TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014
Columnists

Jackson: Choosing life after Gosnell

By
Published:

At pregnancy centers like the one Cindy Partazana has overseen in New Port Richey the last four years, full-term deliveries are the endearing outcome of the relentless pursuit of gestational education.

In that respect, there is usefulness to the trial and convictions of Kermit Gosnell, who capitalized on our national schizophrenia regarding abortion to convert his West Philadelphia clinic into a slaughterhouse. If nothing else, Partazana, 37, notes, Gosnell’s high-profile horror story broadens acceptance of the argument that “every abortion murders a child.”

Beyond that, it falls to those performing crisis management at places such as the West Pasco Pregnancy Center, Oasis in Land O’ Lakes and Wesley Chapel, and the Pregnancy Care Center of Zephyrhills to help women in tight spots see beyond the idea that they’re being punished with a baby.

“We’re there,” Partazana says, “with information and education about how to make the choice toward life and still attain your original goals.”

Partazana tracked the trial at least “on a weekly basis” through Monday’s clarifying verdicts “simply for the fact that these sorts of atrocities didn’t happen just at (Gosnell’s) facility,” she says. “They’re happening across the country on a daily basis. He’s not just an outlier. The same heinous acts are going on all the time.”

We’re with Partazana that what went on in Gosnell’s abortion mill was atrocious and heinous. We’re not yet convinced his crimes are a nationwide epidemic, if only because the recordkeeping is hopelessly suspect.

Charmaine Yoest, head of Americans United for Life, cites a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study from 2010 showing infant deaths from “other perinatal conditions” as evidence that late-term babies are surviving abortions and subsequently being dispatched at an alarming rate. But because states lack uniform standards and the CDC doesn’t mandate born-alive reporting, even Americans United for Life concedes the number is, at best, problematic.

Precision on such matters is part of the “Infants Born Alive” bill that passed the Legislature without opposition last month and Gov. Rick Scott is eager to sign. So, presumably, we soon shall begin to better appreciate the nature of the problem, at least in Florida.

Fundamentally, however, whether Gosnell is unique to the trade is irrelevant. Far more important is what the gruesome courtroom testimony forced many of your neighbors at last to admit.

That decision — that “choice” — you’d like to leave to a woman and her doctor? Even the reluctant now must concede there is a third distinct human involved. Yeah, we’ve seen the billboards. Abortion stops a beating hear — hey, look! Steak ’n’ Shake, next exit!

Confronted with squirming, whimpering, helpless evidence of Kermit Gosnell’s serial butchery, though, our appetites vanish. The life within is something besides a parasitic extra spleen or appendix after all.

Instead, it’s an actual human person, according to a Philadelphia jury, entitled to all those rights Thomas Jefferson, writing in their town 237 years ago, spelled out in the Declaration of Independence — albeit with a caveat, one familiar to Realtors: It has to be in the right location.

For all the other trouble Gosnell stirred up for himself, his bright-line violation was killing babies who’d cleared the birth canal. Manage the execution within the close confines of the uterus and, as demonstrated by the longtime willful disinterest of Pennsylvania authorities, nobody much cares.

Imagine applying a locality-dependent standard to any other classification of humans. Here, you’re protected. Over there, not so much. We did that once. It took a Civil War to fix it.

Meanwhile, as grateful as she is for the grudging epiphanies triggered by Gosnell, for Partazana there is nothing novel about the truth of pre-birth life, and she has the technology to prove it.

The center’s 4D ultrasound machine establishes, in mesmerizing detail, clear evidence of human vitality at nearly the microscopic level. At five weeks, the heart pulses and limbs have begun to sprout. At 12 weeks, “It’s obviously a bouncing baby in its mother’s womb … where it should remain until God says it’s time to be born.”

Pasco’s crisis pregnancy centers stand ready to lay out the precious good news. In a post-Gosnell world, surely that becomes the more enticing alternative.


email: tjackson@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1851

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/TomJacksonTribune

Twitter: @tjacksonTBO

Comments