The trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell is about much more than the man himself. In a painful way, it brings
America face to face with abortion, which, as the defense argued, is “bloody” and “real.”
For those who have had abortions, it brings them again in touch with a pain that is never really far away,
and it brings them in touch yet again with their need for healing. This is especially true when we see what
the Gosnell case has confronted us with: bodies of babies in bags and cartons in the freezer, severed feet
in jars, some 45 babies retrieved in a raid on the clinic and entrusted to the Philadelphia Medical Examiner.
As Pastoral Director of the world’s largest ministry for
healing after abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard, as well as of the
largest mobilization of those who speak out about their
abortions, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, I
have accompanied countless mothers and fathers on their
journeys of healing. And I have presided over the burials
of many aborted babies.
One of the key moments of that journey of healing after
abortion is when the parents name their child. The moment
is powerful and freeing. Up until then, the child was a victim
of de-humanization. Before we can kill, we have to
dehumanize. “This is not a child,” we lie to ourselves; or we
say, “This is not a child for whom I am responsible right
now.” In these or a thousand other ways, a veil of
dehumanization covers the child; a chasm is introduced between that child’s humanity and our awareness
of our need to respond to it with an unconditional acknowledgement and acceptance. But the time is not
right, the burden too great, and so we keep any semblance of the child’s humanity as far away from our
consciousness as we can.
And that is where the power of the name comes in.
People have names. One of the first things we do when coming into the presence of another person — or
even learning about their existence when apart from their presence — is to inquire as to their name. The
name expresses the person, it invites the presence of the person, it both calls and welcomes the person, it
acknowledges that there is something in common between the person and ourselves, and hence in
receiving their name we offer our own.
Grand Jury Report and heard the witnesses speak of “Baby Boy A,” “Baby Boy B,” Baby C, D, E, F and G.
But now it’s time, in our collective journey through this nightmare, to connect with these children more
directly. It’s time to name the children. We have no evidence that anyone else has given them a name or
was interested in giving them a name. In fact, these babies were brought to an abortion facility to be killed
and then thrown away. The fact that their parents abandoned them does not give us permission to do so.
“Though father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me,” Scripture tells us (Psalm 27:10). “I have
called you by name, you are mine,” the Lord says (Isaiah 43:1). As Pope John Paul II wrote, “God … has
entrusted the life of every individual to his or her fellow human beings, brothers and sisters” (Evangelium
Vitae, 76). From the point of view, then, that we are one human family called into being by God, these
children are also ours. And that’s why we can name them when nobody else has.
This is what Priests for Life has done. On Ascension Thursday, May 9, 2013, a simple ceremony was held
in the chapel at the headquarters of Priests for Life in Staten Island, NY. We heard the Word of God,
prayed for these babies, their families, and those who participated in their deaths. And we then named
them. I chose the name “Adam” for “Baby Boy A,” simply as a reminder that Adam, the first man ever
created, reminds us that in each man — and in each child — all humanity is somehow represented, and
that our response to that one person, whether acceptance or rejection, shapes our response to every
person. I named “Baby Boy B” Michael, to remind us of the struggle between good and evil that rages in our
culture and in our own mind and heart as we choose how we will respond to each person.
Most of the other names are gender-neutral, since we do not have information on the genders of most of
poor, healthy and sick, born and unborn — and by all these babies. We remembered all the babies killed by
Dr. Gosnell, well beyond those found in his clinic, as well as the over 50 million children killed across
America since Roe vs. Wade declared they were not persons.
The names we gave to the 45 babies follow. We invite you to pray for them and their families, and for Dr.
Gosnell and his staff. We look forward, once receiving permission of the Medical Examiner, to give these
children a proper funeral and burial.
Names of the Gosnell Babies
From the Grand Jury Report: “The Philadelphia medical examiner analyzed the remains of 45 fetuses
seized from the clinic. Of these, 16 were first-trimester; 25 were second-trimester, ranging from 12 to 21
weeks; 2 were 22 weeks; 1 was 26 weeks; and 1 was 28 weeks.”
Baby Adam (Baby Boy A, aborted at seven and a half months, six pounds weight)
Baby Alex (Baby C, breathed for 20 minutes after delivery.)
Baby Chris (Baby D — Was delivered into the toilet and was seen swimming there.)
Baby Andy (Baby E — This baby was heard to whine.)
Baby Lou (Baby F — This baby’s leg jerked and moved after being delivered.)
Baby Pat (Baby G)