The Gulag Gosnell

“Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Kermit Gosnell
Kermit Gosnell

Kermit Gosnell. The man is infamous now. Killing babies born alive by using scissors to snip their spinal cords will do that. In case you are unfamiliar with Mr. Gosnell, he is currently facing multiple counts of murder for killing babies born alive after botched abortions at his Philadelphia clinic. The details are horrific. I can’t even bring myself to repeat most of them. The images available in the grand jury report are stomach turning. The testimony by former staffers is gut-wrenching, heart-rending and nauseating. House of horrors does not even begin to describe it. There is something more sinister here. The darkness is deeper. The evil more palpable.

My son is almost 9 months old. I have not experienced a joy like this. And it only grows each day as he continues to do new things. I love my son with a love indescribable. And every time I look into his bright eyes these days, I can’t help but think of Kermit Gosnell. His mugshot haunts me. Every time I rub Callen’s head and neck, I think about Kermit Gosnell and how he would callously and coldly jam scissors into viable and underdeveloped babies’ necks, ending their lives. When I hear my son’s cries, I cannot help but think of the clinic staffer that testified she heard one of the babies scream “like a little alien” right before the neck was snipped. Kermit Gosnell disgusts me, and now I see him everywhere, tainting one of my highest joys. Surely I am not alone in this.

Solzhenitsyn opened the eyes of the West with “The Gulag Archipelago.” He exposed the Soviet gulag for the grotesque evil that it was. What was interesting about Solzhenitsyn is that he did not lay blame for the gulag at Stalin’s feet. Stalin only enlarged and built upon a foundation he inherited. No, the blame was laid at the feet of Vladimir Lenin. The Gulags were not a Stalinist aberration in the history of communist ideals. Rather, Solzhenitsyn argued the Gulags were the logical conclusion of the communist ideals. “Rulers change, the Archipelago remains. It remains because that particular political regime could not survive without it. If it disbanded the Archipelago, it would cease to exist.” Stalin’s gulags were no rogue stain on the otherwise beautiful tapestry of communism. Stalin’s gulags were the fullest expression of communism’s end. The gulag exposed communism for what it really is, a matted, ratty rug soaked in the blood and feces of its victims. As one can imagine, this caused a problem for those pushing communism in Europe and elsewhere. The Communists were just as wicked the Fascists. The published horrors of the gulags cleared away the fog of lies and made clear for everyone what had only been clear to the victims of the gulag: this should not happen.

The reaction by the pro-abortion crowd to Gosnell has been fascinating and telling. Just like the communists in Europe were forced to distance themselves from the gulags, suddenly Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry finds itself in a similar position. First they tried to bury the story. But when the press was shamed into actually covering the trial and the details of Gosnell’s crimes emerged, a new strategy was hatched. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider who recently reported aborting 300,000+ babies during fiscal year 2012, decided to denounce Kermit Gosnell (strangely enough they won’t say specifically for what reason they denounce him). The line of argument coming from the pro-abortion crowd is that Gosnell has nothing to do with “safe, legal, abortion care.” That is exactly what an abortion supporter tweeted to me as I began talking about Gosnell on Twitter.

They have to say that. The disgust over Gosnell’s crimes is real. So Planned Parenthood and their ilk must say these things. They must distance themselves from Kermit Gosnell, lest they be condemned in the court of public opinion alongside him and the gravy train fueled by the blood of innocents cease to run. So they strain credulity and coherence and argue that Gosnell is a result of too much regulation of abortion. They only increase the volume of their madness by arguing that Roe exists to protect women from the Gosnells of the world (if you just furrowed your brow in disbelief, consider yourself among the seeing). They attempt to murder language and meaning by arguing that they are actually “pro-life” and that they protect “the sanctity of human life.”  I could go on, but I am out of shape and the mental gymnastics weary me.

The reality is that Kermit Gosnell is Planned Parenthood because they both do the same thing. They end the lives of infants. Whether a life is ended five minutes before birth in a sterile hospital facility with all the accouterments of modern medicine or five minutes after birth in rat-infested building in the slums of Philadelphia, with cat urine soaking the carpet and blood stains all over the table and the remains of infants long-killed frozen in gallon jug containers, makes no moral difference. A life was ended. They are morally equivalent and the site of the “procedure” is as meaningless as the timing. Either infanticide is morally evil and demands opposition or it is morally right and demands celebration. It really is that simple despite Big Abortion’s assertions to the contrary.

“Oh, it was stout, the wall of lies, it looked so secure, looked built to last forever—but a breach yawned, and news broke through. Only yesterday we had no camps, no Archipelago, and today there they were for the whole people, the whole world to see—prison camps!”

The wall of lies that protects abortion, like the one that protected the gulags in Solzhenitsyn’s day, may seem impregnable. But the Kermit Gosnell case just blew a hole in it and the truth is beginning to break through. Make no mistake about it, the ground is beginning to shift on abortion. Only yesterday, abortion was a private decision between a woman and her “doctor” (a term I use lightly). But now, for all of America to see, the result of that private decision is before our eyes. And what a grotesque sight it is.

Because of Gosnell, with our collective conscience awoken, we can’t look at our children in the same way. Every new life we celebrate will be a reminder of those snuffed out. We have seen the horror. We will be reminded of it continually. The question that lies before us now is, how now shall we live? Our knowledge demands action of us.

11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Proverbs 24:11-12, ESV)

For the person late to the party, these words will bring fear. I look at my life and wonder, “Have I done enough?” Enough. The reality is that none of us can do enough. Moloch’s disciples are a committed bunch. And we deceive ourselves if we think we can utterly defeat them. Even if we overturn Roe, Moloch will still feed on the blood of innocents, but only until the One proverbs points to comes. For Jesus is the only one who has done enough. “It is finished,” was his cry on the cross. And there, he paid the debt of all who would believe in him. He rescues those being taken away to spiritual death. He holds back those stumbling to the slaughter. I know this is true, for I was one. So if the Proverbs are about Jesus, then the point isn’t doing enough. It’s faithfully following Jesus and seeking to walk the path he walked, rescuing those taken away to death. The primary way we will do that is sharing the Gospel with people (1 Corinthians 6:9–11 is especially relevant here). If we do not care enough to save people from the second death of Hell, we have no credibility when it comes to arguments for life now.

Our actions regarding abortion will look different. We can’t all do the same things, but we can all pray. And that’s what I’d like to call you to do. Pray that abortion would go the way of slavery. Pray that Roe would be overturned. Pray that President Obama would repent of his support of abortion. Pray that Kermit Gosnell would repent of his murders and his racism. Pray that America would no longer forget God.

Kermit Gosnell has unwittingly revealed to America the complexity of horrors that is abortion on demand. Why has this happened? What Solzhenitsyn said of the gulags is no less true of abortion. May God have mercy on us.


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