Remember Michael Vick? He was a professional football player who was arrested for participating in dog fighting. For days the media discussed the issue and the animal rights violations inherent in dog fighting. The media worried over what would happen to the dogs that had been confiscated by authorities. Animal rights groups did not want the dogs destroyed; they wanted them rehabilitated.
A court guardian was appointed to oversee the care of the dogs. The Washington Post followed up on the status of the dogs on July 8, 2008, a year after Vick was charged. PETA, the Humane Society, Reverend Al Sharpton, and Russell Simmons jointly stated:
Today, we sound a clarion call to all people: Stand up for what is right, and speak out against what is wrong. Dogfighting is unacceptable. Hurting animals for human pleasure or gain is despicable. Cruelty is just plain wrong.
In Pennsylvania, another trial is underway. This one, though, is not getting as much attention. Aside from this op-ed from USA Today, the national mainstream media has been mostly quiet.
What’s the story here? Kermit Gosnell is on trial for the death of one of his patients during a botched abortion. This has brought to light the horrific, gruesome practices that occurred in his clinic. Babies were sometimes born alive. In one instance the baby was even screaming. Gosnell’s response to this “complication” was to snip the babies’ spinal cords with scissors.
Chilling, isn’t it. And yet the national media isn’t talking about it.
While I was in pharmacy school, I worked at a children’s hospital with a level 3 neonatal intensive care unit. I’ve seen hundreds of pre-term babies. I’ve watched medical professionals go to heroic lengths to try to save them. I’ve seen parents rejoice for the babies who grew and strengthened, and weep for the babies whose lives slipped away.
What’s the difference between the babies in the NICU and the babies in Gosnell’s clinic? Since Gosnell is aborting past 24 weeks gestation, it’s not gestational age. The babies in the NICU had parents who wanted them. The hospital I worked at cared for people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, but most of the babies had two present parents, and at least one parent was employed. In other words, the babies in the NICU had someone willing to fight for them. Isn’t the American way to speak and fight for those who have no voice and no advocates?
We live in a society where the mistreatment of animals causes more outrage that the murder of babies with a pair of scissors. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. My two dogs are sitting next to me right now. But I think we can agree that babies come before dogs.
And though I am opposed to abortion at all stages, I hope that even those who disagree with me can see that late-term abortions are wrong. Any quick perusal of a NICU will show you these are human babies with a will to live. This is a major human rights issue. Trying to couch it as reproductive rights is monstrous. We can hammer out the issue of first trimester abortion later on. Let’s react to this first.
Finally, I’m a little uncomfortable writing about this because I realize I’m indicting myself. The reason that these atrocities are occurring is because people like me haven’t stepped up to help these women. I’ve given birth to three children. By 24 weeks the mother has been feeling the baby moving in her body. She knows that’s a living thing inside her. A woman would have to feel desperate to abort at that point.
But isn’t the media supposed to show us these things? Aren’t they supposed to show how we as a society have failed so that we can do better?
Lord have mercy on us all.