Pro-Life Advocate Says Kermit Gosnell Should be Spared the Death Penalty

Opinion   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 25, 2013   |   5:33PM   |   Washington, DC

The death penalty: it’s the ultimate issues on which pro-life people disagree. People of good faith have been unable to reach agreement on it — with both sides making equally compelling cases for why the death penalty is or is not consistent with the pro-life ethic that has them united against abortion.

When it comes to the horrific crimes of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell — brutal late-term abortions, ghastly infanticides, and killing a woman in a failed abortion laced with a callous disregard for human life that permeated the entire abortion business — the question if he is convicted will be whether or not he receives the death penalty.

While the horrors in the House of Horrors are so terrible that it’s understandable why people would want Gosnell “to fry” if he is convicted, pro-life professor Robert George of Princeton makes the case that something Gosnell was unable to do for tiny babies should be done for him:  His life should be spared.

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell is facing the death penalty if he is convicted of the murders for which he is being tried in Philadelphia. Surely, the heinous acts of which he stands accused are depraved. They probably meet the criteria for capital punishment under Pennsylvania law. However, in the event that Gosnell is convicted, which seems likely, I am asking my fellow pro-lifers around the country to join me in requesting that his life be spared.

Someone might make the case for mercy by pointing out that Gosnell merely carried out the logic of the abortion license that is enshrined and protected in our law. One might note that there is no moral difference between dismembering a child inside the womb (which our jurisprudence, alas, treats as a constitutional liberty) and snipping a child’s neck after he or she has emerged from the womb (potentially a capital offense). How can our legal system impose the death penalty on Gosnell, given the arbitrariness and irrationality of the underlying law?

But that is not the fundamental reason for our asking for Gosnell’s life to be spared.

Kermit Gosnell, like every human being, no matter how self-degraded, depraved, and sunk in wickedness, is our brother-a precious human being made in the very image and likeness of God. Our objective should not be his destruction, but the conversion of his heart. Is that impossible for a man who has corrupted his character so thoroughly by his unspeakably evil actions? If there is a God in heaven, then the answer to that question is “no.” There is no one who is beyond repentance and reform; there is no one beyond hope. We should give up on no one.



If our plea for mercy moves the heart of a man who cruelly murdered innocent babies, the angels in heaven will rejoice. But whether it produces that effect or not, we will have shown all who have eyes to see and ears to hear that our pro-life witness is truly a witness of love-love even of our enemies, even of those whose appalling crimes against innocent human beings we must oppose with all our hearts, minds, and strength. In a profoundly compelling way, we will have given testimony to our belief in the sanctity of all human life.

What do you think?