Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos

If I told you that in a small building, in a major metropolitan city, within a state of these United States of America there were over 100 children born into this world and then summarily executed, would you expect there to be a national outcry? Would you expect that there would be candle vigils outside this ghastly and horrific place? Would you expect that our President would call a press conference and ask the nation to be in prayer? Would you expect this to be the subject of discussion over the water cooler at work? Would you expect it to be the main story on the nightly news, the front cover of your daily newspaper, the lead story on NPR, and the subject of call-in talk radio shows? If you would expect this, then your expectations would be unrealized. Our country is in the midst of a national crisis, a crisis of conscience, a crisis of avoidance, and a crisis of morality. And the response is deafening silence.

On March 18th a trial began. The trial of West Philadelphia abortionist “doctor,” Kermit Gosnell, who readily practiced infanticide. As the testimonies from this trial are made public, our stomachs should be turning, our hearts should be grieving, and our heads should be bowed. I am no sensationalist. I find no pleasure in grotesquely reported and detailed accounts. However, this is one trial and the details of which every citizen of this country should know. And we should be led to national grief.

The report of the grand jury that investigated Gosnell’s clinic states, he “catered to the women who couldn’t get abortions elsewhere–because they were too pregnant. For Gosnell, they were an opportunity. The bigger the baby, the more he charged.” Massof, a “right hand man” of Gosnell’s, testified that 100 or more babies were born alive in this abortion clinic. And he described how the babies, born into this world, were summarily executed. He stated that the abortions were “literally a beheading.” He testified that he would snip the spinal cords of the babies. During his testimony, he asked the jury to feel the back of their necks, so he could direct them to were the spinal cord was severed with surgical scissors to ensure the baby’s “demise.” He testified, “I felt like a fireman in hell, I couldn’t put out all the fires.” No doubt he did. Moton, a female employee, reported that she took a picture of one baby boy, because he was so large and appeared so viable. She measured him at “nearly 30 weeks.” She testified that Gosnell later joked that the “baby was so big he could have walked to the bus stop.” Sherry West, a former employee, testified that on one occasion she was handed a 18- to 24-inch-long newborn in a glass pan by an assistant, who asked for her help. She said, “I saw it, and I thought, ‘What do you expect me to do?’ It didn’t have eyes or a mouth but it was like screeching, making this noise. It was weird. It sounded like a little alien.”

Massof is said to have kept severed feet and other body parts in jars at the clinic. If this reminds you of the infamous doctors of the 20th century, who were put on trial at war’s end, your mind is not fanciful creating false comparisons. And the outrage that our nation demonstrated then, should readily be found now.

All of this on the heels of a video that surfaced last week. In this video a Planned Parenthood representative is testifying before a subcommittee of the Florida legislature. In her exchange with these legislators, she refuses to answer a question regarding whether a physician should treat a baby who has been born alive in a “botched abortion.” The Planned Parenthood representative stated that the decision should be left to the patient and the healthcare provider. One keen legislator responded to her, “Wouldn’t at that point the patient be the child struggling on the table?” Her response, “That’s a very good question. I don’t know how to answer that. I would be glad to have some more conversations with you about that.”

Where are we at when a child born into this world can be executed and the fathers and mothers and leaders of that society are not shaken to their bones with disgust? Where is the outcry? Where is the national dialogue and grieving over infanticide in our enlightened 21st century culture? Where is “Rachel weeping for her children?” “Refusing to be comforted because they are no more.”

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46 thoughts on “The Story You May Not Have Heard (Warning: Graphic Reading)”

  1. Joseph Jankowski says:

    What can I do?

  2. Brad Beals says:

    But outrage would require that we call into question those presuppositions that allow for such horrors, the same presuppositions that allow for ANY abortion. To look directly at these things might lead one to look at similar things–abortions at 8 mos and 7 mos and 6 and so on. We’re not good at thinking in ways that threaten our idols. I’m horrified, but I’m not suprised that the nation isn’t.

  3. Student says:

    Here’s a better question: Why are you expecting a national outcry when there was no apparent outcry from these peoples families? from their friends? from their neighbors? from their coworkers?

    I live in philadelphia, and the homes are crazy close here. Your neighbors–even if they don’t know *you* well–know when you are pregnant. Yes this is tragic, but even more so is the tragedy of the apparent disregard for such women who would walk through such doors.

    Where is the outcry for the nearly 33% of children in Philadelphia who live BELOW the poverty level (which is, as we should all know, a fairly artificial number; the poverty level is much higher than we estimate)? Where is the outcry for the children who are living in such conditions as to perpetuate a system of violence, obesity, diabetes, disregard for others, disregard for their world, and disregard for themselves?

    Gosnell’s case is tragic (and, for the record, has been discussed on NPR locally and nationally; just because you didn’t hear it didn’t mean that it didn’t happen). Even more tragic is that while so many that *I* would call brothers and sisters in Christ will use this case to point people to the horrors of abortion as infanticide (with which I agree), very few will look beyond this to the horrors of poverty, or of inner city violence, or of the lack of education in urban areas, or of the lack of opportunity for the urban poor, or of the systematic injustice leveled against minorities in our nation.

    Gosnell’s case is tragic. But few will answer the call to be a community that *reflects* the kingdom of God on earth as opposed to complaining about how much our country *doesn’t look like* the kingdom of God on earth…

  4. Deborah Mayo says:

    As I celebrate my birthday today, I mourn the loss of all the little innocent children who will never have their own. I was 3 months premature 59 years ago. Definitely “not viable” by many people’s standards in this day and age. And yet, here I sit, typing this msg as I cry over all the needless, horrible deaths of these precious babies. Heavenly Father, please forgive all of us for allowing this to happen AND for not doing enough to stop it. Open our eyes Lord. Help our nation to see through your eyes. Help us to realize how very, very precious all children are and how horrific this is. Be with the mothers/fathers of these babies. Deep down they are hurting and will carry this in their hearts forever. Be with all of us who have been touched by abortions. I pray this horrible “hole” in all hearts will be filled by you and your love – once we know of You and your redeeming love and accept you as personal savior. And Lord, as hard as it is, this “doctor” and all the others who have done and are doing the same, need to know you personally also. Touch him, so he will be aware of what he has done and grieve for all the lives he has taken. Lord, I ask that this would lead him to acknowledge the deep need in his life for YOU and accept You as his Lord and Savior. Heavenly Father, I pray that through all this, good would come of it…the redemption of thousands Lord,who turn to you. In Jesus’ name I ask these things. Amen

  5. Brad Beals says:

    Student, how are those better questions? You would set social justice on a par with mass murder? We live in a fallen world with lots of opportunity for outrage. The point here is that outrage on this particular issue is susupiciously silent.

  6. Sara says:

    In response to Student’s questions – if you read a more indepth story on this particular case (the Grand Jury’s findings especially, you will see there were instances of people in the community and within these women’s families trying to get help and to voice their concern for what they knew to be happening at this “clinic”. Not only is this story about a tragedy that has taken place for these women and children, it is a story of how it was ignored/covered up for a long time by the authorities that are in charge of regulating organizations that provide medical services.

  7. Sara says:

    I hit send before I was done. I also wanted to add that there will always be other or “bigger” problems in the world, this side of heaven. It doesn’t mean you can’t stand up for a problem you see happening right in front of you. Wrong is wrong, no matter how big or how small you might think it is.

  8. Jared Nelson says:

    A group has made a well done 20 minute documentary on this case. But be warned, it made me physically sick to watch and hear the stories:

    http://3801lancaster.com/

  9. Sara’s second comment is spot on. Just because we are taking on one problem doesn’t mean we’re blind to the other problems. But mass murder versus poverty seems like a pretty clear cut choice.

    And the documentary Jared mentions is excellent.

  10. Ryan E says:

    Jason,
    Thank you for bringing this to light…please, please, please provide something, ANYTHING we can do! How can an average family of 7 fight against such a horror? We donate monthly to a Christian Crisis Pegnancy center, participate in yeraly walk for life parade, and PRAY…BUT whate else can we do?? Thank you again for this, it must have been hard to write, God bless you man!
    ~Ryan

  11. Melody says:

    Student

    People do not abort because of poverty. That is a romanticized notion. If that were true then there would more that would be willing to put their babies up for adoption. They would still love their children and want them to have better than they have themselves.
    I am well below the poverty level with three children. I live it while other people study it in school.
    There are so many people in my church that adopts and does fostering. There is even a fund to help people to meet the expenses of adopting. I am sure that my church is not the only one out there like that.
    People abort babies that late in the pregnancy because they don’t love them. They don’t regard them as a human being.
    The doctor that could do that certainly didn’t do it to serve anyone, help anyone. He put the women’s lives in danger over and over. The nation that wants abortion doesn’t care about that. It was killing for profit pure and simple.
    There is screaming the world over because a woman wasn’t given an abortion in Ireland and she died. We have heard about that story plenty.
    Lots of screaming for the doctor that did late term abortions in Kansas when some nutcase shot him in church. We heard about that over and over and over again.
    It isn’t about poverty. It is about total and complete darkness of the heart.

  12. Dear “student”-

    Perhaps you could identify yourself so we can have a real conversation about this.

    Sincerely,

    Everyone.

  13. Flyaway says:

    Thank you Deborah for your prayer. I add my Amen! Where is the social justice for the aborted babies? May God open the eyes of Barak Obama and his administration and on down to the voters.

  14. David says:

    I think some are taking “student’s” post the wrong way. I think the main point he is trying to get across is that the issue of abortion is party of an even bigger scope of fallenness. You can’t just attack abortion and win the world a happier and more righteous place. We cannot win the case against abortion by trying to reform only the abortion case. It’s not an issue that drives an immoral society, but rather an issue that is the product of an immoral society, which society reveals itself to be immoral in so many ways. We fight a losing battle by sitting here arguing about the priority level of abortion vs. this or that. We need to actually try to make an impact in people’s lives. That’s how we win people to the Kingdom. Get off the computer and go to your neighbor and build a Gospel centered relationship and really meet real spiritual and physical needs of our neighbors. Grass-roots anyone? Not by arguing on forums. Abortion is a product of a wholistic approach to depravity. People need Jesus. Otherwise you cannot expect much else from them. People will love themselves more than their babies, spouses, and everyone else, and people will always do things like this until they are overcome with the Gospel. This forum isn’t giving glory to that Gospel. When we drive ethics down people’s throats, we lose them and do nothing for the cause of Christ. Take a stand. But take it Biblically and with the same grace God gives us.

  15. Student says:

    @Brad Beals: I think they’re better questions because it takes us away from rock throwing and puts us into a posture of asking “What can I do to help the people around me?” It’s easy to look on a situation with this with disgust without further asking, “How am I, or my other brothers and sisters in the Lord complicit in this situation?” I get what you’re saying regarding the point of the article, and again, I can understand the outrage. But yeah, I would put this on par with social justice, if only because what Jesus said about our relationship to the poor and the marginalized seems to be pretty important and simultaneously pretty neglected by most of us as individuals and churches (and yes, I would would consider the unborn in these situations as both poor and marginalized).

    @Sara: I haven’t read all of the grand jury report, but I’m not sure “cover up” by “the authorities in charge,” is what they said. I read a lot of incompetence regarding the PA DoH in the report, and a good bit of neglect, but cover up sounds a little to conspiratorial. As an aside, PA funds its Department of Health nearly 40% LESS than it did in 2004. The budget for the department has decreased every year since 2004 (with the exception of 07-08). So, on top of the incompetence of the PA DoH, they also seem to be severely underfunded. I’m not trying to stick up for anyone, because (even if you don’t believe me) I ALSO think this is a tragedy. What I am saying (in my response to you) is that when we want regulation of organization, we need governmental funding for those regulative agencies, which means we want more taxes. As it stands, most of the other Christians I know are terribly opposed to any more taxation than they already bear. And I totally agree, we should stand up for this… but we there are a LOT of things we should stand up for that we are not nearly as public about as we are concerning abortion.

    @Nicole: What does Jesus say about poverty? It seemed to be pretty clear in his communication to his disciples that however we treat the poor is equitable to how we treat him. So what does it mean when we, by and large, ignore the poor? (Matt 25:31-46)

    @Melody: Your position sounds difficult, but I think their situations are more terribly more complex than what you’re allowing. I wasn’t trying to equate poverty as the reason behind abortion. The *reasons* why people abort are many (and I would argue that it’s not always just for convenience) and, granted, often unfounded. It sounds like you’re at a great church home that is really looking to help out people who are in a bind, and that’s truly a blessing. But what I am saying is that the evangelical church is tilted heavily towards some hot button issues, and there are others that fly completely under the radar. Please understand me, I am not advocating for abortion. I am not saying abortion “is okay.” I’m not trying to defend Gosnell’s or anyone else’s actions. What I am saying is that our nation’s poor gets as little attention as this and that it is as sorry an injustice. On this final point, you can feel free to disagree with me, but the bible has a lot to say about the poor are treated. Again and however, I *am* thankful for the fact that as you’ve said you’re in a position of financial poverty, you seem to be in a place of spiritual wealth.

    @John Mulholland: Even if you knew who I was, you wouldn’t know who I am. That’s a bit of a non-sequitur sir. And several people saw it fit to have a “real conversation about this,” with me on the basis of only knowing I was a student… so surely you are not speaking for everyone…

    @David: Thanks for your understanding and your clear words. You communicated that much more precisely than I…

  16. Student says:

    Also… some food for thought…

    Several years ago (really, a decade now) a co-worker asked me what I thought about abortion and people to have one. This co-worker knew that I was a Christian, and I am pretty sure she wasn’t. I told her, “Well… I think it’s a sin.” And as quickly as I could, I followed up with this, “But I also think it’s something that Christ can forgive, because the good news of his life, death, and resurrection are that big.”

    After this very short exchange, she started weeping. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me she had a “friend” who had an abortion and all she ever heard was condemnation from Christians.

    Remember, our Lord himself was murdered and he asked for forgiveness for those who persecuted him (Luke 23:34). One of the most prolific Apostles (though not *the* most prolific) was a man who was murdering Christians before Christ confronted him on the road to Damascus. We ourselves were enemies of God like the rest of mankind (Eph 2:1-3).

    In some sense, we’re all murderers… it’s just that some of us know we are because of what what the Holy Spirit has done in us by Christ’s power…

  17. @Student,

    First off, I think I better understand your thought process now. It’s not an either/or situation, it’s a both/and. Both abortion AND poverty are very important issues. I totally agree. Poverty requires a longsuffering attitude and lots of patience since there is no quick fix. Right at this moment, however and certainly at the crux of this post, is the abortion question and the trial of a man who is certainly guilty of heinous crimes and is in desperate need of Christ’s grace.

    Secondly, thank you so much for extending the love of Jesus to your co-worker. That clearly affected her and I pray that grace-filled moment affected her entire life. Thank you for being sensitive to what she needed to hear right then.

  18. Sara says:

    I too see better, where you are coming from too, Student. I in no way am suggesting you don’t think this is a tragedy or sad situation. I think you are coming at it from a different perspective, being a resident of PA, as well.

    Just to clarify my thoughts, when I used the word cover up, I mean they were alerted to this and covered it up in the sense nothing was done when they were alerted to this and they “covered” it up, shuffled it away, put it aside and got onto with their other work. Definitely not suggesting some conspiracy or motive was behind this.

  19. Melody says:

    I agree it is not an unforgivable sin, not even for the women that got those late term abortions.

    But I understand more than you think.

    I will add one more point. Those women paid huge amounts of money for those late term abortions. In a country where we hear about the poor we are rich in comparison to those in other countries. The proof is in the stampedes on black Fridays or when some new electronic device is about to be released, even in the poor neighborhoods. Now we have luxury prices for abortions in the poorest neighborhoods. We are a country of people that find the money for the things that are most important to us and we do not count our blessings like we should.

  20. @student

    Kevin is far more gracious a host than I; I refuse to post anonymous comments on my blog. You’ve been given a name and I thought I’d dignify you with it.

    It sounds like you extend grace in matters of addressing the sin of others, this is excellent and you handled the situation you described well, and better than many others might.

    I can also say that attempts to regulate the industry of baby-killing usually fall short because the political left crowd decides that the slightest bit of oversight is somehow going to lead to the ending of the so-called “right” to abortion. What’s most laughable about this is the silence from the main stream media on this topic. It’s almost as if they don’t want people to learn how the most vulnerable among is are chopped into pieces and sucked out of body cavities. Apparently, those are the lucky ones, if this case is any indication.

    Ultimately, you are correct. We all have blood on our hands. I’m thankful for a God who hears all cries, from mine to the ones whose mouths have not yet developed. One day, there will be a reckoning for all of our murderous ways, and I am thankful that the same judge also sent a Savior.

  21. Thad says:

    Jason/Kevin,

    I hope it is OK with you that I post this poem of mine which is relevant to this article. It may be shared with others.

    “We Never Had a Birthday”

    We never knew the little joys
    Of cats and dogs and Christmas toys;
    We never had a birthday cake,
    Nor learned from mommy how to bake.
    We never threw a ball to dad;
    A day of fun we never had;
    We lived our lives without a friend,
    And no one loved us in the end.
    Our mothers never helped us talk;
    Our fathers never helped us walk.
    As burdens we’d their time consume
    As mouths to feed straight from the womb.
    We never sucked our mothers’ breasts;
    We never hugged our fathers’ chests.
    ‘Twas by their choice we were not born;
    We were not loved; we were not mourned.
    Oh, you may look–but ne’er will be–
    A photograph of us to see.
    We have no names; we have no voice;
    We are the children of Pro-Choice.

    Thad R. Hobson
    Copyright 2004

  22. Jessica says:

    Jason, you are right the outcry is not nearly loud enough. The atrocities of Gosnell are as disgusting as Hitler’s, but where is the coverage? As Christian’s it is our duty to care for the marginalized and voiceless in this world, so let us “open our mouths for the mute”! Let us speak out in truth and love to this terrible injustice!

  23. Tim says:

    Great commentary, thank you for writing about this topic.
    I work in a Political Science Department at a research university where one would think the forefront of human rights and equality would be espoused. But this issue is pushed to the wayside even among casual conversations with colleagues because it forces the “tolerant” minded academics to look into the face of “women’s rights” and see the horror of what a terminated pregnancy means. In light of the injustice nature of this event, how then should we respond? Perhaps we should take upon the call of James 1:27 where we are told “religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” If the unwanted fetuses and even those born to face the butcher’s blade do not qualify for James’ description of the orphan, than I do not know what does. My brothers and sisters, let us take up the fight for the defenseless and not grow weary in this present darkness.

  24. Cole says:

    Student,

    I am a Christian. I reject your condemnation for a “complicit role” in the state of poverty in the USA. I do not oppress them. I try to help them as much as I can, and I am hampered by government programs that take my money against my wishes to fund wars, extraneous departments, research and programs, and GAO parties in Las Vegas.

    My cautious and careful handling of my income, my building a safety net of savings, and my living beneath my means without having children I can’t afford is a decision toward a way of life that poor people don’t make. I wish to help them voluntarily, but I will not be judged by you as a complicit oppressor who creates their cycles of poverty. Not guilty.

    Nor will I tie a discussion of abortion to a constructed apparatus of “social justice” created by the left. Abortion is murder.

  25. The difference between abortion and poverty is that abortion is a direct, heinously evil act of murder (evil, not tragedy), while poverty is something unfortunate that happens through a complex train of events and economic laws that are not anybody’s “fault” per se. It makes a lot less sense to “fight poverty” than it does to “fight murder.”

    Also, sorry, but murder is a more urgent issue. Deal with it. And cut the crap about how “we’re all murderers in our way.” You’re just looking for anything to say so you’ll look more nuanced than the religious fundamentalists who are crying out in outrage about this. I know students like you. They’re all alike. Don’t you have an exam you should be studying for?

  26. Ken Klett says:

    Thank you Jason. Good job covering a dreadful and painful topic.

  27. To clarify, my comment was directed at the troll “Student,” not Jason, who has written a timely and excellent post.

  28. Cara says:

    Jason, thank you for the article. This is indeed a tragedy and an outrage.

    @student: Just wanted to thank you for your thoughtful comments and gracious responses here, that are an example to me. Sorry to see the response you’ve gotten from many I assume to be fellow believers is so harsh… unfortunately common on the impersonal internet I have noticed (at least I would like to hope it is mostly only on the internet. In my church, at least, people don’t talk to each other like this face to face.)

  29. Cara says:

    I should amend my comment and say of course I was entirely wrong if my comment implied that harshness amongst believers exists only on or because of the internet… I should know better as to my shame I am regularly harsh with those dearest to me such as my children and my husband. (Thank God for a Saviour). I was writing out of an increasing distress with online comment chains and the open season on rudeness they seem to invite.

  30. Pauline says:

    Thad, may I share that poem on my Facebook?

  31. RE: Being rude and sarcastic… well so much for Jesus and Paul! Kind of hard to say they weren’t Christ-like, now is it? Especially Jesus, considering he, um, was Christ.

  32. Christine Casey says:

    A Disgusting Human Being! I Can take a Breath knowing God knows what he had done! And will have the Proper Punishment! Praise God!

  33. Paul Reed says:

    Just so you know, people like Gosnell is how pro-aborts argued that abortion should be legal (look up a speech by Constance Cook when she made abortion first legal in New York). Make abortion illegal and all clinics would be like Gosnell’s, they argued. As pro-lifers, we really need to ask WHY we are giving such special attention to Gosnell. Is it the unsanitary conditions? Or perhaps it’s because the babies are later term? I hate to say this, but many pro-lifers are so dumb that they are making the pro-abortion argument and not even knowing it.

  34. Melody says:

    yankeegospelgirl Most of the time I want to call you yankeegossipgirl. BUT that is sin in me. I recognize it and try to temper my judgments of you.
    I’m so confused how so many of your posts go through. You even had one featured on this site. Yet you are a name caller. While I did not agree with “student” not using a real name – something that you do not do – is not the definition of troll.
    He/she is merely parroting what has been learned in college. It does not kill us to discuss it.
    You have taught me a lesson though. When I read your blog on Steve McQueen I enjoyed it and found it interesting. Then I made the mistake of reading the comment section and it totally ruined it for me. So now I am going to go and try and apply this lesson to myself.

    To Student – I’m sorry you were called a name on this comment section. Though I don’t agree with you on things I do not think that means that you are less than me. I heard a very interesting speaker this weekend by the name of Carolyn McCulley,an educated feminist come to faith. You may want to investigate some of her work to temper that liberal education that you have been fed. She has been there.

  35. I was trying to figure out who the “Mel” was who left a comment on my blog. Mystery solved.

    My definition of “troll” is one who repeatedly demonstrates a combination of cluelessness and self-assuredness. In short, a person who obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about, yet feels it’s his duty to go around patronizingly lecturing everybody else. Now, perhaps I was a bit harsh to affix this label on “student.” Re-reading some of his comments, I think I would modify that to say that he’s just confused. I believe he has a good heart. The people I’m really angry at are the people with influence over him who’ve taught him this shallow way of thinking. As you yourself put it, he merely repeats what he’s been taught. So ultimately he’s not to blame.

    I’m glad you liked my blog on Steve McQueen. Why did the comment section ruin it for you? I had people leave many beautiful comments on that post. As far as I can remember there was no controversy in that thread.

  36. Also, I don’t know exactly who or what you’ve seen me “gossip” about, but I try to avoid gossip as a rule. “Gossip” is spreading information from an unreliable source that might or might not be true. If there’s some good, specific reason why I dislike someone, I’ll say so outright.

  37. Roxann Witt says:

    Proverbs 10:23a “Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool”
    God is not unaware and weeps at the wickedness of sinful man, He will take those babies into His arms in heaven.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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