Gosnell: A Review


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.


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  1. Even if we had someone to watch the kids, I am pretty sure I couldn’t see this.

    I’m intellectually understanding of what is going on, know it’s evil…seeing it is unlikely to improve anything, and might have very bad effects. (I can’t even watch normal movies with a lot of blood.)

    That said, I’m very glad it’s showing at every single movie theater in our area that does first-run movies, and not just at 2pm on a Tuesday type schedules, but same as a blockbuster.

  2. I am seeing the movie today. I contributed to the Indiegogo fund raising effort to get this movie made. The producers went to Indiegogo after Kickstarter refused to allow them to use their service. I also read the book that the producers wrote. I reviewed on Amazon. This is my review.

    Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer is a story that would be too outrageous to be accepted if it was fiction. But it is not fiction and reading it requires the reader to stop occasionally and steel oneself before continuing.

    Kermit Gosnell was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 41-year-old patient and first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies. But those are a mere fraction of the number that he actually killed. Babies born alive had their spinal cords cut with scissors. He routinely aborted babies who were past the 24-week legal limit for abortions. Women who changed their minds while the procedure was underway were held down and forced to continue. His clinic was crammed with dead babies in freezers and jars of baby feet that he severed and kept. The bodies of aborted babies clogged the clinic’s toilets and garbage disposal. State regulatory agencies turned a blind eye to the filthy and unsanitary conditions for reasons that cannot be explained other than an unwillingness to reveal the morally irreconcilable reality of legalized abortion. It was a similar attitude by the mainstream press that chose to ignore the story and the trial until shamed into covering it by USA Today reporter, Kirsten Powers.

    Authors, Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer meticulously relate the events that started as an investigation by Philadelphia police of a prescription drug mill. That led to the discovery of a woman’s death that, incredibly had not generated a police report. Detective Jim Woods obtained warrants, over the objections of his superiors, to search Gosnell’s clinic and the dominoes began to fall. Part police procedural, part horror story, part courtroom drama, this book reveals the coarsening of the nation’s conscience that abortion has engendered.

  3. One can only imagine the inane ramblings Marx Shea will heap upon this film.

    He’s more Catholic than you – you vile Christianists!

  4. I cannot go see the movie. I would be either filled with rage or sick to my stomach or both.
    Keep in mode that the same media throughout Pennsylvania that is so irate at the Catholic Church for “pedophila” did its worst to cover up for Gosnell. The ultra-hypocritical Tribune Review is the worst offender of this bunch.

  5. I just came back from seeing the movie. It is an amazing triumph of truth. One of the most brilliant scenes is the testimony of an abortion doctor, (played by Janine Turner), who is there to testify about how Gosnell’s methods and procedures were an anomaly, certainly nothing like the clean, professional procedures in “real” clinics. Except she ends up revealing how, in the end, her methods are really just as brutal.

    For those who have posted here that they cannot bear to see this movie, it is not graphic. When the actors see the bodies, their reactions tell us the reality; we are not shown anything. For instance, at the end, we are instructed to go to GosnellMovie, com to see the picture of Baby Boy A which swayed many jurors, it is not shown in the movie. But if you noticed the picture at the top of this blog, you’ve already seen it. Nothing in the movie is that graphic.

  6. 64,000,000 human beings denied their Right to Life and the state of Pennsylvania and the main stream media choose to remain oblivious. Our tax dollars at work…
    64,000,000 souls returned to their Creator.
    Death, war, pestilence, famine and Gosnell.

  7. Thank you George.
    I was struggling with the idea of dismemberment contributing to the storyline. Having to cringe at the aftermath of the killing. The graphic nature of the business.
    We were on the front line yesterday in front of our local
    WTM Inc. (Forty Days for Life) We feel very optimistic about the direction that legalized abortion might be heading. I hope this non-fiction portrayal of this beast will help change a few pro-death hearts. Maybe a radical feminist will accidentally walk into the wrong theater. Big dreamer…but I can’t help it.

  8. I too do not know if I can watch this. And I was US Army Infantry. BUT my wife and I have thought of this: why not go buy 2, 10, 20 tickets and give them away? God bless and keep everyone who had anything to do with this production. Millions upon tens of millions of little critics will give it the 2018 Heavenly Oscar for best pic. Guy McClung, Texas

  9. Not specifically stated but present throughout commentary on abortion is the persistent mantra that abortion is an impersonal medical procedure and the “patient” need not concern herself nor view the procedure or its outcome. This film upsets that apple cart and forces the viewer to consider what is presented. Not in keeping with today’s best efforts to guard ones feelings from unpleasantness. Can not help but wonder if Roe v. Wade would have been decided differently had the justices actually seen an abortion taking place.

  10. Roe v. Wade never bore the burden of proof that the newly begotten rational soul of the baby had no sovereign personhood and that the father had as much to say about his child as the mother. Roe v. Wade is an incomplete trial. Justice Potter Stewart asked Sarah Weddington, the prosecuting attorney for Roe that if the child was a person would she have a case. She said “NO” The person was separated from his sovereignty and his soul at that time. Atheism was imposed on the people by denying the human being’s existence through his rational soul. Redefining the human being as a clump of cells is demonic.
    No. I think not. The fix was in with Harry Blackmun and William Brennan.
    Paul Erhlich had published his book Population Bomb in 1968 and people hated pregnant women. I was carrying my son when a woman with a shopping cart ran into me on purpose.
    If all men are created (not born) equal, then the newly fertilized egg with his DNA proves a new human being exists.
    I think the movie Gosnell will not move people to love their constitutional Posterity, the standard of Justice for mankind. The people will die in their sins.

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