Text: Text: 2 Chron 7:11-22
Summary: It is time for the people of God in America and around the world to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek the face of God, and to wait for God to convict us of our sins personally and as a nation. If we meet these conditions, God promises to hear from heaven, to forgive our sins, and to heal our land.
Preacher: Pastor Ray
Text: 1 Kings 19:1-4, 10, 14-18
John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah and prepared the way for Jesus. As we prepare for Jesus’ return, we need that same spirit of Elijah and we must repent, pray for courage, and wait for a word from the Lord.
Main thesis: Sin makes us crave darkness, produces ignorance and causes us to pursue self-glory while the gospel shines light, illumines minds and frees us to pursue the glory of God.
I want you to be able to walk away from this sermon with this one line. Sin does 3 things and the gospel does 3 things. [SLOWLY] Sin 1) makes us crave darkness, sin 2) produces ignorance and sin 3) causes us to pursue self-glory. While the gospel 1) shines light, the gospel 2) illumines minds and the gospel 3) frees us to pursue the glory of God. Before we unpack this thesis statement, I want to provide some introductory comments.
1) First, sin makes us crave darkness.
2 Cor 4
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up. 2 Instead, we have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God’s message, but commending ourselves to every person’s conscience in God’s sight by an open display of the truth.
In these 2 verses, there is mention of shameful things, things done in secret, and deceit. All of these–shameful things, things done in secret, and deceit–are forms of darkness. I don’t think you have to be convinced by me or take my word for it when I say that the world is dark and is continuing to get darker by the day. On a small scale, if you haven’t heard of the name, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, then I invite you to google his name, not right now please, but later on tonight and you will be horrified by the evil that went on at an abortion clinic in Philadelphia since its opening in 1979. I would give you some of the details now, but because we have kids here in the service, it wouldn’t be appropriate. It is shocking to hear about the evil of one man in this country, which is still considered a Christian nation.
There is darkness on a small scale and there is darkness on a much larger scale. The Chinese government recently admitted that over the last four decades, the country has aborted 336 million unborn children, many of them forcibly. This is due to their One Child Policy. You want to guess which gender most of those abortions were? 336 million babies murdered.
To put the numbers in perspective, the 336 million deaths in China are more than the entire population of the world at the time of the Crusades (1100 AD). 336 million is equal to the entire combined populations of the United States and Australia right now. 336 million is more than all the people killed in the 10 ten deadliest wars in human history, which include World War I and II. 336 million is more than all the children that will be born in the entire world over the next ten years.
When you hear about what Dr. Kermit Gosnell did for which he is on trial right now, or what China did regarding a single moral issue–abortion–it is inconceivable for me that you can conclude that the world is fine, or that we are getting better as a human race over time, or that with the advances of science and knowledge, we are becoming more civilized and less barbaric. I just see darkness. And darker days are coming.
If there is no God and there is no absolute morality and there is no such thing as right or wrong, then we are free to do whatever we want. If Dr. Gosnell wants to use scissors on a baby that has reached full term, then who are we to judge? If China aborts 336 million babies, that’s their prerogative. Not true. No matter what position you hold about abortion, you cannot read the accounts of Dr. Gosnell without wincing. Without a righteous anger being stirred. Something in us wells up, this must stop. Evil must be stopped. Why is there so much darkness in the world?
When it comes to actual life and death and an actual person, relativism as a worldview or as a philosophy simply doesn’t work. It’s a nice concept–do what’s good for you and I’ll do what’s good for me. Relativism doesn’t work in our day to day ethical lives when real people are involved. Because we know deep down inside, killing babies is wrong.
There is right and wrong. There is such a thing as absolute morality because it comes from a God who created a moral universe with absolute moral standards. He didn’t create a universe willy nilly and it’s fine, do whatever seems right to you. There is an absolute standard of right and wrong and so we must answer to the One who established that standard.
Sin causes us to crave darkness, secrecy and deceit. Because we are ashamed of sin. What did Adam and Eve do when they had sinned against God? They hid. Sin causes you to hide because you’re either afraid of the consequences or ashamed and so you hide in order to preserve your image before others.
Where does this darkness come from? Joseph Conrad, wrote a novel entitled, Heart of Darkness, and in it, he explores the relationship between the “savages” and the civilized Europeans who came to colonize the “uncivilized.” But through the process of colonization, Charles Marlow, the main character sees the savagery, not in the other, but the savagery and darkness in his own heart and his peers. The darkness stemming from a corrupt heart came forth in the form of racism and imperialism and pride and brutality toward others. And it dawns on Marlow that our hearts are the source of darkness.
We might not be killing babies to make a living, but all of us have things in our private lives that we want to keep under wraps. In secret. In darkness. We know some of the things we do are shameful so we need to keep up the act. On the outside, we seem to be good, decent people. We are cultured, civilized. We don’t think we are barbaric. But you know, there are secret and shameful things that are enslaving you and me, either in deed or in thought.
When that happens and there is a disconnect between our internal and our external, we call this a lack of integrity or wholeness. When the inside and the outside don’t match, this is a sign that the gospel hasn’t penetrated deep enough. Thus, we walk in deceit because we have to keep the shameful things hidden and only project the positive things about us. Sin makes us crave darkness.
2) Second, sin produces ignorance.
2 Cor 4
3 But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
When the world is dark and we stay in darkness long enough, our eyes adjust. That’s why it’s painful when we are deep in sleep and somebody suddenly turns on the lights. We become accustomed to darkness. What ought to be obviously dark becomes normal. Everyone’s doing it. What so bad about that? You’re such a prude. You got to live a little. What’s right for you may not be right for me. Don’t impose your standards on me. Christianity, the gospel, Jesus Christ–to you, it might seem like a treasure. But for me, I got other things to pursue.
How come some people can recognize the glory of God in the face of Christ and others can ignore it? Sin makes us crave darkness and the god of this age, or Satan, will do everything in his power to keep you in darkness. To a Christian, the gospel is glorious, Jesus is the glorious Son of God who created you and me and the whole universe. But to a non-Christian, their reaction is, Jesus, who’s he, what’s the big deal? He’s just a teacher. Christianity is just a religion. It’s okay if you want to go to church because at least you can learn some good moral lessons so that you can treat others better. But I don’t know why some Christians seem like such fanatics. The god of this age has blinded that unbeliever’s mind so that he or she cannot perceive the greatness of the gospel message.
Notice that Satan’s strategy is to keep a veil over and to blind our minds. Why the mind? It’s because the Achilles’ heel of man is his mind. Eve fell into sin when she was deceived in her mind. And at the core of Satan’s deception was an appeal ultimately to her pride. Satan tells Eve, God knows that when you eat of the fruit of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. See! God is holding out. He wants to keep you low and in your place. Don’t you want to become like God? The temptation came through the mind and appealed to human pride.
The mind is the Achilles heel of man because we are so prone to pride. Pride, if you think about it, involves our minds because when our minds get filled with all kinds of knowledge, we get puffed up. Our minds become like inflated balloons. We become proud. And because we think we know more, we think we are better than others. When we become gods in our own eyes, when we are the ultimate end and arbiter and judge, the Bible says, we have become truly ignorant.
Plato in his work, The Republic of Plato, discusses knowledge and he uses the famous analogy of slaves chained and confined in a cave. The only light is a vague light that comes from a fire behind them and an opening above. The light reflects shadows on the sides of the walls of the cave. Thus, the slaves can only see dim reflections and vague outlines. They don’t have a clear view of reality. Shadows dance on the walls of the caves. He calls these shadows–Opinion. I am not sure what that object is because I can’t see it clearly enough. I think it’s rock. I have an opinion. You might think it’s an old loaf of bread that has turned rock-like. You have your opinion. To acquire true knowledge, the slaves need to get out of the cave and into the noonday sun. There, he can finally see things as they are. Only in the presence of light can you have true knowledge. Otherwise, all you have is vague approximations. Opinions.
Here is a disturbing article by Conor Friedersdorf. Please sit down and pray before reading on.
Please note: This post contains graphic descriptions and imagery.
The dead babies. The exploited women. The racism. The numerous governmental failures. It is thoroughly newsworthy.
A procedure room at the Women’s Medical Society. / Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office
The grand jury report in the case of Kermit Gosnell, 72, is among the most horrifying I’ve read. “This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors,” it states. “The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.”
Charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, Gosnell is now standing trial in a Philadelphia courtroom. An NBC affiliate’s coverage includes testimony as grisly as you’d expect. “An unlicensed medical school graduate delivered graphic testimony about the chaos at a Philadelphia clinic where he helped perform late-term abortions,” the channel reports. “Stephen Massof described how he snipped the spinal cords of babies, calling it, ‘literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.’ He testified that at times, when women were given medicine to speed up their deliveries, ‘it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place.'”
One former employee described hearing a baby screaming after it was delivered during an abortion procedure. “I can’t describe it. It sounded like a little alien,” she testified. Said the Philadelphia Inquirer in its coverage, “Prosecutors have cited the dozens of jars of severed baby feet as an example of Gosnell’s idiosyncratic and illegal practice of providing abortions for cash to poor women pregnant longer than the 24-week cutoff for legal abortions in Pennsylvania.”
Until Thursday, I wasn’t aware of this story. It has generated sparse coverage in the national media, and while it’s been mentioned in RSS feeds to which I subscribe, I skip past most news items. I still consume a tremendous amount of journalism. Yet had I been asked at a trivia night about the identity of Kermit Gosnell, I would’ve been stumped and helplessly guessed a green Muppet. Then I saw Kirsten Power’s USA Today column. She makes a powerful, persuasive case that the Gosnell trial ought to be getting a lot more attention in the national press than it is getting.
The media criticism angle interests me. But I agree that the story has been undercovered, and I happen to be a working journalist, so I’ll begin by telling the rest of the story for its own sake. Only then will I explain why I think it deserves more coverage than it has gotten, although it ought to be self-evident by the time I’m done distilling the grand jury’s allegations. Grand juries aren’t infallible. This version of events hasn’t been proven in a court of law. But journalists routinely treat accounts given by police, prosecutors and grand juries as at least plausible if not proven. Try to decide, as you hear the state’s side of the case, whether you think it is credible, and if so, whether the possibility that some or all this happened demands massive journalistic scrutiny.
On February 18, 2010, the FBI raided the “Women’s Medical Society,” entering its offices about 8:30 p.m. Agents expected to find evidence that it was illegally selling prescription drugs. On entering, they quickly realized something else was amiss. In the grand jury report’s telling, “There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets. All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff.” Authorities had also learned about the patient that died at the facility several months prior.
Public health officials inspected the surgery rooms. “Instruments were not sterile,” the grand jury states. “Equipment was rusty and outdated. Oxygen equipment was covered with dust, and had not been inspected. The same corroded suction tubing used for abortions was the only tubing available for oral airways if assistance for breathing was needed. There was no functioning resuscitation or even monitoring equipment, except for a single blood pressure cuff.” Upon further inspection, “the search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic – in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers.”
And “Gosnell admitted to Detective Wood that at least 10 to 20 percent of the fetuses were probably older than 24 weeks in gestation – even though Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks. In some instances, surgical incisions had been made at the base of the fetal skulls.” Gosnell’s medical license was quickly suspended. 18 days later, The Department of Health filed papers to start the process of closing the clinic. The district attorney submitted the case to the grand jury on May 4, 2010. Testimony was taken from 58 witnesses. Evidence was examined.
In Pennsylvania, most doctors won’t perform abortions after the 20th week, many for health reasons, others for moral reasons. Abortions after 24 weeks are illegal. Until 2009, Gosnell reportedly performed mostly first and second trimester abortions. But his clinic had come to develop a bad reputation, and could attract only women who couldn’t get an abortion elsewhere, former employees have said. “Steven Massof estimated that in 40 percent of the second-trimester abortions performed by Gosnell, the fetuses were beyond 24 weeks gestational age,” the grand jury states. “Latosha Lewis testified that Gosnell performed procedures over 24 weeks ‘too much to count,’ and ones up to 26 weeks ‘very often.’ …in the last few years, she testified, Gosnell increasingly saw out-of-state referrals, which were all second-trimester, or beyond. By these estimates, Gosnell performed at least four or five illegal abortions every week.”
The grand jury report includes an image of a particularly extreme case (the caption is theirs, not mine):
That photo pertains to an unusual case, in that the mother had to seek help at a hospital after the abortion she sought at Gosnell’s office went awry. The grand jury report summarizes a more typical late-term abortion, as conducted at the clinic, concluding with the following passage:
When you perform late-term “abortions” by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies. By 24 weeks, most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care. But that was not what the Women’s Medical Society was about. Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them. He didn’t call it that. He called it “ensuring fetal demise.” The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that “snipping.”
Over the years, there were hundreds of “snippings.” Sometimes, if Gosnell was unavailable, the “snipping” was done by one of his fake doctors, or even by one of the administrative staff.
But all the employees of the Women’s Medical Society knew. Everyone there acted as if it wasn’t murder at all. Most of these acts cannot be prosecuted, because Gosnell destroyed the files. Among the relatively few cases that could be specifically documented, one was Baby Boy A. His 17-year-old mother was almost 30 weeks pregnant — seven and a half months — when labor was induced. An employee estimated his birth weight as approaching six pounds. He was breathing and moving when Gosnell severed his spine and put the body in a plastic shoebox for disposal. The doctor joked that this baby was so big he could “walk me to the bus stop.” Another, Baby Boy B, whose body was found at the clinic frozen in a one-gallon spring-water bottle, was at least 28 weeks of gestational age when he was killed. Baby C was moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an assistant came in and cut the spinal cord, just the way she had seen Gosnell do it so many times. And these were not even the worst cases.
Abuse of Women Patients
What little media coverage there’s been in the case has understandably focused on the murder allegations. The grand jury report also makes clear how horrific Women’s Medical Society was for the patients.
The unsanitary conditions were just the beginning.
One woman “was left lying in place for hours after Gosnell tore her cervix and colon while trying, unsuccessfully, to extract the fetus,” the report states. Another patient, 19, “was held for several hours after Gosnell punctured her uterus. As a result of the delay, she fell into shock from blood loss, and had to undergo a hysterectomy.” A third patient “went into convulsions during an abortion, fell off the procedure table, and hit her head on the floor. Gosnell wouldn’t call an ambulance, and wouldn’t let the woman’s companion leave the building so that he could call an ambulance.”
Often times, women given drugs to induce labor delivered before the doctor even arrived at work.
Said one former employee:
If… a baby was about to come out, I would take the woman to the bathroom, they would sit on the toilet and basically the baby would fall out and it would be in the toilet and I would be rubbing her back and trying to calm her down for two, three, four hours until Dr. Gosnell comes.
She would not move.
One patient died:
She was a 41-year-old, refugee who had recently come to the United States from a resettlement camp in Nepal. When she arrived at the clinic, Gosnell, as usual, was not there. Office workers had her sign various forms that she could not read, and then began doping her up. She received repeated unmonitored, unrecorded intravenous injections of Demerol, a sedative seldom used in recent years because of its dangers. Gosnell liked it because it was cheap. After several hours, Mrs. Mongar simply stopped breathing. When employees finally noticed, Gosnell was called in and briefl y attempted to give CPR. He couldn’t use the defibrillator (it was broken); nor did he administer emergency medications that might have restarted her heart. After further crucial delay, paramedics finally arrived, but Mrs.Mongar was probably brain dead before they were even called. In the meantime, the clinic staff hooked up machinery and rearranged her body to make it look like they had been in the midst of a routine, safe abortion procedure.
Even then, there might have been some slim hope of reviving Mrs. Mongar. The paramedics were able to generate a weak pulse. But, because of the cluttered hallways and the padlocked emergency door, it took them over twenty minutes just to find a way to get her out of the building. Doctors at the hospital managed to keep her heart beating, but they never knew what they were trying to treat, because Gosnell and his staff lied about how much anesthesia they had given, and who had given it. By that point, there was no way to restore any neurological activity. Life support was removed the next day. Karnamaya Mongar was pronounced dead.
Another provocative detail: A former employee testified “that white patients often did not have to wait in the same dirty rooms as black and Asian clients. Instead, Gosnell would escort them up the back steps to the only clean office — O’Neill’s — and he would turn on the TV for them. Mrs. Mongar, she said, would have been treated ‘no different from the rest of the Africans and Asians.'”
Said the employee:
Like if a girl — the black population was — African population was big here. So he didn’t mind you medicating your African American girls, your Indian girl, but if you had a white girl from the suburbs, oh, you better not medicate her. You better wait until he go in and talk to her first. And one day I said something to him and he was like, that’s the way of the world. Huh?
And he brushed it off and that was it.
Anesthesia was frequently dispensed by employees who were neither legally permitted nor trained to do it, including a 15-year-old high school student who worked at the clinic, the report states.
Most employees did as they were told, but one objected:
Marcella Stanley Choung, who told us that her “training” for anesthesia consisted of a 15-minute description by Gosnell and reading a chart he had posted in a cabinet. She was so uncomfortable medicating patients, she said, that she “didn’t sleep at night.” She knew that if she made even a small error, “I can kill this lady, and I’m not jail material.” One night in 2002, when she found herself alone with 15 patients, she refused Gosnell’s directives to medicate them. She made an excuse, went to her car, and drove away, never to return. Choung immediately filed a complaint with the Department of State, but the department never acted on it.
The Failure to Stop It
That brings us to a subject you’ve perhaps been wondering about: How on earth did this go on for so long without anyone stopping it? The grand jury delved into that very question in their report. I’m going to excerpt it at length, because it bears directly on the question that will concern us afterward: has this story gotten an appropriate amount of attention from the news media?
Here is the grand jury on oversight failures:
Pennsylvania is not a third-world country. There were several oversight agencies
that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago. But none of them did…
The first line of defense was the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The department’s job is to audit hospitals and outpatient medical facilities, like Gosnell’s, to make sure that they follow the rules and provide safe care. The department had contact with the Women’s Medical Society dating back to 1979, when it first issued approval to open an abortion clinic. It did not conduct another site review until 1989, ten years later. Numerous violations were already apparent, but Gosnell got a pass when he promised to fix them. Site reviews in 1992 and 1993 also noted various violations, but again failed to ensure they were corrected.
But at least the department had been doing something up to that point, however ineffectual. After 1993, even that pro form a effort came to an end. Not because of administrative ennui, although there had been plenty. Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all… The only exception to this live-and-let-die policy was supposed to be for complaints dumped directly on the department’s doorstep. Those, at least, would be investigated. Except that there were complaints about Gosnell, repeatedly. Several different attorneys, representing women injured by Gosnell, contacted the department. A doctor from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia hand-delivered a complaint, advising the department that numerous patients he had referred for abortions came back from Gosnell with the same venereal disease. The medical examiner of Delaware County informed the department that Gosnell had performed an illegal abortion on a 14-year-old girl carrying a 30-week-old baby. And the department received official notice that a woman named Karnamaya Mongar had died at Gosnell’s hands.
Yet not one of these alarm bells — not even Mrs. Mongar’s death — prompted the department to look at Gosnell or the Women’s Medical Society… But even this total abdication by the Department of Health might not have been fatal. Another agency with authority in the health field, the Pennsylvania Department of State, could have stopped Gosnell single-handedly.
The Department of State, through its Board of Medicine, licenses and oversees individual physicians… Almost a decade ago, a former employee of Gosnell presented the Board of Medicine with a complaint that laid out the whole scope of his operation: the unclean, unsterile conditions; the unlicensed workers; the unsupervised sedation; the underage abortion patients; even the over-prescribing of pain pills with high resale value on the street. The department assigned an investigator, whose investigation consisted primarily of an offsite interview with Gosnell. The investigator never inspected the facility, questioned other employees, or reviewed any records. Department attorneys chose to accept this incomplete investigation, and dismissed the complaint as unconfirmed.
Shortly thereafter the department received an even more disturbing report — about a woman, years before Karnamaya Mongar, who died of sepsis after Gosnell perforated her uterus. The woman was 22 years old. A civil suit against Gosnell was settled for almost a million dollars, and the insurance company forwarded the information to the department. That report should have been all the confirmation needed for the complaint from the former employee that was already in the department’s possession. Instead, the department attorneys dismissed this complaint too… The same thing happened at least twice more: the department received complaints about lawsuits against Gosnell, but dismissed them as meaningless…
Philadelphia health department employees regularly visited the Women’s Medical Society to retrieve blood samples for testing purposes, but never noticed, or more likely never bothered to report, that anything was amiss. Another employee inspected the clinic in response to a complaint that dead fetuses were being stored in paper bags in the employees’ lunch refrigerator. The inspection confirmed numerous violations… But no follow-up was ever done… A health department representative also came to the clinic as part of a citywide vaccination program. She promptly discovered that Gosnell was scamming the program; she was the only employee, city or state, who actually tried to do something about the appalling things she saw there. By asking questions and poking around, she was able to file detailed reports identifying many of the most egregious elements of Gosnell’s practice. It should have been enough to stop him. But instead her reports went into a black hole, weeks before Karnamaya Mongar walked into the Woman’s Medical Society.
…And it wasn’t just government agencies that did nothing. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and its subsidiary, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, are in the same neighborhood as Gosnell’s office. State law requires hospitals to report complications from abortions. A decade ago, a Gosnell patient died at HUP after a botched abortion, and the hospital apparently filed the necessary report. But the victims kept coming in. At least three other Gosnell patients were brought to Penn facilities for emergency surgery; emergency room personnel said they have treated many others as well. And at least one additional woman was hospitalized there after Gosnell had begun a flagrantly illegal abortion of a 29-week-old fetus. Yet, other than the one initial report, Penn could find not a single case in which it complied with its legal duty to alert authorities to the danger. Not even when a second woman turned up virtually dead…
So too with the National Abortion Federation.
NAF is an association of abortion providers that upholds the strict est health and legal standards for its members. Gosnell, bizarrely, applied for admission shortly after Karnamaya Mongar’s death. Despite his various efforts to fool her, the evaluator from NAF readily noted that records were not properly kept, that risks were not explained, that patients were not monitored, that equipment was not available, that anesthesia was misused. It was the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected. Of course, she rejected Gosnell’s application. She just never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen.
The conclusion drawn at the end of the section is provocative. “Bureaucratic inertia is not exactly news. We understand that,” it states. “But we think this was something more. We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion.”
A Front-Page Story
Says Kirsten Powers in her USA Today op-ed, “Let me state the obvious. This should be front page news. When Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke, there was non-stop media hysteria. The venerable NBC Nightly News’ Brian Williamsintoned, ‘A firestorm of outrage from women after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh,’ as he teased a segment on the brouhaha. Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed — a major human rights story if there ever was one — doesn’t make the cut.”
Inducing live births and subsequently severing the heads of the babies is indeed a horrific story that merits significant attention. Strange as it seems to say it, however, that understates the case.
For this isn’t solely a story about babies having their heads severed, though it is that. It is also a story about a place where, according to the grand jury, women were sent to give birth into toilets; where a doctor casually spread gonorrhea and chlamydiae to unsuspecting women through the reuse of cheap, disposable instruments; an office where a 15-year-old administered anesthesia; an office where former workers admit to playing games when giving patients powerful narcotics; an office where white women were attended to by a doctor and black women were pawned off on clueless untrained staffers. Any single one of those things would itself make for a blockbuster news story. Is it even conceivable that an optometrist who attended to his white patients in a clean office while an intern took care of the black patients in a filthy room wouldn’t make national headlines?
But it isn’t even solely a story of a rogue clinic that’s awful in all sorts of sensational ways either. Multiple local and state agencies are implicated in an oversight failure that is epic in proportions! If I were a city editor for any Philadelphia newspaper the grand jury report would suggest a dozen major investigative projects I could undertake if I had the staff to support them. And I probably wouldn’t have the staff. But there is so much fodder for additional reporting.
There is, finally, the fact that abortion, one of the most hotly contested, polarizing debates in the country, is at the center of this case. It arguably informs the abortion debate in any number of ways, and has numerous plausible implications for abortion policy, including the oversight and regulation of clinics, the appropriateness of late-term abortions, the penalties for failing to report abuses, the statute of limitations for killings like those with which Gosnell is charged, whether staff should be legally culpable for the bad behavior of doctors under whom they work…
There’s just no end to it.
To sum up, this story has numerous elements any one of which would normally make it a major story. And setting aside conventions, which are flawed, thisought to be a big story on the merits.
The news value is undeniable.
Why isn’t it being covered more? I’ve got my theories. But rather than offer them at the end of an already lengthy item, I’d like to survey some of the editors and writers making coverage decisions.
Article posted on the Gospel Coalition website.
The Story: The Chinese government recently admitted that over the last four decades the country has aborted 336 million unborn children, many of them forcibly.
The Background: According to the Financial Times, on March 14 the Chinese Health Ministry reported the following statistics for its family planning practices since 1971:
— 336 million abortions performed;
— 196 million sterilizations conducted;
— 403 million intrauterine devices inserted.
China, the world’s most populous country, first instituted limits on population growth in 1971 and established its “one-child” population control program in 1979.
What It Means: The story has been shockingly underreported considering what China has admitted: Since 1971, the country has carried out the largest single slaughter of human beings in the history of the world.
To put the numbers in perspective, the 336 million deaths in China are:
• More than the entire population of the world at the time of the Crusades (c. 1100 AD).
• More deaths than were caused by (in millions): the Bubonic Plague in Europe (100), the Great Chinese Famine (45), the 1918 Influenza Pandemic (40), the HIV/AIDS pandemic (25), the Holocaust (13), the Soviet famine of 1932-1933 (8), the Russian famine of 1921 (3), and the American Civil War (.8).
• More than all the people killed in the 10 ten deadliest wars in human history (Based on highest estimates (in millions): World War II (72), World War I (65), Mongol Conquest (60), An Lushan Rebellion (36), Taiping Rebellion (30), Qing Dynasty conquest of the Ming Dynasty (25), Conquests of Timur (20), Dungan Revolt (12), Russian Civil War (9), Second Congo War (5.4))
• More than all the children that will be born in the world over the next ten years.
No comparisons, however, can truly help us to understand the scale of these 336 million deaths—and that is in a single country. The magnitude of the crime is incomprehensible to the human imagination. Only God can truly fathom the depths of this depravity and only God can truly apprehend the magnitude of this loss. May he have mercy on our world for what we have done.