By Olivia Gans Turner, President, Virginia Society for Human Life
On Sunday afternoon my husband and I decided to go to the theater to see the new movie, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.
I had seriously debated with myself about whether I could or should go, since I know the details of the story very well. Moreover as the mother of an aborted child, I sometimes find movies or videos like these hard to watch.
Also, I will admit, I have not been much impressed with other attempts by pro-life people to make movies that hit on pro-life themes before. Two of the exceptions were Bella and Gimme Shelter.
But I was very impressed with Gosnell. As someone with a background in theater, I was pleased by the high standard applied over all. Gosnell featured good acting and was cleverly plotted to tell the back story of several characters. Not gory but dramatic. I would say it came off like a classic crime drama. Tight and character driven.
Dean Cain, Sara Jane Morris, Alfonzo Rachel, Cyrina Fiallo, and Dominique Deon gave very solid performances. Earl Billings , who looks uncannily like Kermit Gosnell, was perfectly chilling as the creepy title character! In addition to starring as Gosnell’s attorney, director Nick Searcy kept the pace fast and the story smooth.
A good crime drama, Gosnell prompts the viewer to ask serious questions about the practice of abortion in America today. Gosnell took a horrible story and told it in a riveting fashion.
The film makers present the sad and tragic details about what really happens in every abortion without using graphic images. Scenes in the real-life “house of horrors” (the description is the Philadelphia District Attorney’s) that Kermit Gosnell ran in West Philadelphia are captured accurately.
There are a few moments that are hard to watch when you understand the harsh realities of the situation. But the film makers were very careful not to simply try to shock.
The hardest moments to see are the precious little feet Gosnell kept (for his own bizarre reasons) in specimen jars. The large red plastic bags that were lying about all over the building (as pro-lifers know) held the bodies of babies he had killed.
The one scene in the coroner’s lab was distressing but very brief. However, it is important to see because it was the truth and helped bring Gosnell to justice.
All those moments in the movie did cause me to bow my head in prayer and shed a tear for all the tiny innocent lives taken in that horrible place by that awful man. But that is the power of a well told story.
Gosnell exposed the danger of corruption that exists in the abortion trade for women too. Very, very people know that two women died at Gosnell’s abortion clinic.
Semika Shaw perished in 2000 and Karnamaya Mongar died in 2009. The story shares how then governor, Tom Ridge, had deliberately prevented inspections for fear that “inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions,” as the Grand Jury report put it.
That was one hugely important reasons monsters like Gosnell went unnoticed for so long.
To the producers’ credit, there were some very strong parts of the movie that subtly and cleverly get the truth out. Courtroom scenes use ultrasound images of a second trimester unborn baby and explained how an abortion is done at that stage to great effect.
Also, there is a scene with pro-life actress Janine Turner, playing an abortionist with a ‘respectable’ organization, who is forced to explain in court how a baby born alive might be killed– the dreaded complication. It is an immensely powerful moment.
There is the telling scene when they showed the empty press seats in the courtroom. Does anybody else remember the social media effort we pro-lifers undertook to get the press to pay attention?
The press did its level best to ignore this critical case. But pro-lifers helped to create a twitter storm in April of 2013 that forced the media to pay attention.
Can you bring children? I would not bring young ones, teens would be fine, but there will be challenging, important conversations to be had afterwards.
What if you are sensitive to the pain of abortion memories? I never advise those who may be traumatized to place themselves in harm’s way. Good sense should prevail, and you must care for your heart and soul. Thankfully, I found the movie well focused on the rest of the story which I didn’t know much about and that was interesting to me.
You should see the movie, and more than once. This is a compelling story that needs to continue to be shared, because what happened at Gosnell’s abortion clinic was not an aberration. It continues to happen all over the country.
Kermit Gosnell was not an “outlier,” despite what Planned Parenthood and others in the industry say. I personally will never forget the filthy office I went to in wealthy Monmouth County NJ to try and get my own abortion.
I have met another “Kermit Gosnell” in the flesh, and I pray for every baby and every mother his dirty hands touched.
Take someone to the movies who needs to learn the truth and then get ready for an intense conversation about the facts of life that only pro-lifers understand.