A name not so well known today is that of Kermit Gosnell, the Pennsylvania abortionist who not only killed babies in the womb, but for those born alive, he severed their spinal cords with a technique called “snipping.” He also seriously maimed and had a part in the deaths of a number of his female clients. He is serving a life sentence in prison, and is the subject of the book, Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.
A movie was made based on the facts of the trial that ultimately sent him to permanent incarceration. However, originally it looked like the film would have the same fate as the millions of unborn babies who do not live to see the light of day. Not only could the filmmakers not find investors in pro-abortion Hollywood, but also their initial funding campaign had to move to a different funding platform after being cut off from their original one (Kickstarter). A new funding platform was enlisted in order to obtain the financial support from ordinary people to bring the film to fruition.
Well, the movie eventually was ready for release but was unable to be advertised on places such as National Public Radio (funded by taxpayer dollars) unless the word “abortion” was removed from any advertisement. The filmmakers would not bow down to such censorship. They waged an uphill battle to enable the film to be released in over 700 theaters around the country. The film opened on October 12, but has been embroiled in controversial decisions by some theaters to respond to inquiries that the movie was not showing when it was, and by failing to display posters that normally are placed when a film is on the schedule.
This subject matter should be required reading or viewing in every Christian family (including children) and churches. Why? Not only to learn about what makes a person take life rather than save life, but to expose the dark side of health departments and courts that allowed this despicable man to kill the unborn and maim and brutalize women (especially poor and minority women), all because the priority of these agencies was to do nothing that would stigmatize abortion. As one prosecutor commented, nail salons have more scrutiny than abortion clinics. Why? Because entrenched in our federal and state bureaucracies are those who will not allow abortion access to be constrained under any circumstances. This scenario is not an isolated case restricted to Philadelphia, but exists throughout the country.
One eye-opening moment for me came when I recognized a name, Tom Ridge, the first head of the Department of Homeland Security and previously the “pro-choice” Republican governor of Pennsylvania. While in office, his policies made sure that nothing would hinder legalized abortion in his state. That is why, and how, Kermit Gosnell could operate with impunity for over thirty years. As a matter of policy, bureaucrats and their superiors continually ignored the many complaints and red flags they received about Gosnell. They are, in reality, as guilty, if not more guilty, than the abortionist.
The authors and filmmakers of this book and movie were not pro-life when they began their expose. However, by their own admission they became anti-abortion by the time they had examined all the gruesome facts of the case. They could not conclude in good conscience that Gosnell was an anomaly. They realized, as did the jurors in the trial, that there was no significant difference between a good abortion provider and a bad one. In fact, one of the most telling scenes in the film occurs as a “proper abortionist” comments that she had performed over 30,000 abortions personally. Unlike the “cruel” Dr. Gosnell who snipped the spinal cords of inconveniently born infants, under her watch, if any baby survived the procedure, it would be given “comfort care,” the euphemism for being allowed to die.
Many times as I read this account and watched the film, I experienced disturbing physical reactions. After years of believing I knew all there was to know on this subject, I realized I did not. I then did an informal survey of people I know, asking if the name Kermit Gosnell meant anything to them. Sadly, it did not, thanks to the media blackout of most of the trial. Apparently, the media did not consider the horrendous crimes of this man newsworthy. What’s more, I discovered that, although the book had done quite well when it came to sales, it was kept from appearing as high as it rightfully belonged on The New York Times Bestseller List. While this is not surprising, it should tell us something about the entrenched warfare involved when it comes to the subject of the murder of the unborn.
The average person who deems himself pro-life needs to do more than just agree that abortion is wrong. I submit that we must make this the subject of routine conversation as a matter of course. Read the book; talk about the book; lend the book. Watch the film, and invite an “on the fence” acquaintance to join you. Let us not allow this subject to fall under that category of differing political views, and agreeing to disagree. I challenge you to fully enlist in this cause, if for no other reason than to avert the justifiable anger and wrath of God.
(This review first appeared at http://www.chalcedon.edu.