Mother’s Day just passed with fair weather and loving celebrations in much of the country. But it was surrounded by a perfect storm.

I was already saying that about the five week trial of notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell and the grisly details of his ‘house of horrors’ revealed in the grand jury report, along with the Live Action undercover videos of other abortion clinics doing late-term abortions, together with the president’s untimely and ill-advised address embracing Planned Parenthood and pledging his fidelity to the abortion giant.

But that was before the three young women held captive for a decade were discovered and rescued, and the horrific details of their captivity became known. So while the Gosnell jury was in the second week of deliberation over such inhumane treatment of women and their babies, the facts about Cleveland abductor/captor Ariel Castro and his own house of horrors started coming out and we learned about his inhumane treatment of young women and the babies they conceived by him, and it was all more than any civilized person could get their mind around.

Which pushed the idea of brutality against innocent human life to the front of our minds and the front page of the news. It’s about time. And especially timely in the week leading up to the celebration of Motherhood.

The CNN report that Ariel Castro repeatedly punched one of his pregnant victims in the stomach to force the miscarriage of an ’aborted fetus’, and that this happened over several different pregnancies, was breathtakingly shocking. That it would lead to murder charges was jaw-dropping. Such a charge meant the declaration, much less recognition, that  ‘terminating a fetus’ is murder. Even though it hinged on the will of the mother, or maybe especially so. Because it focused the attention on what it means to end a human life, and it was a watershed moment.

As we awaited the jury’s verdict in the Gosnell trial, the newly incarcerated Castro faced aggravated murder charges for terminating pregnancies.

Based on the facts of the case, authorities said they intend to seek charges not only for the sexual assaults endured by the victims, but also “each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies.”

That alone is a startling statement. Think about what “each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies” means. We were already thinking about the idea of murdering babies in the Gosnell trial before this news broke. Monday, the Gosnell trial jury returned their verdict.  Guilty, of murdering babies.

A 72-year-old doctor whose abortion clinic was described by prosecutors as a “house of horrors” was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies born alive.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell was acquitted of killing a fourth baby during a late-term abortion in a dirty clinic that served mostly low-income women and teens, and went years without a state inspection.

There’s a saga contained within those two sentences. The horribly filthy clinic required that the grand jury visiting it prior to the trial wear Hazmat suits. How was it not shut down by authorities a long time ago? Because a long time ago state authorities stopped inspecting it, a nationwide problem with abortion clinics. And note that this ‘house of horrors’ served mostly low-income women, minorities and minors. It was far worse than despicable.

Prosecutors said Gosnell delivered the babies alive and killed them by cutting their spines with scissors.

He was also convicted of manslaughter for the death of one of the women who suffered terribly at the hands of this abortionist.

The verdict does not satisfy all critics. Some time before the decision was announced, Pastor Luke Robinson, who was keynote speaker at the 2012 March for Life, told The Washington Times, “The whole health department of Pennsylvania should be on trial for allowing these atrocities.”

Law enforcement officials raided Gosnell’s abortion business in 2010, believing he merely ran a “pill mill,” dispensing prescriptions for narcotics to make a quick buck. What they found shocked and nauseated them.

Inside his “house or horrors,”…they found unsanitized equipment that transmitted STDs between patients, urine- and blood-soaked recliners for post-abortion “recovery,” and dismembered fetal body parts…

The violations filled a 250-page Grand Jury Report.

During his closing argument, Cameron dramatically asked Gosnell, “Are you human?”

The atrocities unfolded with the tacit permission of numerous levels of authority in the government, as well as within the health care and abortion industries.

It has caused some prominent or high-profile ‘pro-choice’ advocates to reconsider their beliefs, starting from their very premise, and the idea of what abortion is.

And then there are entrenched abortion defenders, as this CNN piece reveals. They admit the Gosnell case is terrible…

But that doesn’t mean it sets a precedent, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said.

“The testimony in this case was so graphic and so horrific. It was described literally as a house of horrors taking place in this Philadelphia clinic,” Callan said. “So I think that most objective observers will say that ultimately this will be an isolated case, hopefully, and that it’s simply a case where prosecutors had to act. It had nothing to do with being pro- or anti-abortion.”

Yes, it did. And no, it wasn’t an isolated case. The two are related, as the recent Live Action undercover videos from several abortion clinics reveal. Gosnell was no aberration.

We have arrived at a point where we’re not only reconsidering the reality and terminology of abortion, but the realities of human life itself. And the importance of maternity to a woman’s identity.

Some mothers have become used to apologizing for “just” being stay-at-home moms. At social gatherings, a woman can be introduced as a mother only to receive the stunningly obtuse follow-up question, “Do you work?”

Women representing different strands of feminist thought, including those who distance themselves from any type of feminism, struggle with this tension. I had a unique experience of this several years ago, attending a conference on maternal feminism at Barnard College in New York. Participants were challenged to see if they could agree that, for many women, maternity is a defining part of their identity.

We are at a defining moment. The civil rights movement has extended into today’s pro-life movement and it just gained more ground by fate or providence than it could have by addresses and marches and witnesses, as much as they have continued to advance the cause of human life and dignity. That it happened by horrible high profile crimes against humanity was astonishing and unforeseen. But not unimaginable after forty years of experiencing the logic of abortion carried out, and what it really was all along.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....