Says Megan McArdle. She rejects the excuse that it's not a national issue — that murder is a matter for state law. I would say that there are plenty of general policy issues you can extract from that story — at least as many as we get from the Newtown murders and the George Zimmerman case (to name 2 stories that have received massive national press).
The linked piece dithers, but I think it's a confession that she just didn't want to have to think about it. It was squeamishness and a political commitment to abortion rights that she didn't want rumpled.
Let's talk about the morality of the seen and the unseen. This is a shallow morality that infects our lives. If the human entity is inside the womb, and it is cut into pieces that is one thing, but if it's "partially born" so that a nurse sees it clenching and unclenching its fists as it meets its demise, it's another. And if it slips entirely out, and everyone sees a living child and then the doctor severs its spine, then everyone is supposed to know it's murder. From the inside, these deaths are all the same. But no one sees from the inside of that now-dead brain. Why not shine a bright light on Kermit Gosnell and yell monster? Make it clear to everyone that you think he is so different from properly professional abortionists.
If you don't, you reveal that you have a nagging suspicion that he is not. And that's the one thing you don't want anyone to see.
IN THE COMMENTS: Matthew Sablan says:
The thing is, you don't even have to frame the story about abortion. I fully acknowledge Gosnell is probably not what most abortion providers do. It needs to be framed as another example of how the state failed to protect its people.I respond:
I agree that's the way those who support abortion rights should cover it. But why did they not jump at the opportunity to display so vividly that health care services to the poor (or to women) are not what they should be and no one cares?
They didn't want to risk that. There's a deep fear — true shame — about this other matter that I'm talking about.