William F. B. O'Reilly is a Republican consultant.
No one wants to talk about abortion in America.
At least regular people don't.
We want the issue to go away or we want it to be settled law. Anything so we can stop talking about it.
We want abortion to be anywhere but in our mind's eye. Behind an ivory clinic door where no one but a woman and a doctor have to know about it.
We want to tie a bow around Roe v. Wade and call it progress. No matter what the new 3-D sonograms show.
Then a horror story like Philadelphia comes along and threatens to break our collective trance.
La, la, la. How 'bout them Mets?
Even the Boston bombing comes as cruel relief to those unwillingly learning the details of what happened behind the doors of a Philadelphia abortion clinic. Three confirmed dead in a wanton terrorist attack, including an 8-year-old boy. More than 100 wounded. And yet Boston is somehow an easier story to watch. It's easier to read even about terrorism than about sadism and infanticide.
In Philadelphia, a Dr. Kermit Gosnell is on trial for murdering seven babies and one patient at the abortion clinic he operated. Gosnell butchered the babies, according to testimony, because they had the temerity to survive his attempt to kill them in the womb. God help those children after they breathed air into their lungs. If you shut your eyes and listened to the trial transcript, you could confuse it for excerpts of the Josef Mengele trial. I forced myself to look at a post mortem photo of one infant who had initially survived Gosnell's abortion. I wish I hadn't.
La, la, la.
The Gosnell trial is the kind of news we don't want to hear about. It is painful and inconvenient. No one wants to think about late-term abortions, survivable abortions. They begin to unravel that tightly tied bow. Fewer want to get involved in the issue because it would make us one of "those people."
Northeast Republicans like me certainly don't. Enter the fray and be tagged an "anti-choice extremist." It'll cost us 10 points in an election, so we look away. We say things like "it's the deficit, stupid." We pretend not to know about the extremism going on inside clinic walls across America. We whisper to each other privately about the videos of babies in the womb smiling, laughing and scratching their noses at 20 weeks.
Something doesn't add up, but it's settled law. The issue is decided. Right?
Pro-choice groups definitely aren't talking about Philadelphia. Not one peep. They must be glued to the Boston story.
The Philadelphia story -- this Philadelphia story -- has been so ignored that it's become famous for it, thanks to brave Daily Beast columnist Kirsten Powers, a former Democratic consultant. She took on the media for its failure to cover the story, and slowly the empty press section at the trial began to fill up. It's hard to blame the press, though. No wanted to hear the bury-your-face-in-your-hands facts of the case anyway.
Then Boston happened. A horrific story in its own right. Just in the nick of time.
William F. B. O'Reilly is a Newsday columnist and a Republican political consultant.