The dictionary defines the word desensitize as follows: To make emotionally insensitive or unresponsive, as by long exposure or repeated shocks; the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it.
Over the past few months, a few instances relating to the topic of abortion exhibit that America's leaders, media and general public have all become desensitized to the willful loss of life. These instances include, but are not limited to:
The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia, where he is charged (and now thankfully convicted) of murdering infants who survived abortion procedures.
The recent court decision denying any restrictions on access to abortifiacients for girls of any age.
The Obama administration's decision to support access for girls as young as 15 to have access to the abortifacients.
President Obama becoming the first president to speak to the annual gathering of Planned Parenthood, where he celebrated the organization that performed over 300,000 abortions in the previous year, while only referring 2,300 women to adoption agencies.
The testimony of a Florida Planned Parenthood representative testifying that when an abortion procedure fails and a child is born, the original intent of the mother to end the life should prevail.
The Obama administration's insistence that religious protections of the 1st Amendment do not prevent the requirement that religious organizations provide access to abortifacients in health insurance provided to their employees.
Each of these are evidence that, as a culture our view of the sanctity of life is greatly diminished.
The Philadelphia Grand Jury report includes pictures of corpses stuffed in trash bags, then jammed into freezers; severed feet of aborted babies in jars; babies with the backs of their necks cut open in order to suck the contents of the skull out before the child is aborted from the mother.1 The opening paragraph of the Grand Jury report states:
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. 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.
It was only after a few conservative media outlets began pushing this story that the major media outlets gave it some attention. If there was genuine concern for the life and health of mothers, and of life and health for infants, there are only two possible explanations for the media indifference: 1) they don't really care about the life and health of mothers and infants; or 2) an abortion culture agenda which places a priority on individual will, while at the same time indifference to life, permeates the media, thus preventing them from covering a news story as serious as the Gosnell trial is.
As the Gosnell trial was ongoing, President Obama addressed the national conference of Planned Parenthood on April 26th. Obama celebrated the work of Planned Parenthood while failing to make any mention of the abuses committed by Kermit Gosnell (ironically, he didn't mention the word abortion either). A year before, while celebrating the 39 years since Roe v Wade, Obama remarked: "And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams." It has become known that Planned Parenthood was aware of the unsafe conditions and inhumane treatment being administered in Gosnell's clinic and chose to remain silent. The organization that performs hundreds of thousands of abortions while referring a small fraction of patients to adoption, while also remaining silent about a literal house of horrors, is not worthy of celebration. This is not an organization concerned with young women fulfilling their dreams.
Recently, Alisa LaPolt Snow, a lobbyist with the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, testified before a committee hearing on a bill before the Florida State Legislature concerning an infant life protection act which would require all effort be made to preserve a life when the child survives an abortion procedure. When asked specifically what Planned Parenthood's position would be if a baby is born as a result of a botched abortion, she responded: "We believe that any decision that's made should be left up to the woman, her family and the physician." The Planned Parenthood lobbyist's position is that if a mother intended to abort, her will should prevail, even if the abortion fails and the child survives.
Such a position is reminiscent of when Illinois State Senator Barack Obama refused to vote for a similar bill before the state legislature in both 2002 and 2003. While Obama made his primary argument a question of whether or not the bill would survive judicial review, he nonetheless refused to support a bill that demanded all necessary steps to preserve the life of a failed abortion procedure.
How, as a nation, have we gotten to the point where life is no longer seen as sacred and that we play semantic games and walk a fine line of technicalities?
One of the great ironies of the Gosnell case is that the only illegal thing he did was kill the child outside of the womb. Had Gosnell merely successfully completed this procedure, there would be no charges against him.
Robert George of Princeton University asked this very question: "How can it be that killing a baby inside the womb is perfectly acceptable while killing the very same baby (or even a baby that is a few days or even weeks younger) outside the womb is first-degree murder?"
The atrocities committed by Kermit Gosnell are not unique. In just the past few weeks, several additional stories of horrors similar to those of Gosnell's clinic have emerged. A doctor whose oath is "to do no harm" stands by while a child screams for life, and does nothing; a media that refuses to report on the atrocities; a President who celebrates an organization that prides itself on providing millions of abortions; and a society that is silent, accepting laws that allow for infants to have their bodies dismembered while in the womb, and doesn't call this murder.
We are indeed desensitized. We need to recover our respect for life.
1 While indeed, quite difficult to look at, the pictures on pages 47, 48, 74, 85, 102, and 115 of the Grand Jury report show the evidence of the horrors committed by Kermitt Gosnell and his staff at the "Women's Medical Society" in Philadelphia.