The Grave Consequences of Choice
It could be weeks until a jury decides Gosnell's fate, but for some of the teary-eyed witnesses in the Kermit Gosnell trial, they're already living with a life sentence of regret. Many will never recover from what they saw inside those brick walls--or the role they played in the nightmare. Whatever the judge decides, there is no escaping their personal prison of memories of babies softly whimpering or their tiny chests moving up and down.
For Kareema Cross, one of Gosnell's younger employees, the images are still haunting. A mother now, she told the court that she left her job after having her own child and tried reporting Gosnell to authorities. During her time on Lancaster Street, she testified that she saw 10 babies born alive before they were killed. "Did you ever see those babies move?" the Assistant District Attorney asked. "Yes," Kareema said, "once in the toilet." The baby was "swimming," she responded quietly, "basically trying to get out."
Her story echoed through the courtroom, where the clinic's filthy furniture was on display. Conditions were "so terrible," Latosha Lewis remembers, that she "handled patient charts with gloves because of the amount of blood and other bodily fluids on them." If only patients could have taken the same precautions from the foul environment. According to Lewis, Gosnell reused curettes after abortions, the sharp-ended tube that penetrates the womb and helps suctions out tissue. Lewis said that several women who had abortions came back to the clinic suffering from sexually transmitted diseases they caught from the dirty instruments.
Some patients never experienced the curettes, because workers had given them a heavy dose of Cytotec instead. The drug, which sped up contractions and made them more excruciating, usually "left abortion patients cramping and in pain before spontaneously aborting on the floor and in toilets," Lewis recounted. Later, some of those same remains would be washed down a drain and ground in the garbage disposal. These are the harrowing stories the defense will have to overcome, starting next Monday when an attorney will try to repair the damage done by gruesome photographs and eye-witness accounts.
And while the prosecution rests--the pro-life forces in other states refuse to. Spurred on by what many have heard or read about the clinic, leaders are moving at a frantic pace to stop the Gosnells in their states from preying on future victims. State house after state house made news this week by putting tighter protections in place for vulnerable mothers and children. Ensuring his state's place in the pro-life elite, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) signed his name to a measure that would ban abortions at the moment--20 weeks--when unborn children can suffer pain.
In Florida, the legislature raced into action, voting unanimously to stop monsters like Gosnell from murdering babies born alive. With stunning support, 119-0, the bill (HR 1129) now heads to the Florida Senate. And the Sunshine State wasn't done yet. It followed up the vote by pushing a measure out of the House that would make it a separate crime to kill an unborn child along with its pregnant mother. Under this proposal, the term "unborn child" would include babies at any stage of development (unlike the current law, which only charges people with a separate crime if the child is far enough along to survive outside the womb.) Another bill on the fast track would not only ban sex- or race-selection abortion, but make it a third-degree felony.
The Buckeye state also got moving on a full slate of pro-life bills, including a new budget proposal that would defund Planned Parenthood and redirect that money to pregnancy resource centers (which, unlike Cecile Richards's group, can be trusted with taxpayer funds). Equally impressive, Ohio is also pushing forward on a sex education amendment that encourages the abstinence-only approach and bans any liberal sex ed that condones or advocates for "any gateway sexual activity or experiment." Teachers would also be barred from handing out condoms or partnering with organizations like Planned Parenthood who promote risky sexual activity.
No piece of legislation can bring Gosnell's victims back to life. But for all of the unspeakable evils he committed, we can resolve one thing: to honor those who died by doing everything in our power to stop it from happening again.
Doubting Thomas: House Frowns on Labor Pick
The House of Representatives doesn't confirm the President's Cabinet--and that's a shame because they seem to have a better grasp of the problems surrounding the latest nominee. At what could have been an explosive confirmation hearing yesterday, only a few conservative senators asked hard questions of Thomas Perez, the controversial pick for Secretary of Labor.
Accused of serial lying and cover-ups, Perez was the subject--not just of a House probe--but a scathing Inspector General report. The current head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, Perez was pushed about a secret deal he made in St. Paul, Minnesota that advanced his personal political agenda at the expense of millions of taxpayer dollars. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the ranking Republican on the committee, said Perez's record in his current capacity showed "an extraordinary amount of wheeling and dealing outside the normal responsibilities of the assistant attorney general for civil rights."
In an unusual step, at least 40 members of the House took the initiative to outline Perez's wrongdoing in a letter to the Senate urging wider opposition. "Mr. Perez has used his position to pursue frivolous lawsuits that have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars," the Republicans write, highlighting his persecution of peaceful pro-life protestors and sidewalk counselors. In one case, the federal judge who dismissed the case called Perez's charges "negligent, and perhaps grossly negligent."
More recently, the Inspector General of the DOJ issued "a highly critical review of the [Division] under Mr. Perez's control," the letter states. "Prior to becoming an Assistant Attorney General," they explain, "Mr. Perez worked for Casa de Maryland, which trains illegal aliens on ways to avoid capture..." For these and plenty of other reasons outlined in FRC's backgrounder, they urge the GOP to join Sens. David Vitter and Lindsey Graham in opposing Perez's nomination.
If Senate Republicans took the warning seriously, they certainly didn't show it with their softball questions yesterday. Their timidity was so surprising that the Wall Street Journal devotes an entire article to it. "[O]ur sources say Republicans are unlikely to ask more than a few tepid questions of the Labor nominee. They don't want to be seen opposing someone with a Spanish surname. That speaks volumes about Washington's current political standards," the editors say, "because Mr. Perez has more or less admitted that he deep-sixed a Supreme Court case to further his political agenda." Not to mention, they point out, that plenty of people have thrown "considerable doubt on Mr. Perez's honesty, which ought to matter in a Cabinet officer."
Senate conservatives may not listen to the House, but they will listen to voters. Make your voice heard on Thomas Perez by contacting your Senators and encourage them to vote NO on the President's pick!
Saint Louie: Rep. Gohmert Steps up Pressure on SPLC
One Republican who isn't afraid to speak his mind? Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who took to the House floor yesterday to condemn the actions of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in misdirecting law enforcers from the real culprits in the murders of local Texas officials. The Obama administration, Rep. Gohmert explained, has helped give SPLC a special level of "credibility, when they do not deserve credibility, because of the pain and suffering the organization caused." He devoted his time on the floor to educating America on the real agenda of SPLC, which is to fear-monger its way into people's wallets and raise money on claims that have no root in reality.
"It was the Southern Poverty Law Center," Louie told the C-SPAN audience, "that claimed Family Research Council was a 'hate group, stirred up animosity against them that eventually played a role, as we found out later, [in the shooting at their headquarters]. No one wanted to jump to conclusions, but it was very clear that their branding the Family Research Council as being hateful simply because they held religious beliefs protected by a Constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman, the Southern Poverty Law Center stirred up animosity, and rage... And on the fateful day, not so long ago, a gunman came to the Family Research Council with a bunch of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a gun and--but for the valiant work of the man that stopped him and got shot in the process--there could well have been 15 dead Family Research Council employees with 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches beside them."
The Genesis of a Great Event...
This July 22-26, I'll be joining my friend Ken Ham, the world's leading spokesman on biblical accuracy, at his Answers Mega Conference near the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Some of the topics to be discussed at the conference--which will feature several speakers from Ken's ministry of Answers in Genesis (which built the popular Creation Museum)--include the sanctity of marriage and life. Of course, the Smoky Mountains is a very family-friendly part of America, and so I encourage your family to join me at the conference. In fact, several hours of free time will be offered for the attendees to take family outings. Several children's programs are planned, including a special Vacation Bible School, plus sessions for teens. Visit www.AnswersMega.com for information about the conference and lodging options in the Smoky Mountains. This is very much a family conference--so I hope to see you there!
** After church on Sunday, tune in to Fox News at 12:40 p.m. (EDT) for my take on the Boston bombings and what role faith can play in the healing process.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.