The battle over abortion has been unceasing in the United States ever since the Jan. 22, 1973, Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
It has been couched in terms from the religious to the scientific, from the meaning of life itself to the right to self-sovereignty of women.
But the battle should not be affected by the abomination to humanity known by the name of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.
Gosnell was found guilty of first-degree murder this week in Philadelphia in the deaths of three babies born alive and stabbed with scissors in his filthy little clinic.
And while the temptation is there to use Gosnell as a reason to lay bare the anger and frustration in the debate by either pro-life or pro-abortion forces, it shouldn't be.
There is something endemically wrong, and well outside the scope of the law, in killing living, breathing babies just a few weeks short of full term. No one should think of a breathing human outside the womb as anything less than a living, breathing human being. Neither side of the debate should feel slighted by that most basic admission of the value of human life.
Nor should the anger and frustration usually expressed on either side of the debate find fault with the plea deal that spared the 72-year-old Gosnell's life, though he will spend what's left of it behind a prison's walls.
Because in the end, Gosnell's actions were an absolute abomination to humanity. They have nothing to do with what is considered a legal abortion in the United States, nor should the fact that they happened be blamed on the regulation of abortion because the U.S. does not provide an absolute right to kill the unborn.
These weren't the awful specter of the "partial birth abortion" that has been debated in Washington, either.
And, though Gosnell tries to paint a self-image as a minority leader, this is no race relations issue either. People of all colors want their children to live, to be healthy, to have a chance at a full life once outside the womb.
It is only a profit-driven mind without a moral compass that can find anything but murder in the stabbings of premature newborns.
And that is the only issue one can find in Dr. Kermit Gosnell's life and the deaths of the babies he slaughtered.
That is significance enough to this abhorrent case.
To do more is to polarize an already all-or-nothing-at-all debate beyond the rationalities of science or the beliefs of religion.