Paul Greenberg

Kermit Gosnell. If you don't recognize the name, that's understandable. His trial in Philadelphia -- on multiple counts of murder -- has been covered extensively by the local papers. But beyond that, it's as though a news blackout had been declared on the major networks and newspapers of the mainstream denomination.

Some things must not be mentioned in those quarters, at least no more than in passing. One of them, it seems, is the grisly case of Dr. Gosnell, whose murder trial upsets too many myths about abortion, the one American institution the Progressive establishment never challenges.

Those of us who question this kind of news coverage, or rather non-coverage, are told the Gosnell trial is "just a local issue." Right. The way the Boston Marathon bombings were just a local issue.

The same goes for the Sandusky scandal at Penn State -- with its continuing repercussions up and down the academic chain of command there (the criminal trials are just beginning) and the cautionary tale it offers every university in the country.

The coverage of those "local" cases has been national and intense, and should be. But not the trial of Kermit Gosnell, M.D.

For reasons of the mainstream media's own, any story that might raise questions about abortion has become taboo. In our era, abortion has become a political litmus test for the orthodox left, not to say an article of faith.

Result: What was once recognized as a low crime now has become a kind of political sacrament. To criticize abortion, whether its legal, moral or political aspects, has become a kind of 21st-century heresy. It's something respectable, certified, capital-J Journalists don't do.

If we violate that taboo, we get kicked out of The Club. Not that some of us hopelessly unfashionable types ever wanted to join it. Which explains why we were bound to break the rule about commenting on the Gosnell case -- an informal rule, but all the more powerful for being informal. Much like any other social taboo.

Kermit Gosnell, M.D. and abortionist par excellence, has had a long, low and distinguished career -- distinguished principally by sadism, crackpot experimentation, and disrespect for human life. This time the little bodies piled up in such profusion they could not be ignored by the authorities.

. .

Dr. Gosnell's has not been a solo practice. At one point in 1972, the year before the Supreme Court declared abortion-on-demand the law of the land, the doctor teamed up with one Harvey Karman, an unlicensed practitioner who had already served a couple of years in prison out in California for performing then illegal abortions.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.