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Archbishop Chaput: Babies treated like trash

(Vatican Radio) A Philadelphia jury is scheduled to start a fourth full day of deliberations in the case of a Philadelphia abortion provider charged with multiple counts of murder.

Kermit Gosnell is charged with killing four babies who were born alive at his clinic in West Philadelphia. He also is charged in the 2009 overdose death of a patient.

The trial has put a spotlight on some of the gruesome practices used in late-term abortion, which is legal throughout the United States. However, the story has largely been ignored in the national media.

The Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, said the Gosnell case shows what happens when people become desensitized because of easily available abortion. “After a while we begin to disrespect human life in ways that are just shockingly coarse. And that’s what happened here. They were treating the babies from the womb as though they were pieces of trash.” He explained “it’s a consequence of the fact that we have a growing culture of disrespect for human life as a result of the decision of the Supreme Court here those many years ago.”

Archbishop Chaput said how we treat unborn children reflects on our attitude towards all human life: “If we can treat unborn children this way, it means we’re capable of treating born children this way, and the elderly this way. Unless there’s a deep profound respect for human life at all levels, people will see a gradual disintegration of respect for human life at all.”

He rejected the arguments of pro-abortionists who are trying to use the Gosnell case to argue for increased access to abortion. “Those who favour abortions are using the Gosnell case as an example of why we have to have broader access so that these kind of terrible, dirty abortion clinics won’t exist. They say the reason they do exist is because of laws limiting abortion. Well that’s nonsense!” The Gosnell case, he said, “is clearly a result of cultural change in the United States, where unborn children are treated carelessly, and cruelly, and in a horribly disrespectful kind of way.”

He noted that abortion clinics like that of Kermit Gosnell are not uncommon, pointing to the work of pro-life activist Lila Rose, which has uncovered similar activities in other clinics. “This isn’t an exceptional case. It’s terribly graphic, but even if you clean it up a bit, it’s still terribly wrong, and it’s obviously terribly wrong.”

Archbishop Chaput said he was surprised to find the national media has not been giving extensive coverage to the Gosnell case. He expressed his gratitude for the coverage of the trial in Philadelphia itself, but noted “it does seem like the national media have been eager to ignore this story.” He said “Their resistance to cover it shows the fact that so many involved in the media favour abortion . . . they don’t want anything to get in the way of it, so [they] don’t cover stories that are negative.” It’s surprising, he said, that it hasn’t been getting the attention in our country that something like this usually gets.”

Nonetheless, Archbishop Chaput expressed some hope that the national culture is changing with regard to abortion. He noted that slavery, which was once legal in the country, was gradually outlawed “through the persistence of people who saw it as the terrible crime that it is.” He said, “I just hope the same things happens regarding abortion. We’ll never stop trying to bring this issue up, so that people pay attention to it, and with God’s help, I’m sure we’ll succeed some day in convincing our fellow citizens that this just can’t be.”

Listen to the full interview of Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia with Christopher Wells: RealAudioMP3