Late Term Abortionist Kermit Gosnell and the Banality of Evil

By Fr. Marcel Guarnizo | May 2, 2013 | 2:37pm EDT

"Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes─crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure─reach the light of day." - Sophie Scholl of the White Rose-German dissident, decapitated by the Nazis, February 22, 1943.

It would serve us well, as more and more of the unspeakable acts of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell come to light, to recall the thesis of Hannah Arendt in her 1963 book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.

Arendt's thesis was that people who carry out unspeakable crimes, such as those committed by Adolf Eichmann, who implemented  the final solution of the Nazi death camps, were not all psychotic and crazed individuals. They are, rather, exactly what a person becomes when he or she has accepted the logic and practice of a state and a society that has determined that it is licit to exterminate some members of the human species for the convenience of others. Gosnell is not unique, not an aberrant case, not a "lone shooter." He is a horrifying microcosm of what has been taking place in America for four decades.

Gosnell is not alone. Planned Parenthood is the iconic example of crimes against the unborn on a massive scale. Late term abortionist Leroy Carhart in Germantown, Maryland, is substantially no different than Gosnell. Todd Stave and Nancy Samuels from Potomac, Maryland-owners of Carhart's abortion center (who sponsor and profit from Carhart's killing) are all part of what was appropriately called by John Paul II, "the culture of death," in America.

Lila Rose and Live Action have more than sufficiently documented Planned Parenthood's mass murder. Their videos and documentation will remain as a shocking testimonial for future generations of what America was willing to tolerate in our age. Live Action's most recent expose on the abortion industry has shown that infanticide is anything but rare in America.

It is high time that we realize that the crisis of our times is first and foremost a moral and cultural crisis of enormous proportions.

The crimes of abortion are made possible by a broad network of complicity. Kermit Gosnell and Leroy Carhart are but telling reflections of the neglect of authorities at many levels and a population that has become so dormant and lethargic, that it has trouble recognizing murder when it is staring them right in the face.

Our response to the massive abuse against life is so disproportional to the crimes being committed that it has allowed in our society the growth of what John Paul II called veritable "structures of sin." Our silence and inaction amounts to complicity in this matter. We allow these killing centers in our neighborhoods, near our churches, and next door to our schools, as if they were part of the forces of civilization.

Abortion is not medical care and abortionists are not doctors. They are rather what the corruption of the science of medicine looks like. Abortion corrupts everything it touches.

Abortion is also creating an enormous democratic deficit in the United States, one that is delegitimizing the state and the courts that are part of the legal and political structure that keeps abortion functioning in America. Until we theoretically grasp the illegitimacy of laws that support abortion and the verdicts that decriminalize it, we will fail to have a robust and foundational understanding of democracy.

In legitimate democracy, not all things are subject to a political debate, vote, or deliberation. Whether some should live or die is not the proper subject of a democratic referendum or deliberation by any court of justice. Referenda on whether unalienable rights are to be preserved or eliminated are not only morally illicit, but are profoundly anti-democratic. It should be firmly locked in our thinking that no human being has any jurisdiction assigned by democracy to vote on who shall live and who shall die. The right to life is not something that is morally within our power as citizens to deny to any member of the human species, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, size, or stage of development. Unalienable rights are beyond the legitimate jurisdiction of voters. Courts lose legitimacy when they claim authority over things beyond their legitimate reach.

When did our Presidents and their cohorts, or the court of the Nine, become accepted as the Caesars of old? When did we come to believe that they have the right to signal thumbs up or thumbs down on whether an innocent human being in the womb should live or be executed? What legitimacy remains in a court without an antecedent rectification in positive law of the previous abuses committed by their decisions vis-à-vis the unborn?

It is astonishing that, as of late, "the political strategists" think nothing of speaking on national television, about how we must rid ourselves of those "pesky social issues" in order to win elections. These "pseudo philosophers" of our age, must be forcefully rebuked. Their "bean counting skills" to win elections are of no use in this crisis. Their crafty counsel and carefully chosen words, leave-always-the stench of death in the room.

That we have a President who promotes the death culture at home and internationally is one of the explanations for the present extraordinary push worldwide against the unborn, marriage, and the family. Think what we have become, when the President of the United States agrees to be the keynote speaker at Planned Parenthood-Planned Parenthood, an institution that has single-handedly killed more innocent human beings perhaps than any other institution in the history of mankind. The fact that the tax payers of America, still have their hard earned money paying for these murders, should really cause us to think whether our reaction to the death culture is proportionate to the crimes being committed.

It is no surprise that President Obama remains mute on the Gosnell trial. As an Illinois state senator he voted twice for infanticide.

Planned Parenthood is nothing more than a criminal organization, which systematically and brutally takes the lives of the unborn and profits from the desperation and fear of women. Planned Parenthood's "crocodile tears" over the Gosnell atrocities are simply a means to diffuse attention from the fact that they are guilty of the same crimes-the extermination of a whole class of innocent human beings. Planned Parenthood's singular "complaint" against Gosnell is not that he kills babies for a living, but rather his lack of greater "professionalism" when murdering the innocent. Why can he not kill in a more sanitized manner? Why must he cause such a bloody mess every time he butchers a baby? Why must he draw attention to our lethal "business practices"?

As the mass media is finally forced to cover Gosnell's horrible murders, the Holocaust image of abortion is finally becoming a reality in the American imagination. Gosnell is the case making the news, but there is no difference among Gosnell, Germantown late-term abortion doctor Leroy Carhart, and Todd Stave and Nancy Samuels, the owners of Carhart's abortion clinic. Each is a part of the callous, calculating, money-hungry machine, prepared to kill unborn children or make possible the death of the unborn. It is this that should be the foundational thing that horrifies us about Gosnell. Otherwise, we will still not have learned the lesson.

Have we forgotten, already? Not even two months have gone by since Carhart was implicated in the death of one of his abortion clients, Jennifer Morbelli, 29, thirty-three weeks pregnant. While Jennifer and her baby girl died in Shady Grove Hospital, Carhart's sponsors, Todd Stave and Nancy Samuels, continued to live the life of the innocent and blameless in neighboring Potomac, Maryland. Their children continued to go to school, just as the children of Nazi SS camp commander Rudolph Hoss lived and grew up in the midst of the mass extermination in Auschwitz. When I told Todd Stave that Carhart had just been involved in the death of another woman, his two-word response was: "stuff happens."

The banality of evil lives on in America.

Until the Gosnell scandal, Leroy Carhart was perhaps America's most notorious late term abortionist. I charged Leroy Carhart, early on, with being the "Butcher of Germantown" and the name has stuck. The Holocaust image is no hyperbole. The appellation was historically based and was meant to illustrate the reality of who Carhart is. The infamous Nazi criminal Klaus Barbie was known as the "Butcher of Lyon" and it has been estimated he was responsible for the murder of over 14,000 people. The "Butcher of Germantown," Leroy Carhart, by his own count, has killed with his own hands over 20,000 babies. He is a circuit rider, as he spends his week shuttling among three states, in order to maximize his killing.

Even technically, the abortion industry emulates the horrific crimes of the not-so-distant past-for instance, the use of lethal poison to destroy its victims. "The Butcher of Germantown," even encountered some of the same technical difficulties Auschwitz Commandant Rudolph Höss experienced and testified about at the Nuremberg Tribunal. "Technically it wasn't so hard-it would not have been hard to exterminate even greater numbers.... The killing itself took the least time. You could dispose of 2,000 head in half an hour," Höss wrote in his affidavit to the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1946. "But it was the burning that took all the time."

As I have related before, Leroy Carhart had to install his own personal incinerator at his abortion mill to burn the cadavers of his victims. This, after a journalist took a picture of a dog consuming the body of one of the aborted babies in the public incinerator (where Carhart previously disposed of the infants' corpses).

This should be the image that comes to mind when we think of Planned Parenthood and the abortionists-not fancy dinners and flowing glasses of champagne with President Obama. No, rather a ravenous beast consuming our children.

We have an equally vivid image of Gosnell dealing with the same "problems." In Gosnell's house of horrors, babies were stuffed down the toilet, put in shoe boxes, decapitated, and dismembered. There were body parts, blood, and death everywhere. What else do we need, to recognize that abortion is but the whole-scale massacre of an unprotected group of Americans (for they are born on our soil)?

Someday, future generations will gaze in amazement at pictures which will be shown publicly for the record, of bishops and cardinals gleefully socializing with politicians engaged in keeping the abortion industry alive and well in America. The complete silence of so many, the open door policies of our churches to those who openly call "good evil and evil good," the easy distribution of Holy Communion to such people, and the hollow rationalizations, will all come back to haunt us, some day. Future generations will then ask of us, "What were you thinking? What were you doing after 1973?" These are precisely the same questions that haunted so many Germans when their children and grandchildren asked, "What were you doing during the war?"

Unfortunately, those who have fought valiantly for the abolition of abortion, may not be remembered so easily. And so much of the complicity of the media and their political cohorts, will one day be left bare for all to see how systematic was the effort to keep a nation in darkness and ignorant of the real horrors of abortion.

The prolife forces have indeed become the new Abolitionist forces in America. And they should know, study, and understand the great movements of civil disobedience which historically achieved so much to reverse discrimination in our travailed human history.

Civil disobedience was aided by prayer, but prayer was the means to strengthen the soul of the Abolitionists. Prayer was the means to prepare them to be willing to pay the price, to atone at great financial and personal risk, for the terrible evils that were afflicting humanity. We are called to pray but perhaps so that we may muster the courage that grace gives, to say in action, "No more. Never again."

Gosnell, Carhart, Todd Stave, Nancy Samuels and the thousands of others involved in this wicked industry should cause us to examine, whether our souls have become so desensitized that we are being lulled to sleep and ultimately consumed by the banality of evil.

Editor's Note: Rev. Marcel Guarnizo is a philosopher, theologian, and activist involved cultural issues in Europe and the United States.

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