To read the reaction to the news of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement you would think something terrible has happened. It’s quite the contrary. The Economist said those who wanted the Supreme Court “to float above America’s partisan divide reacted with….dismay. The news website VOX said Kennedy was “one of the most powerful people in America for well over a decade,” and Think Progress said his retirement poses an “existential threat to many civil rights”.
I must admit to being very very glad that Kennedy is no longer perched in his job for life in Washington. Because while Kennedy may be remembered for the swing vote that legalized gay marriage or legitimized George Bush’s election, I think his legacy case should be Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.
That was supposed to be the case that rolled back Roe v. Wade and ended the bogus constitutional right to abortion. It was thought there was a majority in SCOTUS in favor, but to a lot of people’s surprise Kennedy voted with the liberals and abortion on demand remained.
Justice Kennedy didn’t even have the excuse of lack of knowledge that most Americans have when it comes to abortion. A few years ago I was like those Americans - I was “neutral” on abortion. It was between a woman, her doctor, and her conscience. It was a choice.
And then as a journalist and filmmaker I started investigating the Kermit Gosnell story. Described by ABC News as “America’s biggest serial killer,” Gosnell was a Pennsylvania abortion doctor who performed illegal abortions past the state’s 24-week limit. His abortion “technique” was to have the babies born alive and then to murder them by cutting their spinal cords with scissors.
I read the trial transcripts - I even met the Doctor in prison and had a #MeToo moment as I struggled to keep interviewing him while he continually touched my leg.
But the evidence that shocked me the most was the evidence that was supposed to reassure the most.
To highlight Gosnell’s illegality, prosecutors decided the jury should hear from “good abortionists” so they could distinguish between murder and a proper legal abortion.
That’s the evidence that got to me, it got to the jury, too.
Two abortion doctors gave honest, graphic accounts, under-oath, of what they do, on a daily basis, legally, during state-of-the-art abortions. Their testimony is invaluable.
It was the industrial scale of the abortion industry that shocked the jury first. They gasped (the only time during a horrific trial) when Dr. Charles Benjamin matter-of-factly stated he had performed over 40,000 abortions.
Dr. Karen Feisullin also testified, she described what a good legal abortion was like. The jury and many in the courtroom shifted uncomfortably as they heard about “tools going up into the uterus and basically pulling parts out . . . an arm or a leg or some portion of that”.
And those were the easy, early abortions. For later procedures, Dr. Feisullin explained the fetus was so well-formed that it couldn’t be ripped apart in the uterus. It was normally removed – through the birth canal – completely intact. But, as Feisullin explained, a baby born at 23 weeks has a 40-50 percent chance of surviving. To avoid a living, breathing baby coming out during an abortion, the doctor demonstrated how, before the abortion, a poison – potassium chloride – was injected through the woman’s stomach directly into the baby’s heart. This would stop the heartbeat, allowing the fetus to be pulled out intact.
Dr. Feisullin was asked what would happen if she missed the heart and the baby was born alive. She explained that the living, breathing baby would be covered with a blanket and given “comfort care”.
You could see the genuine puzzlement of people in the court about what “comfort care” was until Dr. Feisullin cleared up any confusion. “You . . . really just keep it warm, you know. It will eventually pass,” she said.
This is the 21st century progressive American Republic. A baby can be born alive in the land of the free, of the brave, and highly trained medical staff stand by waiting for it to die of thirst and hunger.
Justice Kennedy had the opportunity to stop millions of abortions and who knows how many deaths by “comfort care”. He did not. His legacy is siding with the liberal majority whose version of progress involves poisoning babies in the womb and then pulling them apart limb by limb. It’s a terrible one. The website VOX said “An America after Anthony Kennedy looks significantly different from America before”. I think the view looks decidedly better.
Ann McElhinney is the Producer of the feature film Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer due to be released nationwide in theaters Oct 12th. www.GosnellMovie.Com