Ten years ago today, abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted by a Philadelphia jury for performing illegal late-term abortions and murdering three babies born alive by snipping their spines with scissors. Investigators believe he killed hundreds if not thousands of babies in a 30-year killing spree.
The Gosnell court case became a media sensation for a while because the world’s media refused to cover it. Journalists and their outlets were accused on social media of not wanting to cover negative abortion stories. Eventually, they were shamed into covering the trial.
These days there seems to be no such reticence about covering abortion, or rather, in covering certain abortion stories.
Since Gosnell and particularly since Roe v. Wade was overturned there has been story after story about women whose lives have been negatively impacted because they live in states that have brought in abortion bans or restrictive laws. Hollywood has helped out too with movies, miniseries, and a slew of network prime-time shows dramatizing the plight of women they say are unable to get an abortion in the new post-Roe world. Planned Parenthood even has a full-time staff member based in Hollywood whose only job is to help writers craft the storylines.
But the stories have concentrated on certain states that have virtually banned abortion whilst ignoring the trend of increasingly permissive abortion laws being passed in very many states.
There is an untold abortion story that is being ignored.
Across vast swaths of the United States, including California, Michigan, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, D.C., and Vermont there are now virtually no barriers to abortion right up to nine months. Similarly, there are few rules to stop late-term abortions in New York.
Post Roe, there have been six abortion ballot initiatives in the states. The pro-life side was outspent, and with the media creating a panic over restrictive laws, lost all six. Even one in Montana — a state Donald Trump won by 16 points.
The media stories focus on women finding it difficult to secure abortions in red states. There are almost no stories about how in Montana doctors are not legally obliged to try and save the life of a baby born alive after an abortion. Although attempts by the state’s governor to legislate around the ballot initiative received extensive coverage. There is also a dearth of stories about the increased number of women aborting babies up to nine months. There are now tens of thousands every year. It’s hard to be more accurate because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refuses to order states to collate the numbers. The stories also usually fail to mention that many states now have the most permissive abortion laws on the planet.
It is probably in neither side’s interest to point out these inconvenient facts. Pro-abortion advocates will continue to push the narrative of women in allegedly extreme medical conditions being denied medical care. It helps turn out donors and voters. The pro-life side probably doesn’t want to highlight losing so many ballot initiatives and prefers to highlight their victories. And so the public believes abortion laws are a one-way tsunami of restrictions.
Ten years ago we accidentally walked into a Philadelphia courtroom and found a story that led us to write a book and produce a movie and true crime podcast about an abortionist who was also a serial killer.
This meant visiting and having many conversations with Gosnell. He likes to talk. Throughout these conversations, there has always been one constant theme. He is innocent. He spends his days writing poetry celebrating abortion and keeping fit, he tells us. He’s keeping fit because when he is exonerated and released he is going to celebrate by running a triathlon.
We eventually had to block Kermit Gosnell from phoning us. He phoned often and at the most awkward times. Who really wants to take a phone call from a serial killer at your friend’s wedding? We felt he was delusional with his bad poetry and repeated claims of innocence.
But given the changes in laws in blue, purple, and even some red states, perhaps we are the delusional ones. There hasn’t been a ballot initiative in Pennsylvania yet, but given time it will probably happen. In large parts of America you can now abort babies up to nine months and doctors can let babies born alive die of neglect. These changes could be coming to Pennsylvania soon. Then we could legitimately ask if Gosnell would be even charged in today’s post-Roe world.
Kermit Gosnell could be running his triathlon yet.