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Alejandro Navas García,, Professor of Sociology, University of Navarra, Spain

Much demagoguery and little respect for life

Wed, 22 May 2013 14:54:00 +0000 Published in Diari de Tarragona

Finally we have a full-fledged 'Gosnell case'. The major Anglo-Saxon media have not been able to remain silent any longer and have just echoed the judicial sentence condemning the Philadelphia abortionist. The jury found him guilty of the murder of three babies born after botched abortions, the involuntary manslaughter of a patient who died as a result of improperly administered anesthesia, and other misdemeanors. The prosecution is now seeking the death penalty.

This case is horrifying and would make even the most morbid horror movie scriptwriter cringe. I omit the details out of respect for the reader's sensitivity. Sensitivity is not exactly Gosnell's most characteristic character trait, as he specialized in late-term abortions: when he was about to break the spine of a thirty-week-old fetus - Baby A in the summary - 'Doctor' Gosnell joked that it was "so big it could walk to the bus stop on its own two feet.

The 'Gosnell case' met the conditions to interest, even excite, public opinion. The silence of the media establishment is striking, compensated by the effervescence of the social networks. If one enters his name in Google, more than 300 million entries appear. Once again, the Internet has taken the lead over the traditional media. This surprising disinterest is attributed to their majority alignment with thepro-choice position in the United States: better to remain silent than to air a case that could provide ammunition to the enemy. There was a fear, confirmed by the reality of these days, that such a terrible case could reopen the discussion abortion issue in less favorable terms. Forty years after Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States, some fifty million abortions have been performed in that country. Incidents like Gosnell's are not the best way to celebrate a round anniversary.

The Americans were barely recovering from the shock caused by Gosnell when they had to look into a second house of horrors: that of Ariel Castro, in Cleveland, where he held for more than ten years three young women who had previously been kidnapped. These women were victims of unimaginable abuse. The details that we are learning little by little leave us speechless to describe so much horror. For example, Castro repeatedly raped one of the girls, who on three occasions became pregnant. But he beat her so badly and starved her so badly that she lost the babies. As with Kermit Gosnell, the progressive knowledge of Ariel Castro's career outrages us. Even his own brothers, Pedro and Onil, distance themselves from him and demand the most severe punishment: "He is a monster, let him rot in jail".

Gosnell specialized in late-term birth abortions. He has been found guilty by the jury
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With Castro there has been no wall of silence: the media are deploying all their resources to ensure exhaustive coverage, with the only reservation, fortunately, of the respect due to the privacy of the victims and their families.

The prosecutor of Cleveland is rushing the legal possibilities and seeks to prosecute Ariel Castro for the most heinous crimes, in order to make the 'right' impression on the jury. He is going to charge him with three murders, i.e., he will consider the fetuses aborted by his victim as persons in the legal sense and ask for the death penalty. I understand the prosecutor - although I am opposed to the maximum penalty - but I note a certain inconsistency in his allusion to the character staff of these fetuses. The status staff has not been granted to the fifty million fetuses aborted in the United States in the last forty years. From the point of view of the fetus and its severed human destiny, it makes no difference whether the abortion is performed by staff a bloodthirsty butcher like Kermit Gosnell or a depraved man like Ariel Castro. For the victims there is no difference between one and the other. The same thing should happen to us, but it does not seem to be so. If whoever acts is a criminal in the crosshairs of the prosecution and public opinion, we are dealing with murder. If the abortion is performed to reassure troubled parents (and to fatten the profit and loss account of the companies in the sector) and is carried out by staff respectable health professionals, we will speak of 'voluntary interruption of pregnancy', 'menstrual regulation', 'embryo reduction' or 'elimination of the product of conception'. We resort to euphemism to try to hide so much spilled blood.

There is much hypocrisy and demagogy here and little respect for the life of the conceived and unborn. According to convenience, we deny them or give them back the condition of a person: arrogance allied with cruelty. That is, arrogance and cruelty protected by law.