I saw the film Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer on Saturday with my bride. I was pleasantly surprised by both the production quality of the film and the skill of the actors and actresses. Too often message films are long on message and short on film. I found the film entertaining, as well as packing an emotional wallop, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to see a good film. Kermit Gosnell was an abortionist in Philadelphia who ran a filthy abortion mill. From a post on TAC back in 2011:
Every now and then we need a reminder that true evil exists in this world.
An abortionist arrested in Philadelphia faces eight counts of murder, one for the death of a patient, and the other seven for killing babies who survived his botched abortions. The district attorney alleges that Kermit Gosnell used a pair of scissors to sever their spinal cords.
Ed Morrissey links to the Grand Jury report. It is truly gruesome.
One woman, for example, was left lying in place for hours after Gosnell tore her cervix and colon while trying, unsuccessfully, to extract the fetus. Relatives who came to pick her up were refused entry into the building; they had to threaten to call the police. They eventually found her inside, bleeding and incoherent, and transported her to the hospital, where doctors had to remove almost half a foot of her intestines.
On another occasion, Gosnell simply sent a patient home, after keeping her mother waiting for hours, without telling either of them that she still had fetal parts inside her. Gosnell insisted she was fine, even after signs of serious infection set in over the next several days. By the time her mother got her to the emergency room, she was unconscious and near death.
A nineteen-year-old girl was held for several hours after Gosnell punctured her uterus. As a result of the delay, she fell into shock from blood loss, and had to undergo a hysterectomy.
One patient went into convulsions during an abortion, fell off the procedure table, and hit her head on the floor. Gosnell wouldn’t call an ambulance, and wouldn’t let the woman’s companion leave the building so that he could call an ambulance.
And to cap things off: the state did nothing to stop this.
We discovered that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.
The State Legislature has charged the Department of Health (DOH) with responsibility for writing and enforcing regulations to protect health and safety in abortion clinics as well as in hospitals and other health care facilities. Yet a significant difference exists between how DOH monitors abortion clinics and how it monitors facilities where other medical procedures are performed.
Indeed, the department has shown an utter disregard both for the safety of women who seek treatment at abortion clinics and for the health of fetuses after they have become viable. State health officials have also shown a disregard for the laws the department is supposed to enforce. Most appalling of all, the Department of Health’s neglect of abortion patients’ safety and of Pennsylvania laws is clearly not inadvertent: It is by design.
Go here to read the rest. Over the years TAC stayed on top of this story, even while most of the mainstream media did their best to ignore it. The film Gosnell tells the story of the initial investigation of Gosnell and his subsequent trial. How the film was made, and the resistance that Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, the producers of the film, had to overcome, would make an epic film in its own right.
On to the review below the fold. The usual caveat as to spoilers is in full force and effect.
The film opens with an investigation of Gosnell’s clinic precipitated by the fact that some of his staffers are selling drug prescriptions signed by Gosnell. The lead investigator for the Philadelphia PD is Detective James Wood, portrayed with wit and vigor by Dean Cain. The investigators are shocked as they go through Gosnell’s shop of horrors and encounter extreme filth, bagged corpses of Gosnell’s victims, and, most bizarrely, bottled feet that Gosnell kept as trophies from some of the kids he aborted. Their trip through this abattoir is interrupted by the appearance of Doctor Kermit Gosnell. Earl Billings deserves an Oscar for his portrayal of Gosnell. Gosnell is a good natured, constantly smiling and laughing, butcher, completely unaffected by the carnage he has wrought. This is brought home most powerfully when Gosnell takes off a pair of bloody rubber gloves and nonchalantly begins to munch Chinese food as his abortion mill is being searched. Imagine Mengele as a pleasant circus clown and that is the mood that surrounds Gosnell. It is a bravura performance and completely chilling.
It is quickly revealed that Gosnell has gone unchecked because the word has come down from on high in Pennsylvania that abortion clinics are not to be investigated. (Pro-abort Republican Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania was part of this conspiracy against public health in the name of being “pro-choice.” ) At least one woman has died in Gosnell’s abortion clinic, and it becomes gruesomely obvious that Gosnell has routinely ignored Pennsylvania laws restricting third trimester abortions, and has continually delivered third trimester babies, killing them immediately after birth by severing their spinal cords with a scissor. He has trained his largely unsupervised staff to do the same. The evidence is overwhelming that Gosnell is guilty of murder, but it becomes obvious that prosecution is problematic because it involves the politically protected form of murder that goes by the name of abortion.
The rest of the film involves the prosecution and trial, with Sarah Jane Morris giving a riveting performance as the lead prosecutor, and Nick Searcy, a Hollywood actor who is pro-life, giving a combative portrayal as Gosnell’s defense attorney. The prosecutor is a mother of five young kids, and the film skillfully matches scenes of happy family life of her and her kids and husband, with scenes of the horrors she has to deal with in “getting that bastard”, as she refers to Gosnell, reflecting her determination to put Gosnell away for murder.
Actress Cyrina Fiallo won plaudits from me as a tattooed, multi-colored hair blogger, who covers the trial when the mainstream media ignores it, and gives valuable informational tips about Gosnell and his clinic to the prosecutors. She states well a view that should be a credo for all bloggers: she is for the truth no matter if the truth comports with her personal views. The way in which bloggers by their coverage shamed the mainstream media to cover the Gosnell trial was one of the shining moments for new media.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the prosecution has an abortionist testify the various ways in which Gosnell violated good medical practice. Gosnell’s attorney then swiftly turns the table by having the prosecution witness describe a typical perfectly legal abortion, clearly demonstrating that abortion is a grisly trade no matter who is doing the abortion. I will not reveal more about the trial as there should be a few surprises left for future viewers of the film.
The film is not heavy handed and has a fair amount of humor, but it gets the message across that Gosnell was merely an extreme manifestation of what happens when society allows the destruction of the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable among us. Go see this film. You will thank me.