One possible answer is that Gosnell might be particularly depraved. On his own, he came up with the idea that murdering a fetus near the moment of birth was morally permissible, at least if the mother asked him to do it. That’s comforting. It lets us console ourselves with the thought that such brutality is a fluke and not likely to be repeated.
But that’s probably not the right answer. While murder rates for almost every group in society have plummeted in recent decades, there’s one group where murder rates have doubled, according to CDC and National Center for Health Statistics data — babies less than a year old.
It could be that the teaching power of abortion law is eroding more than the moral sense of doctors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infant homicide is shockingly common. Its most recent 2002 report suggests that the day a person is born is, by far, the most likely day for them to be killed.
A far better choice exists. As a society, we could agree that there really is little difference between killing a being inside and outside the womb. We should admit that our system of abortion law is dehumanizing. The better course is to protect even small voiceless human beings from more powerful people who would rather see them dead, whether that killing happens inside or outside the womb.