An online documentary, 3801 Lancaster, on the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was released this week. The documentary reveals the horrific acts of an abortion clinic that went far beyond the typical boundaries of law or reason. Gosnell repeatedly performed illegal third trimester abortions and silenced breathing infants with a clip of the spinal column, then stored the remains like Hannibal Lecter. What made matters worse was government agencies tasked with supervising such treatment centers turned a blind eye to the horror. An insightful comment, delivered by one of the prosecuting attorneys in the documentary, asked "How is it that we have more oversight in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania of women's hair salons and nail salons than we do over abortion clinics?"
The documentary, while decidely slanted in favor of the pro-life movement, reveals something disturbing about ourselves.
One of the problems in the abortion debate today is that both sides are screaming past one another. Neither side considers the other's point of view. Pro-life advocates often forget the trauma that can occur to a woman's body during pregnancy and how the government regulating a woman's use of her own body is a severe government intrusion akin to slavery. Likewise, the pro-choice movement often fails to consider that potentially they are taking away not only another life, but also the life-contingent right of liberty from the infant that they ironically seek to protect for the mother.
Few would argue that all humans deserve the same rights all other humans are entitled to; among them, most famously, are , life, liberty (choice), and the pursuit of happiness. No one would say with a serious face that a senior on a breathing device, though not able to live on his or her own, is not human, and therefore not entitled to all human rights. So the real question is when are we considered humans, and therefore entitled to each right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
This is the main point of contention. In pursuing this truth, pro-choice advocates defense slants toward the high priority of liberty of the mother, and pro-life advocates zealously defend the right, that all other rights hinge upon as precedent, life. So we shouldn't be surprised when the two sides defending such noble positions forget to consider the other's point of view.
In the case of Dr. Gosnell, our society did just that. We forgot to be honest with ourselves. We fail to defend something so simple and obvious to a living, breathing, viable, human being as their most basic right: life itself. People often oppose such hideous images as shown in the documentary on the stance that such images unnaturally slant the debate. I would ask them, in a society that pursues truth, why are we so willfully blind?
You can view the 20 minute documentary below: