Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Tale of Two Governors

Jody Bottum has written what is to my mind the most powerful commentary yet to appear on the indictment and coming prosecution of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. 


Having carefully gone through the lengthy grand jury report, Jody notes the following:

Many people knew what was going on at his Philadelphia clinic; several filed complaints with state and local agencies. But nothing was done, and at the time of his arrest, he hadn’t been visited by a medical examiner for 17 years. As the grand jury noted, with the change of governors in Pennsylvania in 1995—when the pro-abortion Tom Ridge replaced the pro-life Bob Casey—”the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all,” as “officials concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions.”

The pro-life Casey and the pro-choice Ridge were both Catholics.  The first honored the principle of natural justice (and the teaching of the Catholic Church) that every human being, irrespective not only of race, sex, and ethnicity, but also irrespetive of age, size, stage of development, or condition of dependency, is the bearer of a profound, inherent, and equal dignity.  The second governed according to a very different set of commitments when it came to the question of unborn human life.  It is only fair to note that, in this case, the defender of the rights of the weak and vulnerable was a Democrat.  His successor---whose administration, in the name of protecting women from "barriers" to seeking abortions, effectively made it possible for Gosnell to carry on his grisly business---was a Republican.

Governor Ridge, of course, went on to be appointed Secretary of Homeland Security in the Bush administration, and he remains a significant figure in the Republican Party.  Indeed, he is sometimes spoken of as a possible vice presidential, or even presidential, nominee.  If there is justice in the world, the grand jury report's revelations of the Ridge administration's delinquencies that enabled Gosnell to operate, and their source in Ridge's own pro-abortion ideology, will put an end to such talk.


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