The twitterverse was abuzz Friday with celebrities, politicians and pro-life advocates using #Gosnell on Twitter and Facebook to shame the national media for refusing to cover the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell and his "House of Horrors," the West Philadelphia Women's Medical Society abortion clinic.
Pro-life advocates Bryan Kemper, the youth director of Priests for Life, and Andy Moore of AbortionWiki, came up with the idea to get #Gosnell trending on social media by asking participants to post details about the Gosnell trial to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, and contact the media to ask them why they're not covering the case.
Kemper told The Christian Post Friday evening that a friend had asked him if he thought he could get #Gosnell trending on Twitter, and "from that I thought of having a 'TweetFest' and contacted Andy Moore who I collaborate with a lot."
"We talked at about midnight on Wednesday and within an hour the Facebook event was created and we started to invite people," he said about the online movement that was sponsored by Operation Rescue, Priests for Life, Stand True and AbortionWiki, from noon to midnight on Friday. "We ramped up the efforts yesterday and it seemed to take off like wildfire as major pro-life organizations started promoting it also. It was truly a show of unity in the pro-life movement."
Gosnell, 72, faces seven counts of first-degree murder for allegedly killing babies who were born alive, outside the womb; and one count of third-degree murder for the death of Karnamaya Monger, a 41-year-old refugee who died in 2009, from a Demerol overdose administered to her at the abortion clinic that he owned and operated for 40 years.
According to the prosecution, before the death of Monger, Gosnell had performed more than 200 illegal late-term abortions.
Since the murder trial started in March, there have been no mentions of it on NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, or PBS Newshour. CNN and National Public Radio have each mentioned it once. Exceptions to this media blackout are the more conservative Fox News and local media in Philadelphia, where the trial is taking place, as well as local media in Delaware, where Gosnell also worked part-time at an abortion clinic in Wilmington.
Actress Patricia Heaton's Friday afternoon tweet about the murder trial was retweeted by 5,495 followers. She wrote: "Media treats footballer's imaginary girlfriend as real, treats murdered babies in Philly abortion clinic as imaginary. #Gosnell"
Other people who tweeted messages of support include Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
"The first to grab my attention was Patricia Heaton," Kemper said. "I was stoked about her tweeting. When Anderson Cooper tweeted that he was reading the grand jury transcripts and referred to Gosnell as 'house of horrors,' I knew it was working. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and so many more were tweeting #Gosnell and I just kept smiling all day knowing we had done something that made a difference. Then, the pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and Salon started tweeting and actually blaming what happened with Gosnell on pro-lifers, and I knew it was a grand slam."
Kemper also said he's not surprised by the lack of media attention to the Gosnell murder trial. "I expect nothing less, seeing how they ignore 400,000 people at the March for Life every year."
After seeing the masses speak out against the media's failure to cover the grotesque crimes committed at Gosnell's clinic, Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, told Erik Wemple of the same newspaper: "We believe the story is deserving of coverage by our own staff, and we intend to send a reporter for the resumption of the trial next week. In retrospect, we should have sent a reporter sooner."
Wemple added: "That's something. Still waiting on the three big broadcast networks and the New York Times."
Because of the horrific conditions found in Gosnell's late-term abortion clinic, in 2011 the Pennsylvania legislature passed a law that requires abortion clinics to improve their safety and cleanliness standards.
"Now most clinics in the state are held to the same standards as outpatient surgery centers. That means abortion clinics must have doors and elevators that can accommodate a stretcher in case something goes wrong," according to KPBS, which reported last month that Planned Parenthood clinics are required to pay for "expensive remodeling," to meet the state's new safety requirements.
CEO Dayle Steinberg told KPBS that Planned Parenthood was required to install hands-free sinks, seamless floors that are easier to clean, and to build a room to house sterilization equipment.
Steinberg lamented that the upgrades to the Planned Parenthood clinics in Pennsylvania cost the business $450,000, and said the new safety standards passed by lawmakers were "really about increasing the cost for abortion providers … [and] did nothing to improve services for women at her abortion clinics."
Kemper told CP that his TweetFest goal was simple – it was to "get the world talking about abortion and the gruesome reality of what abortion is. The more we talk about this, the closer we come to ending it. I, of course, wanted to see #Gosnell trending, but to see it at No. 1 almost all day was special."
"I can promise you this: This generation has survived Roe v. Wade, Roe v. Wade will not survive this generation."
In his grand jury report District Attorney R. Seth Williams revealed that the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services hadn't inspected Gosnell's abortion clinic since 1993.
The criminal case against Gosnell began on March 18 and is expected to continue into May.