Dr. Kermit Gosnell in his attorney's office in Philadelphia.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell in his attorney's office in Philadelphia. Credit: AP/Philadelphia Daily News, Yong Kin, 2010

With Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell convicted on three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies and on a count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a former patient, abortion is back in the national discussion.

It's pretty clear from the grand jury report that, during Gosnell's 30-plus years, he likely murdered hundreds, if not thousands, of babies. But because of the difficulty in documenting it all, he was just convicted of three.

Reports are coming in from around the nation indicating that more Gosnells are out there.

The abortion lobby claims that as long as we have tight regulations on abortion, a black market will exist. Abortion, they argue, is like any product or service that consumers want and government prohibits or overregulates. If they can't get what they want legally, they will get it illegally.

We also hear that we get Gosnells when government refuses to pay for the abortions of poor women. The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits Medicaid compensation for abortion, makes unsafe abortion inevitable, they say.

According to this reasoning, poor women -- desperate because of an unwanted pregnancy, pressed because regulations and costs make abortion difficult to get -- turn to sleazebag doctors who will do it cheaply, with no regard for the woman, the law or safety.

But it is ironic that those who call themselves "pro-choice" argue that the only alternatives facing low-income women are unsafe abortions done by sleazebags or government-subsidized abortions.

There is another choice, but those who call themselves pro-choice don't want women, particularly poor women, to consider it.

This option is called birth.

When conservatives talk about a culture of responsibility, we're not just talking about the personal responsibility of the individual in trouble. We're talking about the responsibility the rest of us have toward that individual.

There are now thousands of crisis pregnancy centers operating nationwide. They work with pregnant women in trouble and provide them the services they need to have their children. They provide ultrasound, parental counseling, life-management counseling, help with the physical needs of the mother and child and, if need be, help with adoption services.

Unwanted pregnancies often are the result of loneliness, fear and a lack of information. Crisis pregnancy centers deal with all this.

The left and its abortion-rights activists have an interesting concept of a culture of responsibility. That is to promote a culture that detaches sex from love and responsibility, that minimizes the central importance of family, that justifies youth sex, promiscuity and the "hook-up" culture. In short, a culture that encourages people to relate to each other in the same callous way as it encourages women to relate to the unborn children that often result from it all.

Then they want taxpayers, other people, to foot the bill.

Is it any wonder we are drowning in debt? It's directly the result of this culture of entitlement.

Planned Parenthood, which rakes in hundreds of millions in the abortion business, actively discourages women from going to crisis pregnancy centers. On its website, it calls these centers "fake clinics . . . (that) have a history of giving women wrong, biased information."

These crisis pregnancy centers are financed and run by committed Christian Americans, where often women -- often for the first time in their lives -- experience love and meaning.

It is not a given that we must live in a country of promiscuity, unwanted pregnancies and abortion. We do have choice.

We can reprogram the destructive culture that we have created and in which we now live.

Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education, in Washington, and a columnist for Scripps Howard News Service.