Abortion is one of the most controversial topics of discussion here in the United States. Since the procedure was legitimized by Roe v. Wade in 1973, over 58 million lives have been lost to abortion. As new technology sheds light on its horrors, more people have begun to challenge their views of the very practice once left unchallenged. That’s what filmmaker Ann McElhinney realized after writing Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.
“I never trusted or liked pro-life activists. Even at college I thought them too earnest and too religious,” McElhinney wrote.
But after studying evidence and images from Kermit Gosnell’s trial straight from Gosnell’s clinic on 3801 Lancaster Avenue, her views on abortion began to change.
She continued, “I am absolutely certain that the dead babies spoken in the court were unique people whom the world will never know. I hope this book and the movie go some way to mark the fact that they lived and in their short lives made a difference. Time will tell. This story can change hearts and minds; it has mine.”
McElhinney and her husband Phelim McAleer released the book in late January to accompany their film “Gosnell”–which Hollywood has rejected despite it having a $2.3 million budget. Why? The abortion lobby is super entrenched in Hollywood. Even worse: the book was denied a mention on the New York Times bestsellers list despite nearly outselling all copies. They are terrified that the gruesome nature of abortion won’t be shielded off anymore.
The infamous trial and subsequent conviction of the former doctor Kermit Gosnell in April 2013 received little media attention. Why? The media blacked out coverage. Very few reporters – namely Katie Yoder of Media Research Center – covered the trial for their publications. How could they ignore Gosnell breaking Pennsylvania law by performing abortions past the state’s 24-week ban? How could they gloss over evidence and testimony from former clinic employees who witnessed Gosnell sever babies’ necks with scissors? And worst of all, how could the media dismiss Gosnell having a hand in the murder of adult patient Karnamaya Mongar, a Bhutanese refugee who died from a botched abortion?
For the crimes he committed, Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The book gives readers a glimpse into the life and work habits of Gosnell. Gosnell was heralded as a wonderful man and respectable community leader in Philadelphia. (Upon learning about his crimes, many were in disbelief. Shocking.) The abortion doctor generally left his clinic unkempt, his workspace dirty, and ate while performing abortions, records revealed. Former clinic employees testified that Gosnell would leave patients unattended, used tools that weren’t sanitized, and left female patients in worse conditions — even death– than when they entered his house of horrors. Records and testimony confirm he treated white patients better than non-white patients. What’s worse is he kept babies’ feet in jars as keepsakes. What kind of person does this? The wretched kind, that is.
Gosnell supplemented “women’s healthcare” by running a pill mill operation out of his clinic from June 2008 to February 2010, where he wrote fraudulent prescriptions to people with no medical ailments. This resulted in an additional 30 years to his three life sentences.
In the book, the filmmakers recounted meeting with Gosnell and wrote about that awkward encounter–especially how he thought visiting a place was Auschwitz was “impressive”:
“When Gosnell describes visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau, he talks coldly of the experience before veering into an admiring tone that becomes very disturbing. “I have always emotionally wanted to know about oppression,” he began. In Auschwitz, “what was the most impressive were the bins where they kept the children’s shoes, and children’s hair, and the bins with specific parts of clothing. The bins were six by four, made of silk wood. Each of the bins kept exactly that item, but the sheer volume of it was very impressive,” (294).
Perhaps one of the facts that will anger readers most is learning that it wasn’t a Democrat politician who tolerated this kind of lawbreaking from Gosnell. It was former Republican Governor Tom Ridge, whose administration’s policies prevented the Pennsylvania Health Department from further inspecting abortion facilities like Gosnell’s. (He served as President George W. Bush’s Homeland Security secretary.) Disgusting, if you ask me.
The abortion industry is one of the most entrenched, unchallenged industries in the country. If you dare question its practices, you supposedly hate women’s rights and want to see women die in back-alley abortions. If you even merely suggest that laws placing health clinic-esque standards on abortion clinics, you’re anti-woman.
With renewed calls to defund Planned Parenthood, books like Gosnell (although graphic) shed light on the horrors of this establishment industry. Abortion harms both women and children–especially evidenced in the case of Kermit Gosnell. If you haven’t questioned your support for abortion yet, reading Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer will change your mind. For fellow pro-lifers, it’ll reaffirm your views and make you a more ardent defender of life at all stages.
Can’t recommend this book enough. Resurgent readers should snag themselves a copy!