Well, we hoped it would never come to this, but America is observing the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized the taking of innocent human life in the womb for any reason — or for no reason at all.
The numbers related to abortion are almost anesthetizing to the conscience of America. Since 1973, more than 55 million unborn babies have had their lives snuffed out.
These numbers are so mind-numbing that perhaps we in the pro-life movement may be forgiven if we occasionally forget what those numbers actually mean.
That’s why we occasionally need a reality check — such as a brand new documentary called “3801 Lancaster.” It’s available for free online, come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll link you to it. The title refers to the address of an abortion clinic in West Philadelphia that is the site of a scandal so horrific that it’s almost impossible to describe without tears.
The documentary, written and directed by David Altrogge, shows what happened at the so-called Women’s Medical Society over a period of 20 years. That clinic, run by a well-known doctor named Kermit Gosnell and situated in a rough neighborhood, catered to a mostly poor, minority clientele. The documentary shows how the facility, which looks run down on the outside, was a filthy house of horrors on the inside.
Yes, Dr. Gosnell specialized in late-term abortions, but that’s a rather antiseptic description compared with the grisly reality. Walls and beds were stained with blood. Jars were filled with what are gingerly called “fetal remains” — arms, legs, you get the idea. It gets worse, and I hate to be so graphic.
But Gosnell specialized in what he called “snipping” — which occurred when the baby Gosnell was trying to kill was nonetheless born alive. When that happened, the abortionist would “snip” the spine with a pair of scissors. Again, that sounds pretty clinical and straightforward, but the reality — again, that word — is far different.
“Snipping” a spine is not like “snipping” a piece of paper. It takes time and hard work. And it’s obviously painful to the baby. Gosnell is now in jail and awaiting trial for seven such “snippings,” although one of his “colleagues” may have performed up to a hundred of them.
Gosnell is also being charged with third-degree murder in connection with the death of a 41-year-old patient. One newspaper reported that “this was not a back-alley operation.” Gosnell and company, according to one Pennsylvania state senator, were allowed to “butcher babies, butcher women, and nobody did a [darn] thing about it.”
How, you might well ask, did authorities allow this carnage to go on for so many years? According to the grand jury report, the Pennsylvania state department of health, in order to remove “barriers” to abortion, had stopped inspecting abortion clinics. And no one cared anyway, because most of the women were poor and members of minority groups. In fact, “3801 Lancaster” makes it very clear that African-Americans and other minorities are specifically targeted by the abortion industry, making abortion one of the key civil rights issues of our time.
So while numbers are important, indeed inescapable, in the battle for human dignity, sometimes we and our neighbors have to see the naked evil and cruelty of abortion with our own eyes.
As hard as it will be, please watch “3801 Lancaster.” And then please spread the word about it. It’s that important.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
Publication date: January 22, 2013