'Disappearing' Dr. Kermit Gosnell
The story was under-reported when it happened. Now the movie is being deliberately hidden.
“There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets.” —what FBI and Pennsylvania Department of Health officials stated they saw upon raiding the abortion clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Feb. 18, 2010
“Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” premiered last Friday. It chronicles the shockingly true story of a man convicted of murder for killing babies born alive following abortions, involuntary manslaughter for the death of 41-year-old Nepalese refugee Karnamaya Mongar following a botched abortion procedure, and several felony counts for performing late-term abortions past the 24 week gestation limit imposed by Pennsylvania law. In 2013, Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Like the vastly under-reported story it was when it occurred, the same American leftists and their media allies who view abortion as something akin to a religious sacrament hope the movie suffers a similar fate.
In fact, leftists have attempted to abet that scenario. Indie movie producers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, who turned their own best-selling book into the movie, were banned from raising funds for it at crowdsourcing giant Kickstarter. National Public Radio refused to run sponsored ads for it because organization’s legal department laughingly asserted that describing Gosnell as an “abortionist” in those ads violated the network’s “value-neutral” agenda. And Facebook, which routinely denies accusations of bias against conservatives, banned advertising for it altogether.
After Kickstarter declined the use of its platform, McAleer and McElhinney turned to crowdfunding site IndieGoGo. The “crowd” responded with a record-setting $2.37 million.
Yet they still weren’t out of the woods. Despite the book’s popularity — conspicuously ignored by The New York Times, which refused to list it on its bestseller nonfiction list, even when it was No. 3 on Amazon’s bestseller list, and No. 1 on its “Hot New Release” list — some actors walked off the project. Film distributors remained hesitant. “Each one would say: ‘Great, important film — just too controversial for us,’” Phelim McAleer stated in an interview with The Federalist. “It’s been one thing after another.”
And after finally securing national release last year, Judge Jeffrey Minehart, who presided over Gosnell’s trial, filed a suit to block its release, insisting he was portrayed “as a villain in their story of the righteous versus the wicked.”
“All we can say about that is that it was resolved,” McElhinney tells The Federalist. “Unfortunately, that’s all we can say.”
In an interview with Life News, film director Nick Searcy, who also directed “The Shape of Water,” took issue with the idea that the film is an anti-abortion screed. “We all agreed we did not want to make a polemical movie,” he said. “I have always despised and rejected movies that tried to tell me what to think about a given story, rather than just telling me the story and letting me decide.”
So what kind of movie did he make? “We did not make a pro-life movie or a pro-choice movie,” he explained. “We made a movie about a crime that happened. No matter what side you are on, you can watch this movie.”
Perhaps. But pro-abortion leftists have long disdained anti-abortionists’ efforts to show graphic images of the procedure, or those of fetal development to the public, and/or ultrasounds to pregnant women. And when activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt caught Planned Parenthood executives on tape discussing the buying and selling of fetal parts, leftists were not only outraged, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed felony charges against them for filming people without their permission. The charges were ultimately dismissed, but the message is clear: When the topic is abortion, leftists will pursue any means necessary to prevent the public from becoming fully informed.
Even more so with regard to Gosnell. In a 2013 column entitled “What I Saw at the Gosnell Trial,” J.D. Mullane revealed that what happened at Gosnell’s clinic transcended the worst of Hollywood horror films. “Tiny severed feet and hands stored in jars over a sink in the ‘procedure’ room,” and babies who survived an abortion, only to have their spinal cords severed and their brains removed by suction, were “placed in a waste bin for disposal,” he reported.
That procedure is euphemistically referred to as a “snip.” Stephen Massof, one of Gosnell’s fellow butchers, testifying at the trial in exchange for a plea bargain where he was charged with “only” two instances of third-degree murder, described it as “literally a beheading — it is separating the brain from the body.”
The movie pulls no punches, depicting severed feet stored in jars in the freezer, medical waste bags filled with fetal remains, and a quick look at the late-term aborted fetuses recovered from Gosnell’s abortion factory, lined up on an autopsy table awaiting further examination. Much of the screen play is pulled word-for-word from grand jury testimony and the trial itself, including a warning from the judge to the prosecutor not to politicize abortion rights in any way — even as a scene shows the state health inspector admitting that, despite complaints, Gosnell’s clinic remained unreviewed for 15 years because the state governor’s office did exactly that: Abortion clinics were explicitly exempted from scrutiny.
The film also shows something just as damning. “The movie is as much an exposé of the media as it is of abortion,” McElhinney stated in an interview with NewsBusters last June. “The media who ignored the story will have to explain to millions of people who will see the movie why they censored this story.”
No, they won’t. A mainstream media that avoided the trial for 56 days until public outcry and multiple letters from House members virtually forced their hand, will remain as conspicuously uninterested as ever. Philadelphia News reports that reviews by mainstream movie critics are virtually “non-existent,” and that the film’s availability is geography-based. “It’s downright easy to go see the Gosnell movie if you live in places like Texas or Alabama, while there’s literally only one movie screen in all of Manhattan showing the film,” it reveals.
Manhattan is part of New York City — where more black American babies are currently aborted than born.
In a 2011 column illuminating the societal consequences described by Daniel Moynihan as “defining deviancy down,” Manon McKinnon wrote something just as compelling, asserting that deviancy and normalcy have “swapped places.” Thus, the bet here is “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” will remain under the radar. Not because it should, but because in a morally adrift nation where the 60 million abortions performed since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land is celebrated as “reproductive freedom,” it must.