and dramatically as the organism's capacity to feel pain, to experience pleasure, to survive, and to react to its surroundings increases day by day. The development of a fetus -- and pregnancy itself -- are not static conditions, and the assertion that the government's interest is static simply ignores this reality."

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0476_0747_ZC.html

I do not think I was "myself" at conception. I was a fertilized egg. "I" developed over time. A fertilized egg is not an entity that "moves, grows, and responds." The average person does not think a fertilized egg and a twenty-six month fetus is the same thing. This includes if they believe in a human soul. Also, there is also the girl or woman involved in the pregnancy.

If a girl at fourteen was raped, e.g., even if the embryo has some sort of personhood, most people do not think it akin to a "flesh for cash business" to allow her to abort, usually because they do not think the embryo is a full person yet. Thus, my concern for some conversation, not "that is some good control trolling" comments.

But, I appreciate Nancy adding a bit more to her previous comment.

Posted by: Joe | May 6, 2013 12:58:54 PM

Joe, if you were not you from the moment of your conception, then you would be someone other than you. If you are not you, who are you? I would appreciate it if you could answer that question which I believe would help you to understand that from the moment your Life began, that moment you were brought into being, you have always been you.

Posted by: Nancy | May 6, 2013 1:53:35 PM

A seed is not the same as what grows from said seed. "I" am a total person, which developed from a fertilized egg.

Posted by: Joe | May 6, 2013 2:35:55 PM

Joe, there is a difference between a seed, an a Human Life, it is that difference that makes all the difference.

Posted by: Nancy | May 6, 2013 2:42:25 PM

Josh DeCuir,

Please show me some indication that Gosnell claims to be confused because (1) he killed babies outside the womb, (2) it is legal to kill babies inside the womb, and (3) consequently it should be legal to kill babies outside the womb. According to Robert George, "Gosnell can't understand how it can be that he is facing prison and possibly even the death penalty for killing the babies whose necks he snipped after they 'precipitated' (i.e., emerged from the womb.)" As I said before, Gosnell's defense is that there were no cases of babies being born alive. (Credible testimony seems to establish that born-alive infants were common, but Gosnell and his legal defense do not concede that the testimony is accurate.) Gosnell was described as confused because he claims that, aside from the one mother, nobody died. It is Robert George, not Kermit Gosnell, who has made the case that it's somehow understandable to believe that if it was acceptable to kill a fetus before an abortion, it is acceptable to kill that same baby if it is born alive as the result of an abortion. Once again, I have seen no hint that Gosnell himself has put forward the theory that Robert George attributes to him.

The challenge still stands. As I said, "But the idea that Gosnell himself is 'confused' because he doesn't see any difference between killing an unborn infant before an abortion and killing a born-alive, viable infant after an abortion, as far as I have been able to determine, is fiction." For Gosnell to admit to such "confusion" would be to admit his guilt.

You quote Henneberger as saying, "Gosnell himself seemed confused, when he was charged with so many counts of murder, as to how that could be. Because even at that point, he didn’t appear to see the children he’s accused of beheading as people."

Whatever the jury decides, it is quite evident to me that Gosnell is a fraud and a crook. When confronted with murder charges, does one really expect him to say, "Of course I understand why you're charging me with murder, because I snipped the spines of born-alive infants or beheaded them. True enough, but let me explain to you why those born-alive infants were not really people and killing them was not really murder." It seems to me that Henneberger is skating on thin ice, since Gosnell is innocent until proven guilty. She speaks of the "children he's accused of beheading," but in order to make her case, she would really have to say "the (born-alive) children he beheaded." Henneberger is making the case that Gosnell didn't *feel* guilty. But as a journalist, she can't make the case that he *is* guilty. And if she can't make the case that he *is* guilty, then she can't make a convincing case about why he doesn't *feel* guilty.

Now, I personally think that Gosnell is guilty not only of the crimes for which he is being tried, but for perhaps hundreds of others. But unlike Robert George, I am not willing to make excuses for Gosnell. I think Gosnell knew he was breaking the law, knew he was killing babies, and simply didn't care because I think he is evil.

Posted by: David | May 6, 2013 3:17:20 PM

"Joe, there is a difference between a seed, an a Human Life, it is that difference that makes all the difference."

I think we need to focus on specific things here.

You asked a specific thing about "I" being present at conception. "I" is my whole self. "I" is not present at conception. We are not talking about "human life." A fertilized egg is "human life." A seed is "plant life." But, in both cases, the full "self" is not present at conception. There is not "someone else" at conception. There isn't any "self" at conception.

"Self," personhood, develops. If you are talking about a soul, that is not something the government can recognize -- it is a religious thing -- but even then, people who believe in souls do not think a complete "I" or an "I" at all really is at the fertilized egg stage.

This is a major reason why, if only in certain cases, they would allow abortion. They would not allow the killing of a complete person. But, they do not think the fertilized egg is a complete person, a complete self. It grows into one. They agree with the thing I quoted.

BTW, I appreciate David again pressing others here to be put to the proof, so to speak. Robert George is particularly bothersome since he puts forth strident things that repeatedly come off as false even if you somewhat agree with his p.o.v. and refuses to grant others to comment.

Posted by: Joe | May 6, 2013 3:40:05 PM

Joe, your conception was necessary for you to be you, you cannot separate your conception from your personhood.

Posted by: Nancy | May 6, 2013 3:57:43 PM

Joe, your conception was necessary for you to be you, you cannot separate your conception from your personhood.

Posted by: Nancy | May 6, 2013 3:57:43 PM

Joe, your conception was necessary for you to be you, you cannot separate your conception from your personhood.

Posted by: Nancy | May 6, 2013 3:57:44 PM

"your conception was necessary for you to be you, you cannot separate your conception from your personhood"

A seed is also necessary for the plant and if we look at the whole process of development, yes, we "cannot separate" the seed from what it develops into. The seed still is not the plant and a fertilized egg is still not the person.

So, we are still left with where we began -- a "person" is not present at conception. The fertilized egg is human (it is a homo sapiens egg). It is "alive" (as is a skin cell) as a biological entity. But, the egg only develops into a person. Even if the fertilized egg has some sense of personality, which some believe, it is not the "same" as what develops.

Posted by: Joe | May 6, 2013 4:11:51 PM

A seed is not the son or daughter of a human person.

Posted by: Nancy | May 6, 2013 5:04:29 PM

"Please show me some indication that Gosnell claims to be confused because (1) he killed babies outside the womb, (2) it is legal to kill babies inside the womb, and (3) consequently it should be legal to kill babies outside the womb."

David, I've provided a link to a CBS news report reporting Dr. Gosnell's own words in open court upon being charged with counts of murder. I'm not inclined to continue to play "small ball" with you in order to obfuscate your unwillingness to address the larger points I have asked: namely, how you square your position/comments with the focus of this blog. Rather, I will take your preference for continue to lob ideological verbal bombs at Robert George, or whoever else, as a sign that you have no such interest in responding to my question. I wish I could say this has been fun.

Posted by: Josh DeCuir | May 6, 2013 5:25:50 PM

Josh DeCuir,

You say: "I'm not inclined to continue to play 'small ball' with you in order to obfuscate your unwillingness to address the larger points I have asked: namely, how you square your position/comments with the focus of this blog."

I am seeking neither to support nor criticize Catholic legal theory in pointing out that there is no evidence whatsoever to support Robert George's statement that "Gosnell couldn’t understand why he was charged with multiple counts of homicide for aiming at the death of premature infants." It is not a matter of Catholic legal theory. It is a matter of fact. Gosnell didn't *say* he was confused. Gosnell said, "Is it possible you could explain the seven counts? I understand the one count because of the patient who died but not the others." If you want to infer from that that Gosnell was "confused," you are welcome to, but there is no information at all, anywhere, to indicate that Gosnell thinks what Robert George asserts that Gosnell thinks. If you don't think that is important, then I can't convince you that it is. But I think there is something very questionable about George attributing to Gosnell a rationale for justifying murder . . . and agreeing with it!

Now, if Robert George or someone else wants to argue that it simply doesn't make sense to permit, on the one hand, an abortionist to kill a fetus prior to an abortion so it can't be born alive, but prohibit, on the other, killing an infant born-alive as the result of an abortion, I would take it seriously. But the Gosnell case, it seems to me, is not the case to base such an argument on, because Gosnell was performing *illegal* abortions. Gosnell would *not* have been innocent if he had killed, before the abortions, the babies he is accused of murdering after the abortions.

Posted by: David | May 6, 2013 7:45:25 PM

Josh DeCuir,

You say: "I will take your preference for continue to lob ideological verbal bombs at Robert George . . . "

Ideologically, I am quite far removed from Robert George. However, it is not throwing "ideological verbal bombs" to point out that his statements about Gosnell's alleged confusion are groundless. Since I disagree with him so often ideologically, no doubt I am inclined to be more critical of what he says and to speak up when I disagree with him. But this instance is not a matter of ideological disagreement. His post on Gosnell's alleged confusion simply doesn't have any basis in the facts as I know them at this point. There may be something I have missed, in which case I would be happy if someone would bring it to my attention.

I was surprised at how poorly argued Melinda Henneberger's piece in the Washington Post was, but that's another matter.

Posted by: David | May 6, 2013 7:58:07 PM

In order to justify an act which is evil, one begins by denying the inherent nature of the evil act.

Posted by: Nancy | May 7, 2013 9:15:30 AM

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