Liberals' view of rights is that they are and they ought to be ever-expanding, and so they are proving to be.
First, the Declaration of Independence spoke of the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," for women (and others). Then Roe v. Wade gave them the right to abortion, then the right to late-term abortion, and then, the right to a dead baby afterward.
This last was asserted by then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama, who opposed the Born Alive Act, which would have mandated medical treatment for abortion survivors on the grounds it would have negated the intent of Roe. v. Wade.
The idea was when a woman chose an abortion, she signaled her wish to have a dead baby, and so it should be.
Later, brave souls made attempts to expand this still further, with Barbara Boxer saying a baby had rights when it came "home from the hospital," and bioethicist Peter Singer proposing a right to abort one's postnatal children.
In this sense, Kermit Gosnell, now on trial on multiple charges of homicide, was perhaps the ultimate civil rights activist, pushing women's rights up to the ultimate level, beyond even feminists' dreams.
In the spirit of Boxer, Obama and Singer, Gosnell excelled in helping women so that, when inspectors finally arrived at his clinic, they found fetal parts everywhere, clogging the toilets, hands and feet saved as tokens, in boxes, in jars.
More, he had gone beyond the legal method of dismembering babies while still partly in utero by delivering them and killing them later, usually by "snipping" their spines.
Hundreds of children had died in this manner, and there were still other unsettling things: black and poor clients were given a much lower level of treatment, the office was filthy and patients were treated with a criminal carelessness.
The grand jury report called the practice "a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels, and on at least two occasions, caused their deaths."
Normally, the last two of these charges would have had the civil rights branch of the party in a permanent uproar, but in this case racial equality and women's health were not the priority.
Abortion rights were the priority, even, or especially, when carried to the point of technical murder, for "snipping" the baby before actual birth, or sucking its brains out, is only inches away from the capital crime for which Gosnell is charged.
Abortion is always framed by the Left as a "women's health issue," (though pregnancy is not a disease, and eliminating a fetus is not a health benefit), but when they were faced with a real health disaster, the press and the feminists all looked away.
The problem was not that poor or black women were dying; the fear was that somewhere some state might enact a restriction that might lessen the access to late-term abortion, if the news about this should emerge.
The day the Washington Post ran its first real trial story (on Page 4) the big front-page story was that the state of Virginia might mandate stricter health standards for abortion clinics, this being part of the "war against women" that conservatives allegedly wage constantly.
So the liberals won't fight for the rights of your race or your class, they won't fight for your health, but they'll fight to your death for your right to dead babies.
Can you get more "progressive" than that?
Washington Examiner Columnist Noemie Emery is contributing editor for The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."