Sohrab Ahmari | Leon Kass: The Meaning of the Gosnell Trial

The trial of Kermit Gosnell—a Philadelphia doctor charged in January 2011 with, among other things, murdering seven infants who survived abortions he performed—has been under way for a month. But it was only last week that the case was thrust into the national spotlight. Thanks to intense pressure from conservative critics of the media’s apparent lack of interest in the case, the rest of the country has now glimpsed some of what went on for years in Gosnell’s benignly named Women’s Medical Society.

Investigators who raided the clinic in 2010 saw “blood on the floor” and smelled “urine in the air,” according to the grand jury that indicted Gosnell. They also found “fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic—in bags, milk jugs, orange-juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers.” Members of Gosnell’s staff testified that the abortionist would deliver babies who had been gestating for as long as 30 weeks, far longer than the 24-week limit imposed by Pennsylvania law. Gosnell or staff members would gouge the infant’s neck with scissors to sever the spinal cord, according to the grand jury report. Gosnell referred to the method as “snipping.”

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