Reactions to abortion murder verdict highlight chasm between advocacy groups

Published: Thursday, May 16 2013 7:50 p.m. MDT

The resulting law is summarized by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute: "Only the physician, in the course of evaluating the specific circumstances of an individual case, can define what constitutes ‘health’ and when a fetus is viable; and states may not require additional physicians to confirm the attending physician’s judgment that the woman’s life or health is at risk in cases of medical emergency.”

Doe thus places the entire decision in the hands of the mother and her doctor, giving subjective psychology and emotions infinite latitude. State restrictions on late-term abortions without broad health exceptions are unconstitutional, while those with such exceptions are unenforceable.

With fetal pain statutes now embarking on the long ascent to the Supreme Court, and with the appalling realization that 12 inches of geography marks the boundary between medicine and murder now fresh in the public consciousness, an uncomfortable national discourse on nuances — a conversation essentially short-circuited since 1972 — may be in the offing.

If so, Gosnell, like Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings,” may have served a useful purpose in spite of himself.

Eric Schulzke writes on national politics for the Deseret News. He can be contacted at

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