Reaction to the guilty verdict of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, convicted of murdering three babies born alive in his clinic, was swift Monday from Christian and pro-life leaders, who while applauded justice being served in Gosnell's case, said there are many more abortions and "Gosnell-like" atrocities to stop across the nation.
"The guilty charge of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, dethroned ruler of 'Gosnell's House of Horrors' may spark justice for more women and babies across America," said Dr. Alveda King, director of African American Outreach for Gospel of Life Ministries. "Justice is served with this verdict, but injustice will continue unless we end abortion in this country. Gosnell was not the only abortionist who killed mothers and their born babies, he was just the one who got caught. Now we have to turn out attention to charging, trying and convicting others like him."
On Monday, Gosnell, 72, was acquitted in the fourth baby's death, but found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of an adult patient. The jury, comprised of seven women and five men, reached a verdict on all 268 charges on the tenth day of deliberations. Gosnell now faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole. A separate set of jurors will reconvene on May 21 to consider whether he should be executed.
Sam Rohrer, president of the Pennsylvania Pastors' Network, a project of Let Freedom Ring, Inc., offered his comments in a statement released by the group shortly after the guilty verdict.
"Today's guilty verdict of Kermit Gosnell is a milestone in the culture of death that America has cultivated since 1973 when Roe v. Wade made abortion legal on demand," Rohrer said. "As we move away from God's Word, there is no compass to point the way toward right and wrong and as a result, people have gone astray and have been led astray by evil.
"In our day when death threatens the life of the unborn, and increasingly, unthinkably, even those babies who are born alive, there is no other good choice but to rely on God's Word as the only source for truth and confidence on the subject of the sanctity of all human life.
"When a nation and its people obey God's commands they will have life, liberty, prosperity, and God's blessing. But when the people don't believe God's Word is sufficient and replace God with themselves, or look to government to do what only God can do, a nation declines and freedom and life are lost."
Author and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., was one of several Christian leaders voicing their opinions of the verdict on Twitter.
After the court announcement he tweeted: "#Gosnell verdict #FirstDegreeMurder. He's not the only guilty one. May all repent and receive God's forgiveness," and "Speak up for those who cant speak for themselves; defend the rights of those who cant defend themselves Prov31:8 #babies"
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly also issued a statement Monday.
"The proceedings were filled with gruesome and horrific details, including charges that Mr. Gosnell murdered children born alive," Daly said. "The more I learned of what happened inside that clinic, the more my heart was rubbed raw.
"To be clear, the guilty verdict elicits no glee. But what we saw inside the courtroom was an expose of evil, and it always benefits society to bring wickedness to light. The victims of Gosnell's crimes join the sad and long roll of more than 50 million children aborted in America since 1973. The United States is an infinitely poorer nation without these precious lives, each person unique and loved by the God who made them."
Daly said he believed that for too long, too many have viewed abortion as a clinically sterile procedure. "It is anything but. For too long, too many have been so obsessed with the 'right' to abortion that they've thought very little about the pain to the people involved, and chosen to ignore what actually goes on before, during and after the abortion itself.
"This trial has helped changed that," he explained.
"It should be the prayer of all people that what happened at the Gosnell clinic the Gosnell trial will ultimately serve as a turning point in the ongoing effort to promote the beauty and protection of all life," Daly said.
"The innocents must not die in vain. And as a Christian, in trying to understand evil in the world, I cling to the cross. Jesus willingly carried His cross to Calvary because He so hated evil that He was willing to die for you and for me – and yes, for Kermit Gosnell, to save us from an eternity separated from God," he concluded.