NRL News

The Gosnell Murder Trial and an “uncivilized confusion”

by | May 24, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

"Baby Boy B," with slit neck.

“Baby Boy B,” with slit neck.

Equipped with a clever play on words (“Kermit Gosnell: Epiphany for Birthers?”), Professor John B. Londregan walks his readers through an exquisite argument for the protection of the unborn. In this context, “birthers” are those who have persuaded themselves that there is some mysterious transformation that makes what is perfectly legal—killing unborn children in the womb—into a crime—when that same baby is born alive ten minutes later and her spinal cord slit.

“It is past time we abandoned the “birther” myth that we are transformed magically through the process of birth from being tumorous growths within our mothers into fully human infants. The uncivilized confusion on the part of abortion advocates about whether newborns are fetuses or infants highlights the artificial nature of making birth the definition of humanity.”

The confusion Londregan alludes to was the habit—a reflex really—that showed up in many accounts of Gosnell’s murder trial: the babies who were aborted alive and then murdered were often labeled “fetuses.” Ironically, this was “unconsciously recognizing the continuity of life from one minute to the next, from the beginning to the end of the miracle of life.”

Like many observers, Prof. Londregan points to the powers of ultrasound to demystify:

“If any were then uncertain about the grisly shredding of a helpless human being that takes place in an abortion, that tatter of ambiguity has long since been rent asunder by the increased viability of people at earlier and earlier stages of gestation, by the clarity of in vivo tomography and ultrasound images, and by simple common sense.

“Would we tolerate a Supreme Court ruling that resulted in the killing of 1.1 million people every year, including disproportionately many girls and minority children? Would we shrug our shoulders and declare the question to be ‘above our pay grade’”? (an allusion to a comment then-candidate Obama made to a question from Rick Warren).

Londregan elaborates his basic point –“the artificial nature of making birth the definition of humanity”—with skill and insight. If you have a few minutes, be sure to go to

If you like, join those who are following me on Twitter at Please send your comments to

Categories: Abortion