Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kermit Gosnell: A Man for Our Times

The story about Kermit Gosnell, the late-term abortion provider, arrested and charged with 8 counts of murder, is troubling, to say the least. Seven of those 8 counts of murder are children whom Gosnell delivered before snipping their spinal cords to kill them. The other is a woman who chose to end her unborn child's life, but who herself died under Gosnell's "care."

Gosnell is a man who embodies our Zeitgeist. When choice is the idol, who are we to restrict that choice to the first 6 months of pregnancy, or to the time that a child is living inside the womb? In what scarce media coverage Gosnell's case has received, the focus is usually on the deplorable conditions of his clinic and the fact that he aborted these children ex utero, not on whether (not when) it's okay to end a child's life.

At First Things, Elizabeth Scalia asks
So, allow me to ask the impolitic question I have hinted at elsewhere: in choosing to look away, in choosing to under-report, in choosing to spin, minimize, excuse, and move-along when it comes to Kermit Gosnell—and to this whole subject of under-regulated abortion clinics, the debasement of women and the slaughter of living children—how are the press and those they protect by their silence any better than the Catholic bishops who, in decades past, looked away, under-reported, spun, minimized, excused, moved-along, and protected the repulsive predator-priests who have stolen innocence and roiled the community of faith?
"Choice" is just a name given to the idol "me." It's a refusal to have any authority except one's self. It's little different from the child who protests, "You're not the boss of me." It's my body/life/time/whatever; I can do what I want with it.

That's why a man like Gosnell exists. He's a means to an end, a way to worship your self, a way to buck any authority that might tell you what to do with your body (or the body of the child growing within you). What's the solution?

In his book Republocrat, Carl Trueman reflects on the failure of politicians to solve the problem:

A number of thoughts come to mind when reflecting on the abortion debate. First, given the pro-life rhetoric, what is the actual Republican record on abortion like? Not very impressive. The Roe v. Wade ruling came down in 1973. Since that time, Republicans have enjoyed the lion's share of the presidency, and have also had periods of significant control of Congress. Yet, Roe still stands and rates of abortion are catastrophically high, to the extent that the pro-life movement is currently divided over the real pro-life credentials of a conservative president such as George W. Bust, now that he has left office (the rhetoric being somewhat less equivocal in 2000 and 2004). It seems clear that the democratic legislative path to erducing or even outlawing abortions is proving remarkably unfruitful, a fact that may connect to the complexity of getting legislation passed in the American system of checks and balances. Or, more cynically, this may be due to the fact that a majority of Americans are, sadly, in favor of abortion and politicians need their votes to get elected.

Maybe the solution is in the Church? Yes, but not is more and more opposition to abortion. Like having Republican leaders, having a strongly anti-abortion voice seems to have little effect. Why? Perhaps because most American Christians give license to Gosnell and the radical pro-choice movement by insisting that they must have some freedom to choose. In the mindset of contraception is the insistence that "You're not the boss of me," a stubborn refusal to submit to God's design for creation.

The solution is in repentance. Before she can proclaim "you're not the boss of you," the Church needs to acknowledge that for herself: "I'm not the boss of me. I have a Head; to Him I submit." Before Christians can resoundingly denounce Kermit Gosnell, they must altogether give up the freedom to choose. Anyone can call Gosnell a monster and a murderer, but only the Church can embrace the alternative; only she can extol God's gift of children and rejoice that He--not she--is free to choose when to give children.

1 comment:

Untamed Shrew said...

Amen. "In the mindset of contraception..." Yes. It IS a mindset. And our generation and those surrounding us--God bless us, every one!--don't really know how to escape that mindset. We were born under it; it's bred into us. And rebelling against it seems as foreign to most as choosing to go without a microwave.