Happy autumn! Herewith a few odds and ends from my notebook.

Un-packing the Court

As I write this, the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is still up in the air. Whatever my preferences and my views of the current uproar, I have my doubts about the ability of 51 Republicans to agree on anything in this environment. So suppose the first Monday in October arrives with only eight Justices. Then what?

Not a constitutional crisis, if the period between the death of Antonin Scalia and the commissioning of Neil Gorsuch is any indication. Would it be better for an appellate court to have a full bench? Sure. Perhaps with only eight justices, the Court would slow the pace of its decisions in order to avoid tie votes. Perhaps certiorari would be denied in more cases. The people whose cases are past the Circuit Court of Appeals stage and who are seeking a SCOTUS hearing have reason to be concerned.

I’m curious to know if any case dear to the hearts of anti-Kavanaugh forces is in the pipeline. I don’t know the answer, but I wonder if delay in confirming a ninth justice might have unintended consequences for someone who now considers an open seat a victory of sorts.

“Gosnell” Film Opens October 12

During the recent Values Voter Summit in Washington, I attended a pre-release screening of the feature film “Gosnell,” which will premiere in theaters on Friday, October 12. This is the dramatization of the story of Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell, sentenced in 2013 to life in prison for the deaths of a woman and three born-alive children.

The movie is outstanding. Find it, watch it, and tell your friends about it. The film’s producers had a hard time getting a distribution deal. Even now, theater operators are apparently finding themselves under pressure not to show the movie. The list of premiere theaters had two Massachusetts listings a week ago; that list is down to one.

“Gosnell” is about the police and investigators who stumbled over evidence of Gosnell’s crimes. Some were pro-choice, others not, still others had no strong feelings about abortion one way or the other. What they all agreed on was that homicide was a crime, and that Gosnell had a trail of bodies behind him. The film shows how they saw the case through.

An Upbeat Book: “Turning Misery into Ministry”

And now for something completely different. Tony Agnesi is a Catholic writer and speaker whose “Storyteller’s Guides” feature short essays about putting belief into practice. His newest guide, subtitled “Turning Misery into Ministry,” is refreshing and edifying. Easy reading, real-life stories, practical advice: a nice change from politicsTony Agnesi. Here’s my full review. Check out Tony’s web site as well.

Four years ago today, a jury was deliberating the fate of Kermit Gosnell. That trial ended with Gosnell serving life in prison for murder and manslaughter.

Today, a GOP-majority Congress, with a GOP president looking on, can’t agree on when or how to prevent taxpayer funds from going to abortion providers.

What does the spine-snipping abortionist have to do with abortion funding? Only this: a member of Congress who remembers Gosnell’s crimes with disgust is unlikely to support sending tax dollars to an abortion industry that fights regulation.  Conversely, a member of Congress who supports tax funding of abortion providers, or who is indifferent to that funding, is someone who has forgotten or ignored the crimes of Kermit Gosnell and his many enablers.

While the Gosnell trial was going on in Pennsylvania, abortion-related legislation was being considered in my own state. I remember a representative of NARAL dismissing Gosnell as an “outlier.” There was no need to tighten up  abortion regulation, said the lobbyist, since there were no Gosnells in our fair state (she said). Representatives of local abortion providers echoed the “outlier” line.

To this day, my state has no limit on when abortions may be performed or who may perform them. There’s no law requiring treatment of infants who survive attempted abortion. There’s no requirement for abortion facilities to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical facilities. There’s no collection of abortion statistics, including statistics on maternal morbidity and mortality, and therefore no way to spot an abortion provider who injures women the way Gosnell did.

Every attempt to pass laws to prevent future Gosnells has been resisted by lobbyists for the abortion industry. And still, there are elected officials belonging to a nominally pro-life party who can’t quite figure out how to keep that industry from picking my pocket. I don’t let state officials off the hook, either; they’re the ones who award state contracts to abortion providers.

I hear the nervous whispers from officeholders who buy the 3% lie: but these agencies do so much good…

Spare me. An agency that lobbies against laws to protect women’s health and safeguard children who survive attempted abortion is not “doing good.”

I understand the nature of budgets and the need for consensus and prudence. This anniversary, though, this reminder of Gosnell, renders me impatient to see an end to public funding of abortion providers.

(While I’m mentioning Gosnell, allow me to recommend the recent book Gosnell: the Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer by Ann McElhinney & Phelim McAleer. It’s not just about Kermit Gosnell. The authors make sure that the people who helped bring him to justice get their due.)

Ellen Kolb writes at EllenKolb.com and blogs about life issues in New Hampshire at Leaven for the Loaf.
Support independent journalism by hitting Da Tip Jar for Da Tech Guy Blog.