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From Roe vs. Wade to West Philadelphia

January 31, 2011

It was morbidly appropriate that the very week when our nation was observing the sad anniversary of the infamous 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, which created a constitutional right to slaughter unborn babies, a macabre story broke about the discovery of an abortion mill officials are describing as a "house of horrors."

Over the past three decades, Kermit Gosnell, 69, has raked in millions of dollars in blood money running his own little genocidal killing factory out of a run-down storefront in a poor West Philadelphia neighborhood. Gosnell, who is black, specialized in murdering the babies of blacks, immigrants and other poor women.

Three decades. And no one knew? Please.

In fact, this butcher was known far and wide as the "doctor" who would provide late term abortions for minority women. And yet, the authorities were shocked at the gruesome evidence found in the "clinic" bags, bottles and other containers throughout the place filled with the human remains of murdered babies.

Gov. Ed Rendell, who left office earlier this month, said he was "flabbergasted." Incoming Gov. Tom Corbett has ordered a thorough investigation as to why state and local agencies did not discover Gosnell's activities before now.

Gosnell is being charged with murder. But why? Wasn't he just helping poor women exercise their right to choose? Out of all the abortionists in America, why is this particular ghoul being singled out for scrutiny? What has he been doing differently than Leroy Carhart in Nebraska or the late George Tiller in Kansas? Two things.

First, a pregnant woman died while in this man's "care." According to the district attorney's office, Gosnell is facing a charge of murder in the third degree for the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died in November of 2009 after being overdosed by an unlicensed teen-age employee with anesthesia prescribed by Gosnell.

And second, in a turn of events that must surely take the prize for hair-splitting, Gosnell was killing babies outside the womb. Unlike, Tiller and Carhart, whose practices performed what have come to be known as partial birth abortions, Gosnell found an easier way to kill babies late in their term.

In a partial birth abortion (frequently done in the eighth or ninth month of pregnancy), the abortionist reaches into the womb with a pair of forceps, grabs hold of the child's feet, pulls him/her feet-first out of the womb and while the baby's head is still partially in the birth canal kills the infant by stabbing him/her in the base of the skull and while he/she kicks and squirms for the last time sucks out the baby's brain with a vacuum hose.

This procedure is now illegal in all fifty states, thanks to a Republican Congress, former President George W. Bush and a rational Supreme Court, which found that the federal ban on this barbaric practice was, in fact, constitutional.

But for many years, this ghastly method of destroying children was perfectly legal. Gosnell, who is not even licensed to perform abortions, apparently found it easier to simply induce labor, deliver a live baby and then cut his/her spinal chord with a pair of scissors. "Snipping," he called it.

So my questions are these: Why was it wrong all those years for Gosnell to do what he has been doing, and yet other late term abortionists across the country went about their grisly business with impunity? And now that it has been declared illegal to perform partial birth abortions, why is it still legal to perform late term abortions in any other manner? And if it is wrong to perform an abortion in the third trimester, is it somehow right to destroy that same life a month earlier?

Early in her tenure, before she ran off the rails in the direction of the pro-abortion left, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor once said that Roe vs. Wade was on an inevitable "collision course with itself." That collision came last week in a "house of horrors" in West Philadelphia.

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Copyright ©2011 Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at dpatton@cagle.comand/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.