Among other things the trial of notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell did to jolt cultural awareness of what abortion is and does, it gave us a whole new sense of how we count children who have gone missing in America.

Just after the three young women abducted a decade ago by Ariel Castro were rescued, without neighbors ever realizing they were there and experts not seeing enough evidence to trace their existence, I interviewed International Child Legal Counsel Liz Yore on the topic of missing children and ways to protect our children better. Since then, she’s posted some searing insights on her blog, namely ‘The Other Missing Children.’

In the early 1980s, child advocates jumped on the missing children bandwagon mobilizing the country to search for abducted children. The spate of missing children cases began with the Etan Patz disappearance, and then the Adam Walsh abduction and murder.  The missing children movement mobilized a nation to look for missing children and demand tougher state and federal laws.

Liz does us a favor recalling our history on this, the urgent need and the response.

As a nation, we rejoiced over the recovery and return of missing children and mourned over the death of a missing child. With every high profile case, a new federal law was named after a missing child. First came the Adam Walsh Act, then the Jacob Wetterling Act, and Jessica’s Law, and the Amber Alert, to name just a few…The technology age ushered in new inventions to assist in finding missing children. The Amber Alert flashed missing child alerts on electronic highway billboards along with mobile phone alerts warning the public of an abduction in progress…

The world watched with admiration as America demonstrated that it takes missing children seriously and the statistics proved it. Since the days of milk cartons, the recovery rate of missing children rose from 62% to 97%. But there are millions more missing children, who went missing without a trace or even a mention. They weren’t seen on flyers or on Amber Alerts. They simply disappeared. They had no name. We never saw their faces. Until Now.

Until the 2010 Philadelphia Grand Jury issued its 261 page report on the Kermit Gosnell Abortion Mill on Lancaster Avenue replete with photos of the carnage of aborted babies.

For the first time, the nation saw some of the missing children from an abortion; the babies that survived the extraction and abduction by the abortionist’s instruments and toxic solutions. The photos showed the faces of babies inconveniently born alive from failed abortions. Children born breathing, squirming, crying, and moaning. The photos showed the babies whose spines were snipped so that they would stop breathing and go missing forever. A recent 2010 report found that 1200 babies are born alive from a botched abortions and are left to die or killed in the clinic. Finally, a Grand jury displayed the photos of fully formed babies with their faces were clearly displayed in the Gosnell clinic. The Grand Jury took another step; they named these babies; Baby A, through Baby G.The Grand Jury performed a noble feat. They showed the photos of the babies born alive. The evidence required that they named the victim babies, Baby A-Baby G. To charge a crime, you must name the victim. The profound, but simple act of showing the photo of the face of a born alive baby and naming the newborn acknowledged its existence, its dignity and its humanity.

Every child aborted had a face, a body, a unique set of characteristics, an identity. Seeing the faces and bodies of babies killed in late term abortions forced us to consider what abortion does in any stage of pregnancy. The Gosnell trial forced us to face their humanity.

The grim and staggering statistics of the missing babies from abortions point to an unimaginable failure to protect and recover over 1 million missing children per year and over 54 million gone missing since the Roe decision. Some survive but seldom are they recovered and rescued. So much for America’s missing child success rate.

The curtain has finally been pulled back after 40 long years…

Elie Wiesel, the holocaust survivor understands the power of photos to breakdown the denial of a slaughter. When Wiesel visited the D.C. Holocaust Museum and looked at the photos of the dead bodies of the children piled up in mounds in the concentration camps, he said, “ So many children, I now see the pictures of the children. Why the children? My God, why the children?”

Yes, so many children gone missing from our nation. Surely, 54 million missing from abortion will shock the conscience? They are gone forever. No missing children posters will help find them. No Amber Alert will flash on the highway that they are missing.

Will America pass a law to protect Baby A, like it did in honor of Adam Walsh? Will we honor them on May 25th, Missing Children’s Day? Or will we keep pretending that these babies aren’t missing?

My sense is that this watershed moment won’t allow us, collectively, to go back. Liz told me “it’s time for a paradigm shift.” It’s time to be honest about what abortion is and does. Gosnell’s conviction of killing babies only begins to tell that truth, finally using honest language. Babies have been killed. Gosnell got life. His victims never had that chance.

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....