Jurors in the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell meet for deliberations again today (Thursday) in Philadelphia. Gosnell is charged with murder for killing four babies and one woman in his abortion mill. The judge’s instructions to the jury: “He has to share the specific intent to kill.” Did Kermit Gosnell “intend” to kill people? This question is at the heart of the abortion debate. Does anyone involved in promoting “choice” in abortion “intend” that people be killed? Let’s examine this.
Did Kermit Gosnell “intend to kill” people?
Some would say that the answer to the question jurors are asked to consider in the Gosnell case depends on how one feels about abortion. A pro-“choice” person would say that these particular human beings, at least while they are still inside the womb, are not “persons,” so the answer is no. It is not “killing” at all, to them. Whenever these “non-persons” (under the law) are accidentally born and show signs of life, even the President of the United States believes it is too much of a “burden” (to the law) to treat them as persons. Why should we expect any other pro-“choice” person to disagree with that?
Indeed, why should we expect any abortionist, who is actively, daily involved in procedures to ensure that fetal heartbeats stop, to disagree with it? One second, the abortionist is dealing with “tissue” that must be destroyed, and the next second he is expected to treat this “tissue” as a human person with a right to life that is equivalent in its sacredness to his own right to life? That transformation from a cold and pitiless doctor to a compassionate and life-saving doctor is the real “burden” to the pro-“choice” person, I would argue.
Do abortionists ever “intend” to kill people?
The answer to this question depends less on what is going through his/her mind than it does on whether human life is itself objectively sacred. We have learned this lesson, I hope, from our societal experience in dealing with serial killers who have been convicted of killing born persons. In Wichita, for example, Dennis Rader, who referred to himself as the “BTK” killer, terrorized the community for decades. There is no dispute that he intended to kill people and that he lived a double life so that he was able to fool even his own family into believing he was incapable of murder. He did this through “compartmentalization” and through dehumanizing his victims by referring to them as “projects.”
Psychopaths do not feel emotions the way normal people do. Consequently, when their guard is down, they may say or do things that reveal their lack of concern for others and their absence of conscience. This was the case when Rader described his victims as “projects” and calmly explained how he selected a victim, gave the “project” a code name and then researched and stalked her until he found the right opportunity to attack.
Rader is a very accomplished psychopath: his ability to carry on two very different lives attests to it. “I was pretty cold. I shot from the hip very quickly,” he told Larry Hatteberg of KAKE-TV. “Very compartmentalized. I can wear many hats; I can switch gears very rapidly. I can become emotionally involved. Be cold at it.”
When we look at pictures of Rader’s victims, we can say that even though we don’t know anything about these people, they are persons who had the right to continue living. Their humanity is evident, therefore their personhood is evident. While the pro-“choice” activist insists on referring to unborn children as “fetuses” and on denying personhood, the pro-lifer knows better. To the pro-life person, all human life is sacred. Just as we know that Dennis Rader “intended to kill” even though he attempted to fool himself by referring to his victims as “projects,” we know that abortionists “intend to kill” persons inside (and sometimes outside) the womb even though they have hardened their hearts to objective reality. We know from the life of Dennis Rader, and many other serial killers, that “compartmentalization” allows serial killers to live double lives. Regardless of what they may do in other areas of their lives, like Dennis Rader, abortionists kill behind closed doors. They “intend to kill” because they intend to stop fetal heartbeats. Though they may convince themselves that these are not “persons” with sacred value, objectively, they are persons with sacred value. This is why Live Action’s projects of investigation that expose what goes on behind closed doors are so important in awakening people to the reality of abortion. Abortion is intentional killing. It is not self-defense. It is not an “accident.” It is willful, direct and intentional killing.
Kermit Gosnell has committed far more than five murders. He “intended to kill” far more than five people. He is a serial killer. All abortionists are serial killers. As such, they all belong in prison, just as assuredly as Dennis Rader belongs in prison.