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. Why not? A missing child is every parent’s nightmare and the public demanded that law enforcement ramp up its response and efforts to address this rising crime. In the early days of the movement, milk cartoons displayed the photos of missing children, but they were quickly replaced by flyers which displayed the key evidence, the face and name of the missing child.
Soon a television program emerged with America’s first victim parent, John Walsh, featuring missing children. The states and federal government created hotlines for the public to report any sightings of missing children. President Reagan declared May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day. 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.
Every imaginable resource was used to distribute the missing child’s photo. Even coupons, like the Advo card “have you seen me” assisted in locating missing children. 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. Technological advances improved recoveries with the “age progression” software to age the face of long term missing children. And it worked! The public armed with the flyers and alerts helped law enforcement locate and save these missing children.
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%. The public is credited as the eyes and ears of law enforcement, the secret partner who calls in tips regarding missing children. The United States demonstrated to the world how to mobilize for missing children! Those photos of missing children are seared in our memories. Of the 800,000 children that go missing each year, most are recovered and returned home. We remember those that didn’t come home, those that were murdered and buried by their abductor. We remember them because we remember their lives, that innocent precious face, often a school photo, that is papered in store windows, on telephone poles, highways, trees, and trucks.
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.
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. The Gosnell trial and Live Action videos expose the missing children since Roe v. Wade. For 40 years these children were hidden, disposed of, concealed from view without a face, without a name. The nation’s collective denial, fortified by a complicit media blackout, guaranteed that we would never see these missing children. Out of sight, out of mind.
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?
The gory and gruesome photos of the babies in Gosnell clinic are a powerful reminder of the reality of abortion. It is time that America reclaim its soul and courage and in the words of Elie Wiesel and the missing children of his generation,
“Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.”
© Elizabeth Yore-2013 All Rights Reserved.
Elizabeth Yore spent her 30 year legal career working on missing children’s cases in the United States and around the world. She is the former Special Counsel at Harpo, Inc. where she served as Oprah Winfrey’s Child Advocate. She was also the former General Counsel at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and General Counsel at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Twitter: @elizabethyore. www.Yorechildren.com