Grace Carr, DCNF
Film producers of “Gosnell,” a movie detailing the crimes of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, never trusted pro-lifers until they pulled together “brutal” murder evidence for the movie that changed their perspectives on abortion.
“I never trusted or liked pro-life activists,” film producer Ann McElhinney told Lifesite. “I thought the shocking images they showed were manipulative. I was sure they had been photoshopped,” McElhinney said, recounting how she’d thought prior to producing, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.”
“The universities of the world are teeming with young people just like that young person I once was,” McElhinney continued. “This story was not orchestrated by the pro-life movement. This was a trial: a murder trial.”
The film tells the story of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was sentenced to life in prison after authorities discovered he’d been killing live babies after birth. Gosnell aborted babies after the legal limit of 24 weeks gestation in what became known as the “House of Horrors.” He was also responsible for the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar who died of a drug overdose during her abortion.
Gosnell operated the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia starting in 1979, but wasn’t investigated until February 2010 when the FBI and the Pennsylvania Department of Health raided his clinic on drug charges. His license was suspended shortly thereafter and his trial began in March 2013. The jury found Gosnell guilty on three of four murder charges as well as guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
“In all my years of journalism, this was the most shocking evidence I’ve ever heard,” another film producer, Phelim McAleer, said after seeing photos of Gosnell’s victims and hearing evidence from witnesses. “People don’t want this story out – we need to get it out,” he said, explaining that production of the film had turned him from a pro-choice reporter to a pro-life one.
It was difficult not to produce a grotesque horror film with all of the brutal evidence, according to producers, but they wanted to make a serious film that all of America could watch to learn about the long covered up story.
Prior to producing the film, McElhinney and McAleer also wrote a book, where they did extensive research and interviewed Gosnell in prison. “He is extremely creepy,” McElhinney said, adding that Gosnell “touched my legs continuously during the interview.” Gosnell was also oddly cheerful and obsessed with his hands which he thought were quite large, according to McElhinney.
“He got really gross, asking me personal things about my female health,” McElhinney also said. She recounted later, crying at her computer over the “brutal” evidence and even praying, something she hadn’t done in years.
A 2016 congressional investigation found evidence and continues to investigate clinics illegally performing partial-birth and post-birth abortions. Abortion methods included smashing unborn baby’s necks with forceps, cutting the neck with scissors, twisting the head until snaps, crushing the “soft spot” on the baby’s skull, or pushing on the infant’s abdomen or throat until it dies.
The Gosnell movie comes out in theaters Friday.