It’s Time To Demand Intellectual Honesty About Abortion


Though the media blackout on Kermit Gosnell was well-maintained until the verdict was announced, the dam finally broke at the end. Bit by bit, an increasing percentage of the population became aware. By necessity, once the horror of the Gosnell’s atrocities were in plain view, it was time for damage control. Forced to cover his crimes, the pro-abortion members of the media dutifully informed us that Gosnell was an anomaly, not representative of the fine, upstanding abortion doctors serving American women for decades in their need for “health services”. In perhaps the most glaringly obvious attempt to discredit the connection between Gosnell and the larger abortion industry, William Saletan at Slate wrote a piece entitled, “Kermit the Rogue“. Says Saletan:

Kermit Gosnell, the notorious Philadelphia late-term abortionist, has been convicted. A jury found him guilty of murder for killing three babies after failed abortions, and of involuntary manslaughter for causing a woman’s death.

Now comes the smear campaign. “Gosnell is not alone,” says Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. “Gosnell is not an outlier,” says Lila Rose, president of Live Action. Gosnell is “not the aberration,” says Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life. Yoest points to investigations of other clinics for “dangerous and unsanitary practices that exposed women to injuries and infections, and infants born alive following attempted abortions.”

The bad news for pro-lifers—and the good news for everybody else—is that Gosnell really is an outlier. Other abortion clinics don’t do what he did to patients or live-born babies. Few have even come close. Late-term abortions and patient deaths are relatively rare. Part of the exonerating evidence comes from government data. The rest comes, inadvertently, from pro-lifers themselves.

Saletan goes on to attempt to discredit the “myth” that there are over 1,000 live-births after failed abortions in America every year. He ignores entirely the fact that what Gosnell did to babies outside the womb, abortion doctors across the nation are doing to babies inside the womb every day. The cognitive dissonance displayed here is staggering.

So instead of focusing on the simple truth of what abortion is, many of its proponents sidetrack us instead with the arguments about whether or not a fetus is, in fact, human at all. This is a distraction from the debate we should be having, and it is waged under a banner of false language, of euphemisms like “choice” and “reproductive rights” but never the specificity of scientific fact.

I’ve had enough. I propose that in the wake of Gosnell (and in light of the other butchers like him whose crimes are now coming to light) that we dispense with excessive diplomacy and go on the offensive. We must stop giving cover to those who would obfuscate and confuse the issue and challenge them instead. The simple fact is this: no honest, informed person can possibly believe that an abortion does not take a human life.

Science makes no provision for this idea. From the startlingly clear imagery provided by ultrasound technology to the detailed information provided by genetic testing to the continued advances in embryology, science is on our side. It always has been, but the evidence is mounting. We should not be afraid to stand on its findings.

In 1989, world-renowned French geneticist Dr. Jerome Lejeune was called to testify as an expert witness at a trial in Blount County, Tennessee. A divorced couple was fighting over what at the time must have seemed like a scenario out of a science fiction novel: custody of their seven cryogenically frozen embryos. After establishing his remarkable credentials, Dr. Lejeune provided the court with a lengthy explanation of embryonic development and genetic makeup. When it came time to ask his opinion on the central issue — the humanity of the embryos — his response left no room for doubt about his scientific opinion.

Q.: … I will ask you directly, Dr. Lejeune: You have referred to the zygote and the embryo as quote early human beings.’

A.: Yeah.

Q.: Do you regard an early human being as having the same moral rights as a later human being such as myself?

A.: You have to excuse me, I’m very, very direct. As far as your nature is concerned, I cannot see any difference between the early human being you were and the late human being you are, because in both case, you were and you are a member of our species. What defines a human being is: He belongs to our species. So an early one or a late one has not changed from its species to another species. It belongs to our kin. That is a definition. And I would say very precisely that I have the same respect, no matter the amount of kilograms and no matter the amount of differentiation of tissues.

Q.: Dr. Lejeune, let me make sure I understand what you are telling us, that the zygote should be treated with the same respect as an adult human being?

A.: I’m not telling you that because I’m not in a position of knowing that. I’m telling you, he is a human being, and then it is a Justice who will tell whether this human being has the same rights as the others. If you make difference between human beings, that is, on your own to prove the reasons why you make that difference. But as a geneticist you ask me whether this human being is a human, and I would tell you that because he is a being and being human, he is a human being.

He is not alone in his certitude. A 1981 Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing solicited testimony from a number of doctors and experts. Their statements were unequivocal:

“It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.”

Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth
Harvard University Medical School

“I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.”

Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni
Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania

“After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being. [It] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion…it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.”

Dr. Jerome LeJeune
Professor of Genetics, University of Descartes

“By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”

Professor Hymie Gordon
Mayo Clinic

“The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter – the beginning is conception.”

Dr. Watson A. Bowes
University of Colorado Medical School

The official Senate report reached this conclusion:

Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.

The physicians are not alone.  Faye Wattleton, Planned Parenthood’s longest-serving president, told Ms. Magazine in 1997:

I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don’t know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus.

Other pro-abortion voices have similarly expressed this belief. It is too obviously true to credibly deny.

This should empower us. Many who are supportive of abortion do not, for obvious reasons, share our religious views. And far too often, those who are pro-life make the mistake of basing their arguments on faith or scripture, thus entangling ourselves in debates over metaphysical things in which the larger point we are making is lost. We do not need to make a religious argument about personhood or the existence of human life in the womb. We have the facts on our side, and we can fight like empiricists. We have the benefit of logic and reason, and we are opposed by little more than emotion and misdirection.

We need to be the ones framing this debate. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be sidetracked by spurious arguments anymore.


Categories:Abortion Pro-Life

  • kristin

    The problem with arguing with a pro-choice person is that they do not use logic when arguing. It is absolutely impossible to win a logical argument with most of these people. They just just keep saying the same things: “My body, my choice.” “Women deserve choices.” I honestly have stopped arguing with my pro-choice friends because it gets me nowhere. How do you argue with someone completely illogical?

  • James

    A serious proponent of abortion might agree with you that a zygote is a human being, but they’ll deny that it’s a human person. They will argue that a fetus doesn’t do any of the things that a person does like have self-awareness, think rationally, and choose. This isn’t an argument easily over come. One has to resort to a metaphysics of nature, potentiality, and actuality that isn’t shared by the culture any more.

    • Don Johnston

      So basically when a person drinks too much, loses self-awareness, can’t think rationally, and hasn’t the ability to make good choices, we should have the right to kill him (or her)? This reasoning makes zero logic.

  • Elizabeth

    We must show our compassion for women who have had abortions. They are horribly, horribly wounded. Think of the care we take to protect a pregnant woman, and of her precious vulnerability at that time. Women obtaining an abortion, however, are not protected, not cherished. Many are forced, coerced and lied to, at a time when hormones where raging and exhaustion always pointing the loaded gun of fear at them. Some, through the overwhelming stupidity of our education system, are participating in acts that their brains simply have not the age to process yet. Others are delivered the lie that they have nowhere to turn. We judge the act, not the person. Most women deserve compassion as they recover from this wound. Yes, there are some outrageous hellions who post their abortions online with defiance – but at some point, they, too, were wounded horribly to commit such an act. Pray for them. There are circumstances that mitigate guilt. The doctor and those pressuring a woman to have an abortion – including those counselors who twist the truth and use semantics to deny the humanity of child after child – bear a greater burden of guilt.

  • Chris

    Remember when the hypocrite in the office faked a tear and said, “But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child … then surely we have an obligation to try.”?! Now he and his pro-abort cohorts want to sweep the murders under the rug, pretend they don’t happen and say “it’s rare, but we don’t need any regulators to verify my claim”!

  • Malia

    It is the mistake of many prolife groups to attach “victim” to women who choose abortion. Its not honest and perpetuates the same societal brainwashing, the same lie, we’ve been fighting to overcome since EVE. Eve was told she was a victim by the snake and cried “victim” to God…so did Adam. It didn’t work. We need to appeal to the truth, the Mary in ALL women: strong, courageous, intelligent, capable of making good choices involving great sacrifice. “Victim” tells us we are weak, stupid and incapable of making good choices when its hard. Women need the truth in order for lasting change to happen. Perpetuating a lie because we are afraid of the truth is a grave mistake.

    • Paul Sadek

      I have to disagree, Malia. The term “victim” does not necessarily imply weakness. A “victim” is “one who is harmed or killed by another,” according to a common dictionary definition. Considering the harm done to BOTH mother and child by abortion, the woman most certainly IS a “victim”–whether or not she is aware of the fact, and whether or not she believes herself to be a victim.

  • Cecilia

    It does not take a genius to figure out that life starts from the moment of conception! Abortion stops a beating heart and with all of the technology we have today, there is just no excuse that justify the murder of millions of baby humans! The only difference between Gosnell and other abortionists is that he killed babies outside the womb. Inside or outside, the baby does not change other than sadly it’s legal in this country! Did you all hear about the case of the boyfriend who fooled his girlfriend and had her take an abortion pill thinking it was an antibiotic? He will could be charged with first degree murder!! Great, he should but shouldn’t all the abortionists be charged with first degree murder too? The difference is if a baby is wanted or not. If a baby is nit wanted, this justifies the murder? It makes no sense at all! In this country where there is a supposed liberty and justice for all where is the justice for the unborn babies brutally murdered to death? There is no mercy for the unborn baby Americans who are taken out of their mother’s womb limb by limb. Would any of you like it if you were sleeping and were suddenly woken up by the pain of every part of your body dismembered piece by piece? This is what many infants go through inside their mother’s womb. Thumbs down to our President for funding PP with our taxes and daring to bless them using the name of God! Bless them for murdering infants? Would anyone bless Hitler? May God have mercy! We must never stop praying for the innocent unborn and become a voice for them!

    • Malia

      And we also need to start holding women accountable as well, and stop handing out “victim” status like candy. Calling women who murder their babies “victims” just cements the wrong thinking that les them to abortion in the first place. Thanks for your boldness!

      • Paul Sadek

        Let’s also be careful about handing out “sinner” status like candy. Many women were told by those in whom they placed their trust that “it’s just a blob of tissue.” These women were lied to, mercilessly. They were, indeed, victims.

        Now, it’s not necessary to REMAIN a victim. When one becomes aware of the gravity of the act, a good confession sets a person right with God.

        Is abortion a sin? Of course it is. But not all are culpable on the same level.

        We all need to claim responsibility for our own actions. But it is not our place to judge the state of a person’s mind or heart at the time that they commit an act which is objectively sinful.



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