Dr. Gosnell and the Angel of Death


By now, you may have heard of the sad story of Kermit Gosnell’s barbaric butchery of mothers and babies. The story is saddest because it was allowed to go on for so long. The criminal investigation of then-Doctor Gosnell began in 2009, his abortion mill was shut down and his medical license was revoked in 2010, and he was finally indicted for murder in January of 2011 Up to that point, the story was widely reported, but more recently, it has taken a groundswell of pro-life voices to bring the story of his murder trial back to national media attention.

This strange media silence is contrasted with the constant outcry that we must protect our children from any number of other social ills. The Newtown Massacre, the Steubenville Rape Case, the fight against childhood obesity, and the call for an end to bullying—especially of adolescent homosexuals—have all been the subject of a furious national debate with even President Obama himself joining the clamor with his own paternalistic invective.

Thanks to modern medicine, babies are able to receive medical care that can even treat life-threatening conditions within the womb. Expectant mothers are given a stringent regimen of vitamins, exercises, and checkups while at the same time being exhorted to follow a constantly growing and seemingly endless list of things to avoid. Even the most ardent abortion-loving radical feminist wants to have a strong and healthy baby, after all.

Apollyon, "The Destroyer"

Apollyon, “The Destroyer”

In the midst of all this sound and fury, we are told that Gosnell’s practices and abortion more generally must be left as a private “decision” between the “patient” and her doctor. [N.B., in our culture of death, the sacred gift of motherhood is viewed as a disease, and the unwilling mother is merely a patient.] Abortion activists will defend Gosnell as an angel of mercy for disposing of these supposedly unwanted babies. In their perverted morality, the murder of infants is an act of charity for the poor and the weak who would have otherwise been driven to far more desperate straits—although it is hard to imagine what could be worse than murdering one’s children.

Then again, it may not be that hard to imagine after all, for history gives us a shocking example of what this logic leads to. According to Wikipedia:

…in late 1938, Adolf Hitler instructed his personal physician Karl Brandt to evaluate a family’s petition for the “mercy killing” of their blind, physically and developmentally disabled infant boy. The boy was eventually killed in July 1939. Hitler also instructed Brandt to proceed in the same manner in similar cases. The foundation of the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses in order to prepare and proceed with the massive secret killing of infants took place in May 1939 and the respective secret order to start the registration of ill children, took place on 18 August 1939, three weeks after the murder of the mentioned boy.

From there, it was all too easy for the Nazis to move from the murder of children to the extermination of the whole of European Jewry. The state-sanctioned murder of a child by the Nazis was in July of 1939. The infamous Auschwitz concentration camp was first opened in May of 1940. When a culture embraces the conceit that the state can decide that the most frail and most innocent no longer deserve to live, it is a frighteningly short step from Dr. Gosnell to Dr. Mengele, who earned his nickname the “Angel of Death” for the white lab-coat he wore while sending Jewish prisoners to their death in the gas chambers.

Fortunately we still have some notion of due process in this country to protect the lives of the innocent from such a fate, but as this case amply proves, those protections are not nearly strong enough for the unborn, the elderly, and the disabled. If there is even a faint glimmer of truth in the allegations against Gosnell, any punishment which can be meted out in this world is far too generous and merciful given the heinous and gruesome depravity of his crimes. In the end, the awesome justice of God in heaven may be the greatest rebuke, for in His infinite mercy God knows that even a person as truly wretched and vile as Kermit Gosnell still deserved to live.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org


About Author

Joshua Bowman joined in full communion with the Catholic Church in 2010 after many years in the spiritual wilderness. He recently moved back to his beloved native Virginia from Columbus, Ohio with his growing family and writes on religion, politics, history, and geographical curiosities.

Leave A Reply