As news of the guilty verdict of first degree murder for abortionist Kermit Gosnell broke, pro-life leaders welcomed his conviction while calling for a closer look at the abortion industry as a whole.
U.S. Congresswoman Diane Black, (R–Tenn.), said that while she applauds the grand jury’s decision to convict the Philadelphia abortionist on at least three charges of first-degree murder, she said his crimes “stand as a stark reminder that there is no such thing as a safe abortion.”
“While Gosnell’s horrific actions were especially egregious,” she said in a May 13 statement, “we should remember that this is what happens each time an abortion is performed – a beating heart is stopped and an innocent human life is ended.”
Gosnell faced over 250 charges, including racketeering, conspiracy and violations of Pennsylvania’s late-term abortion ban. He faced more than 200 counts of breaking a state law that requires a 24-hour waiting period on abortion.
He was convicted for three of four first-degree murder charges and the one charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient who died of an overdose.
The gruesome testimony at the trial included reports that Gosnell and his staff snipped the necks of over 100 babies who survived abortions. One doctor at the clinic testified that the procedure was “literally a beheading.”
Gosnell, 72, could face the death penalty for his crimes.
Rep. Chris Smith, (R–N.J.), Co-Chairman of the House Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said that “not much” difference exists between Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” and abortion clinics around the country.
“Some abortionists may have cleaner sheets than Gosnell, and better sterilized equipment and better trained accomplices, but what they do – what Gosnell did – kill babies and hurt women – is the same,” he said in a May 13 statement.
Although some 55 million babies have been aborted in the 40 years since abortion has been legal in the United States, there is an “appalling lack of compassion” for the victims and their mothers who have been “physically, emotionally, psychologically” wounded, he said.
Lila Rose, president of pro-life investigative group, Live Action, said Gosnell’s “gruesome and inhuman crimes” must not be seen as outliers in the abortion industry.
“We cannot allow these 'guilty' verdicts, welcome as they are, to make us complacent when it comes to the continuing abuses happening even now in abortion facilities throughout our nation,” she said.
In her statement, Rose called on Congress “to investigate all those participating in or willing to participate in this kind of brutality” toward women and children.
Anna Higgins, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, called the jury’s verdict “a just conclusion to a horrific case.”
However, she said, the case highlights the “callous disregard for the health and safety of women” as well as the “inhumanity of abortion.”
Higgins called on Congress to work with states in requiring abortion clinics “to apply the same safety standards as those followed by other medical facilities, including veterinary offices.”