For the American people, the last year has been characterized by a series of senseless tragedies, from multiple mass shootings to the chaotic events of the last month. The images from both the Boston marathon bombing and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas still flicker in our minds and on our television screens when we turn on the evening news. After being broadcasted over and over again, these traumatic and devastating events stay with us through a series of familiar images.
Yet there’s one tragedy that the media has kept out of the spotlight —the atrocious murders committed by Dr. Kermit Gosnell at his Philadelphia abortion clinic over a span of 30 years. During the current ongoing trial, Gosnell is being charged for the murder of four babies after they were born alive and a woman who was administered a deadly dosage of anesthesia. There are a handful of other charges, including 227 counts of “failing to counsel patients a day in advance” as well as several for the dreadful sanitary conditions at the clinic.
An article published this morning by Atlantic Weekly describes the case perfectly:
“The grand jury report in the case of Kermit Gosnell, 72, is among the most horrifying I’ve read. ‘This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors,’ it states. ‘The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.’”
After weeks of anti-abortion advocates complaining that the case wasn’t making front page news and was being pushed aside by most major news agencies, Anderson Cooper from CNN did an interview with filmmaker David Altrogge, who made a short documentary about Gosnell’s clinic called 3801 Lancaster. In the interview, after being asked why he thought mainstream media has disregarded the trial, Altrogge responded saying:
“I do think it’s because we’re uncomfortable talking about the issue of abortion, and unfortunately because we haven’t talked about it, these women and these babies are being forgotten. They’ve been quote on quote “blacked-out” and I think abortion has something to do with it.”
I’ll end this post with an observation I find extremely fascinating and yet terribly sad. Gosnell performed over a thousand abortions over a span of 30 years. In Pennsylvania, the cutoff for abortions is 24 weeks. Gosnell performed abortions at nearly all stages. Out of the countless human lives that were ended at Gosnell’s hands, these four babies (who were born and later murdered when their spinal cords were severed by surgical scissors) are the only ones whose humanity is being debated, while those killed in utero have not been considered persons, nor victims—or anything but a lump of cells for that matter. So this means that we decide when a child has the right to live or not—whether its 24 weeks, 30 weeks, or right before birth—based on a state law (since abortion laws differ from state to state). Apparently, life begins at different times for each state. No wonder this case is so complicated.
What is more disturbing? The fact that a state government chooses the span of time during which a child actually has the right to develop and enter this world, or Gosnell running an unsanitary and unprofessional clinic where four—just four babies were actually ‘murdered’?
On April 4th, CNN released a story of a young woman named Gul Meena. Like every other young girl, Gul had bright dreams of a beautiful, thriving and adventurous life. This dream ended when at the age of 12, Gul was forced into into a marriage with a 60 year old man. Not only did Gul enter into a marriage with a man who was five times her age, but, who was also an extremely abusive man. She was refused help from her family and friends. She admits to have attempted suicide several times. Five years into her marriage, Gul met a young Afghan man and in November 2012, she packed up a few of her belongings and the young couple made their way across the border into Afghanistan to the city of Jalalabad. Days into their trip, Gul’s older brother tracked the couple down. Armed with an ax, he proceeded to hack to death Gul’s boyfriend and cut open his sitter 15 times. Assuming that she was dead, Gul’s brother escaped back to Pakistan. Miraculously, Gul was taken to the Emergency Department of Nangarhar Regional Medical Centre by a passerby and survived the attack. Gul’s brother has not been caught and her family rejects the notion that Gul’s brother tried to kill her.
After two months in the hospital, Gul was transferred to the American-Afghan organization, Women for Afghan Women. Any story like Gul’s is extremely difficult to read and understand. The U.N. claims that 4,000 cases of violence of violence, like Gul’s, were reported to the Afghan Ministry for Women between 2010 to 2012. There are 14 women’s shelters in Afghanistan-only 14 shelters for thousands of acts of violence. At 2014, funding towards these shelters are most likely to end, due to international forces pulling out of Afghanistan.
I have been following the U.N.’s activities for months and years now. Without a doubt, when most people speak within the U.N. on “women’s health” or “women’s rights”, the discussion instantly turns to “reproductive health”. My question to the U.N. community, is how is giving a condom or an abortion to women like Gul going to improve their situation? Should we not place our focus on education and rescue missions to save young girls in these young marriages?
In a CNN interview, Basij-Rasikh, a young Afghan women who recently graduated from Middlebury College, stated that behind every successful woman was a man who believed in her dreams. Distributing condoms, which increases the mentality of promiscuous and violent behavior for men, does nothing to encourage men within the Afghan community to believe in the worth of their fellow women. The U.N. needs to seriously refocus their attention on how they approach the well being of women around the world to include both the practical encouragement of both men and women to live peaceful and whole lives without violence or condemnation.
Here is Gul’s article and Basij-Rasikh’s interview:
Over the last few weeks I think we’ve all noticed a new trend taking over our Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds; that is, the famous white equal sign on a red background. Actually, it varies. I’ve seen bacon strips equal signs, two sticks of butter, and basically anything else that helps prove their point. They want marriage equality for homosexuals, and they want it now.
Although I say this, my intention for this blog post is not to discuss gay marriage in America and why it should or shouldn’t be legalized. I’m sure there are many other blogs, articles, papers that have or are conducting lively discussions regarding the topic. What I want to say is that this whole social media phenomenon really made me think about what serious inequalities exist in today’s world.
As I kept scrolling, I found this picture:
Beneath the picture, this was written:
If most of my Facebook friends are going to support people who are gay by posting the red equal sign, I am going to post two feet, the feet represent the millions who never get to breathe the air of this world, who never feel love let alone get married, those who never have the chance to have children or go to school or do anything many gays are afforded the privilege to do. They are never given this chance because a human decides that their life is unimportant because of a defect or coming at an inopportune time for the person who conceived them. This is for the millions of children aborted yearly. Talk about rights being denied.
As a person—not just as some ‘pro-life blogger’— I believe the most fundamental right in question today is the right to life. I don’t know, maybe I say this because I’m American and I know the First Amendment—my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—like my ABC’s. Yet, growing up as the third of eight children, it means more than something written on parchment 229 years ago by our founding fathers. I’ve seen how every child in my family was welcomed with open arms, and each of my siblings has their own personality, problems, talents, accomplishments, and we all share the same need to feel loved. I think that life—in all its difficulties, joys, and confusion—is the one right that no mother, government, agency, or clinic should ever have the right to take from any living person, at any stage, from conception until natural death.
It’s true that some children aren’t welcomed the way my siblings and I were; however, I think what is permeating our society and popular thought is the solution of death. The person disappears and is no longer a problem and a burden. Left out of so many human rights discussion at the UN and at Planned Parenthood International, and cut off from their source of life because they were despised before they were ever loved; the unborn are a marginalized population who are denied of their most fundamental right. What is scary is that many of the same people that want the legalization of same sex marriage are those that endorse the right for a woman to abort her child.
During the second week of this year’s 57th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations, I was fortunate enough to attend a few parallel events that concerned the topic of sexual and reproductive health. While most events were pretty gung-ho for international policies that include sexual and reproductive rights and services (which they argue will help prevent violence against women and girls), I did manage to find one pro-life event. After a frustrating twenty minute walk in the rain, by surprise I came upon a discussion panel held by Family Watch International, a pro-life group that follows UN debates on family and life.
The discussion was led by panelists Sharon Slater, president of Family Watch International, Dr. Miriam Grossman, a medical doctor with training in pediatrics and in the specialty of child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry and also an expert on the sexual education programs promoted by the UN, and Floyd Godfrey, a licensed professional counselor. They spoke about controversial sex education initiatives, unwanted homosexual attraction, and the health risks caused by protected sex that nobody ever mentions.
Dr. Grossman, in particular, was very informative on the subject of sexual and reproductive health. On her website blog, she says something very important about the sexual and reproductive health initiatives so many countries are ignorantly pushing:
“The priority of Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) is sexual rights and sexual freedom, not sexual health. And in societies where sexual freedom reigns, women pay the highest price.”
Grossman goes on to explain that the U.S. and other first world countries put pressure on the international community, especially underdeveloped countries, to install these sexual and reproductive health agendas that will provide contraceptives and access to abortion services for millions of people.
“UN agencies like UNICEF, along with Western governments (including our State Department) put intense pressure on underdeveloped countries to accept these social agendas, or risk losing our desperately needed aid.”
During the discussion panel, Dr. Grossman and Sharon Slater spoke about how this obsession with contraception is actually part of a huge money-making scheme. They explained that by providing this controversial sex education to children from a very young age, they become ‘sexualized’. In other words, the children are taught about their reproductive systems, about the pleasures of sex, and how to do it ‘safely’. This then creates a ‘need’ for contraception and access to abortion in these countries, resulting in governments being pressured to fund the sexual and reproductive services with money that should be going to other expenses, such as feed their starving populations, basic sanitation, access to water, and fighting the spread of diseases like malaria.
The serious danger with this obsession of sexual rights and freedom is that our world’s youth, those of today and of the future, are basically taught to indulge in promiscuous lifestyles, and from a very young age at that. Besides the moral dilemma this brings about, these youth are actually at more of a risk of contracting and transmitting infections because since it’s their ‘right’ and it means they’re ‘free’, they are likely to feel at liberty to engage sexually with as many partners as they want. Since condoms are not 100% effective and are not always available, the number of people exposed to infection is likely to increase even if they are used.
“It’s a child’s human right, they insist, to become sexually active at an early age, have multiple partners, and explore different lifestyles. It’s their right to have access to graphic information, contraceptives, and abortions without parental knowledge.”
It was refreshing to hear someone confront this issue with a medical point of view since most people tend to immediately believe the claims about ‘safe sex’ without questioning their accuracy or the intentions behind them.