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Reflections on Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer


Despite media silence and even censorship, a pro-life movie has made it into the Box Office top ten during its opening weekend. This film is proving to be more than what many of us expected -- including me.

I’ll admit I’m often the first to roll my eyes at the overly sanctimonious religious dramas that hit the big screen every couple of years. So when I heard of the Gosnell movie, which was crowdfunded primarily by anti-abortion Christians, I didn’t have high hopes for the film. However, I can say after seeing it for myself I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer hit the mark for me first as an impressively well-made and well-acted crime drama, and only second as an anti-abortion film.

I was born in Philadelphia and only lived a short drive away from the now-infamous 3801 Lancaster, where it was later revealed Kermit Gosnell was butchering women and children. I saw coverage of the case on local news stations before national media outlets even considered picking up the story.

I was horrified by the facts of the trial: that Gosnell snipped the necks of born-alive infants with scissors; that women died as a result of the injuries he caused; that he had untrained teenagers performing abortions; that white women were systematically allotted cleaner rooms with more sanitized equipment than women of color; that he had feral animals roaming around and cat feces on the floor of this supposed medical facility; that he kept intact babies’ limbs and organs in jars; and that despite the fact that he was reported to the state by multiple doctors whose patients came back from 3801 Lancaster with perforated uteruses, venereal diseases, and other complications, my home state of Pennsylvania did nothing to stop his atrocities until he was investigated for unrelated drug charges. As a teenager who was uneducated and apathetic on the abortion issue watching this coverage, I was disgusted.

If I didn’t know many of these facts to be true, I’d assume the filmmakers made them up to make Dr. Gosnell out to be some kind of villain for dramatic exposition. Horrifyingly though, that’s not the case. These facts and more that are shown throughout the film really did happen.

It wasn’t until years later when I learned more about prenatal human development and could see the violence of every abortion procedure that I reconsidered the case of Kermit Gosnell. The cruelty it takes to kill so many children and hurt so many women -- for profit -- is something unimaginable to most of us, pro-life or pro-choice.

Kermit Gosnell is supposedly unique from other abortion providers in that he allowed children to be delivered born alive and then he and his staff killed them. But I have to ask -- what is the difference between that and injecting the child with digoxin to stop their beating heart and then delivering their dead body? For someone who understands the biological reality that a unique human being comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion during the process of fertilization, and that every single abortion takes the life of one of these innocent young humans -- not much.

My one complaint about the Gosnell movie is that -- contrary to what most pro-choice and pro-abortion groups are saying -- it doesn’t go far enough with it’s anti-abortion message. I’m shocked that groups like Planned Parenthood and Reproaction are working so hard to shut down this movie. If anything, the filmmakers seemed to give too much credence to the idea that the millionaire abortionist was uniquely violent; that the trial wasn’t about the legality of killing babies, generally, rather that it was about the killing of babies in the specific ways and circumstances that Gosnell killed them.

The movie got the facts of the trial right and for that I applaud them. The Gosnell case didn’t make the state question the legality of abortion, generally; but it should have, and because it didn’t, who knows how many doctors like Gosnell are out there right now hurting women and killing children? As pro-choice organizations and politicians continue to fight against laws that require basic health and safety regulations for abortion clinics -- they’re only guaranteeing that these killers stay in business.


Disclaimer: The views presented in the Rehumanize Blog do not necessarily represent the views of all members, contributors, or donors. We exist to present a forum for discussion within the Consistent Life Ethic, to promote discourse and present an opportunity for peer review and dialogue.

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