Anyone who has stopped to listen to the description of the criminal charges against abortion practitioner Dr. Kermit Gosnell and is not totally repulsed is either amoral or completely numb. Of course, one could be excused, because until recently, no media outlet other than Fox News was giving any air time to the case, a subject of journalistic malpractice that has become all too commonplace.
This case is a vivid illustration of the corruption that has been enabled by the notorious Roe vs. Wade decision. It permeates every corner of our jurisprudence and our politics and, worse, it eats at our soul, because we can’t reconcile that horribly misguided ruling with the repugnance at the practice that it sustains, in spite of its violation of human dignity.
The best commentary on this case comes from Leon Kass in a Wall Street Journal interview entitled “The Meaning of the Gosnell Trial”. No surprise here. He was masterful in his chairmanship of President George W. Bush’s Council on Bioethics. It is at his suggestion that I use the word “repugnance”, the preferred reaction of Dr. Kass to the details of the Gosnell trial. This term reflects a kind of deep moral intuition, as “pain is to the body so repugnance is to the soul”, and he fears that Americans are becoming indifferent to this impulse.
He laments the tendency that we no longer see a child as a gift but as a product of our will to be had by choice only and that this makes human choice the basis of all value. And this tendency leads to “other things that are threats to human dignity in its fullness”, such as cloning and genetic engineering.
Methinks that Leon Kass is worth listening to and that we should also be attentive to those pangs of repugnance that are “written on the heart”.