May 14, 2013
My quick-reaction to the Gosnell verdict
Here's the instapunditry I did for National Review Online yesterday:
It is a good thing that the Philadelphia jury convicted Kermit Gosnell of
murder, because it is in fact clear that he committed murder. For the jury to
have done otherwise, given the graphic, detailed, and not-meaningfully-contested evidence, would have been a gross and depressing injustice. It would have delivered a huge blow to the rule of law in the City of Brotherly Love if the
members of the jury had allowed themselves to be distracted or confused by
Gosnell’s lawyers’ overheated attempts at obfuscation, by baseless charges of
“racism” and “elitism,” or by a distortionary dedication to an extreme version
of the pro-abortion cause.
It will be tempting to “move on.” But the temptation should be
resisted. Gosnell did horrible things to women and still-living babies, and
laughed about it, and it would be comforting to many of us if he were a Hannibal
Lecter–type aberration. And, of course, in many ways, he is. Yet his ability to
reduce unborn and “unwanted” children to objects, whose pain and death were
material for jokes, differs more in degree than in kind from the dignity-denying
premises underlying our abortion laws generally. We should take more time to
think, and worry about, this fact.
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