Ben Johnson

Kermit Gosnell convicted on 3 of 4 counts of murdering babies, killing 41-year-old woman

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Ben Johnson
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PHILADELPHIA, May 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Philadelphia jury has found late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell guilty of murdering three of four babies in his capital murder trial.

He is also guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 abortion death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old legal immigrant who died when his untrained staff administered an overdose of sedatives.

The jury found Gosnell guilty of murdering Babies A, C, and D. Gosnell quipped Baby A, who was photographed by one of his employees, Andrienne Moton, was big enough to "walk me to the bus stop."

Jurors found Gosnell had committed first-degree murder when he allowed the babies to be born alive, then “snipped” their spinal cords with scissors -- a practice his employees said they saw him perform "hundreds" of times.

The verdict, which was announced this afternoon in the courtroom of Judge Jeffrey Minehart, means Gosnell will face the death penalty at sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for May 21.

The "not guilty" count related to Baby E, who uttered a noise before being killed. Jurors could not determine conclusively that such a sound represented a sign of life.

"Even if not on every count, I am thrilled today by the guilty verdict in the Gosnell murder trial," said Bryan Kemper of Stand True Ministries. "I have waited many years for justice to be served on behalf of babies being killed by abortionists."

Jurors convicted Gosnell of one count of infanticide and two counts of conspiracy in the murders of the babies, which defense attorney Jack McMahon sometimes called "infants," as well. They also convicted Gosnell of breaking Pennsylvania law by aborting babies past the state's limit of 24-weeks' gestation.

The 72-year-old abortionist faced hundreds of charges, ranging from first-degree murder to racketeering to tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors Ed Cameron and Joanne Pescatore appeared relaxed before the verdict came in, according to reporter J.D. Mullane of the Buck County (PA) Courier Times, while McMahon looked nervous. 

Gosnell showed no emotion as the verdict was handed down, according to Mullane. 

The decision comes after six weeks of testimony and nearly two weeks of deliberation. On April 23, Judge Minehart dismissed nine charges against Gosnell: three murder charges, one count of infanticide, and five cases of abusing a corpse. He gave no indication why he did so.

Gosnell's attorney had argued it was “ludicrous” to say a baby was alive merely because it was moving. His case was bolstered when Chief Medical Examiner Sam Gulino said he could not determine from the frozen remains whether the babies had been delivered alive.

McMahon told jurors that Gosnell had injected the babies with Digoxin, stopping their heart, and "snipped" the babies only to "ensure fetal demise." However, authorities found not a trace of Digoxin on the premises when they raided the Women's Medical Society offices in West Philadelphia.

Horrifying testimony from the facility's workers confirmed the babies lived sometimes as long as 20 minutes before being subjected to the painful procedure.

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Former Gosnell assistant Tina Baldwin said one baby's agonized thrashing caused Gosnell to joke, “That’s what you call a chicken with its head cut off.”

Sherry West testified she saw an 18-to-24-inch baby who had been “aborted,” lying in a clear glass pan, “screeching [and] making this noise” that “sounded like a little alien."

Baby D was born alive in a toilet and struggled to swim out, Kareema Cross said.

McMahon rested his defense without calling a single witness, including Gosnell himself, on April 24.

The jury reported being deadlocked on two counts this morning. It was not initially reported what those charges were. 

The verdict does not satisfy all critics. Some time before the decision was announced, Pastor Luke Robinson, who was keynote speaker at the 2012 March for Life, told The Washington Times, “The whole health department of Pennsylvania should be on trial for allowing these atrocities.”

Law enforcement officials raided Gosnell's abortion business in 2010, believing he merely ran a "pill mill," dispensing prescriptions for narcotics to make a quick buck. What they found shocked and nauseated them.

Inside his "house or horrors," which featured an image of two parents holding the hand of a new baby, they found unsanitized equipment that transmitted STDs between patients, urine- and blood-soaked recliners for post-abortion "recovery," and dismembered fetal body parts.

Gosnell kept the remains of 47 aborted babies in cat food containers and milk jugs. He also cut off babies' feet. His attorney claimed Gosnell did so for DNA purposes, but Assistant District Attorney Ed Cameron believed the abortionist kept the body parts as a kind of "trophy."

The violations filled a 250-page Grand Jury Report.

During his closing argument, Cameron dramatically asked Gosnell, "Are you human?"

The atrocities unfolded with the tacit permission of numerous levels of authority in the government, as well as within the health care and abortion industries.

Pennsylvania health advisers decided to stop inspecting abortion facilities in the mid-1990s under pro-abortion Republican Governor Tom Ridge on the grounds that inspections imposed an undue burden on the abortion industry.

A representative of the National Abortion Federation inspected the business and declined Gosnell's membership -- but did not report him to higher authorities. Neither did hospitals who dealt with the many victims of Gosnell's botched abortions over the years.

The mainstream media also showed little interest in the story -- which combined elements of murder, macabre practices, and economic and racial health disparities -- until a tweetfest generated more than half-a-million comments using the #Gosnell hashtag.

Pro-life activists rejoiced at the verdict but say Gosnell's actions are all-too widespread.

"We must remember that Gosnell is not an outlier within the abortion industry," said Lila Rose of Live Action. "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."

"We call upon Congress to investigate all those participating in or willing to participate in this kind of brutality toward vulnerable women and children, and end it,” she said.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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