The Kermit Gosnell Verdict: Implications for Pro-Life Lutheran Christians

A statement by LCMS Life Ministries

May 13, 2013

After a nine-week trial, which included weeks of graphic testimony, a Pennsylvania jury found Dr. Kermit Gosnell guilty of three of four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of babies who were born alive, but who died after their spinal cords were severed in procedures Gosnell called “abortions.” He was acquitted on the fourth murder charge. Gosnell also was convicted of involuntary manslaughter  in the botched abortion death of one mother. He faced 258 counts total, including 24 counts of performing abortions after 24 weeks gestation, which is illegal in Pennsylvania, and hundreds of charges of violating Pennsylvania’s informed consent and 24-hour waiting period laws. The jury is now in the penalty phase.

Gosnell’s murder trial became the subject of much debate nationally after pro-life activists and others criticized the mainstream media for ignoring the trial early on.

As pro-life Christians devoted to the biblical understanding of the sanctity of human life, we grieve over the tragic loss of these lives and the thousands of other children and mothers who die daily as a result of abortion. Today’s conviction of Gosnell brings justice for the many victims of this horrific abortion facility and demonstrates that abortion is clearly a slippery slope that seeks to deprive the most helpless of their basic human right: life.

The LCMS develops and promotes resources and support for pregnant women so they can avoid seeking abortions. Abortion doesn’t solve — but only masks — problems many women face and leaves many of them grieving the death of a child.

The Gosnell case generated a larger debate and rightly caused people to consider the philosophical issue of why an abortion procedure performed in utero is legal, but also how a similar act a few minutes later, outside the womb, is considered homicide.

Clearly, the case was about the death of five persons and no one can argue against the personhood of these four smaller humans. This case has exposed the ugly underbelly of the pro-abortion movement and it has brought the humanity of unborn children before the public conscience.

We call upon legislators and citizens to examine the brutality of abortion, which takes the lives of 1.2 million children every year, and the mothers who die as well. (The Center for Disease Control reports that about 400 women have died as a result of legal abortions since 1973, and 12 died in 2008, the last time such research was gathered.)

Our church aims to be a place of forgiveness, mercy and healing for all people as we continue to proclaim Christ’s comfort and truth in love. As we move forward following this ruling, we offer up our prayers for women and children in need, for families, that those still participating in the abortion industry would stop, and for our nation.

Additional Information

For more information, contact:

Maggie Karner, director, Life Ministries

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

maggie.karner@lcms.org

888-THE LCMS (843-5267)