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Abortion, forever lurking beneath the currents of American life, sometimes roars to the surface. In recent months, the rumble of political realignment and the siren of scandal have combined to reawaken the slumbering giant.

Buoyed by November's gains at the state and federal levels, pro-life legislators have unleashed a flurry of ambitious proposals. Legislation drafted in Nebraska, Kansas, and Ohio looks to topple Roe v. Wade by using new research on fetal development. In Washington, resurgent House Republicans hasten to fortify restrictions on federal abortion funding and to strip taxpayer subsidies from Planned Parenthood. The GOP also seeks to prevent last year's health-care overhaul from harming the unborn.

As these battles rage, new revelations have exposed, once again, a sleazier side of the abortion industry. First, a colossal grand jury report detailed the depredations of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. His alleged peddling of the painkiller Oxycontin put investigators onto the scent. His clinic reeked of cat urine. It was staffed by unlicensed apprentices, spattered with bloodstains, and cluttered with unsterilized instruments and a stockpile of fetal body parts. Prosecutors have charged Gosnell with murder for overmedicating a Nepalese refugee and snipping the spinal cords of seven fully delivered infants.

Yet Lila Rose, the intrepid young activist whose undercover operations have bedeviled Planned Parenthood in recent years, may have inflicted deeper wounds to the abortion industry than the Gosnell story. Her organization, Live Action, recently released covertly captured footage of clinic workers behaving very badly. The videos show a Live Action associate, disguised as the proprietor of an underage prostitution ...

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April 2011

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