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Trevin Wax Christian Blog and Commentary

8 Reasons for the Media Blackout on Kermit Gosnell

  • Trevin Wax
    Trevin Wax is the Managing Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum developed by LifeWay Christian Resources. He blogs daily at Kingdom People. He is also the author of Holy Subversion (Crossway, 2010) and Counterfeit Gospels (Moody, 2011).
  • 2013 Apr 15
  • Comments

Recently on Twitter and FaceBook, #Gosnell has been trending. The reason for the social media buzz is the strange silence of the mainstream media regarding one of the most gruesome murder trials in American history.


To put the Kermit Gosnell trial in perspective, consider other famous cases of child-killing. From Susan Smith to Andrea Yates, and most recently the horror of Newtown, we are accustomed to 24/7 news coverage of these types of tragedies.

Not so with Dr. Gosnell.

Here are the reasons why:

1. The Gosnell case involves an abortionist.

Whenever we see news stories about abortion, the abortionist must be portrayed as a victim of hate and intolerance, not a perpetrator of violence. But it is impossible to spin this story in a way that keeps “abortionist” separate from testimony about dead women and children.

2. The Gosnell case involves an unregulated abortion clinic.

Whenever we see news stories about abortion, the clinic must be portrayed as a “refuge” for women in distress, not a “house of horrors” where women are taken advantage of. But it is impossible to spin this story in a way that keeps “abortion clinic” away from negative connotations.

3. The Gosnell case involves protestors who, for years, stood outside 3801 Lancaster and prayed, warning people about what was taking place inside.

Whenever we see news stories about abortion, the protestors must be portrayed as agitators and extremists, not peaceful people who urge mothers to treasure the miracle inside them. But it is impossible to spin this story in a way that keeps the abortion protestors from looking like heroes.

4. The Gosnell case involves gruesome details about living, viable babies having their spinal cords “snipped” outside the womb.

Whenever we see news stories about abortion, the details of an abortion procedure are to be avoided. But it is impossible to spin this story in a way that keeps people from asking why such violent killing is unjust moments after birth, yet acceptable at any other time during the pregnancy.

5. The Gosnell case raises the question of human rights.

Whenever we see news stories about abortion, the discussion must always be framed in terms of a woman’s “reproductive rights,” not a baby’s “human rights.” But it is impossible to spin this story in a way that keeps people from asking why “reproductive rights” should trump “human rights” – or why a doctor devoted to “reproductive rights” would (without any apparent twinge of conscience) violate human rights so egregiously.

6. The Gosnell case involves the regulation of abortion clinics.

Whenever we see news stories about abortion, the clinic must be portrayed as under siege from anti-abortion extremists. But it is impossible to spin this story in a way that will keep people from pushing for policy change and further regulation of Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics.

7. The Gosnell case exposes the disproportionate number of abortion clinics in inner cities and the disproportionate number of abortions among minority groups.

Whenever we see news stories about abortion, the discussion must be framed in terms of providing “access” for low-income, minority women. But it is impossible to spin this story in a way that keeps people from wondering if perhaps some abortion providers are “targeting” low-income, minority women.

8. The Gosnell case competes with recent stories about states enacting broad laws banning many abortions.

Whenever we see news stories about abortion, the choice of coverage must focus on the threat to a woman’s “right to choose.” But it is impossible to spin this story in a way that will keep Americans from joining together to enact more common-sense regulation of late-term abortions.

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