I’ve just produced a movie about the true story of America’s most prolific serial killer. You might think there is nothing unusual or noteworthy about that—stories about serial killers seem to make up an awful lot of movies and prime-time TV these days.
But what if I told you that not only is it about America’s biggest serial killer—one most people have never heard of—but that it also touches on one of the most contentious and divisive issues in America today?
The film is about Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor who is serving several life sentences for murder. And his case has been mostly ignored by a pro-choice media that does not want to report on any story that shines a negative light on abortion.
It seems this is the perfect time for a spotlight to be shone on what’s really happening in abortion clinics across the country.
President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy means that, for the first time, there might be an abortion-skeptic majority on the bench. This has animated and alarmed abortion supporters. They are determined to stop Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. Planned Parenthood has pledged to give over $30 million to pro-choice candidates in the midterm elections. It is going to become one of the hottest topics in an already heated political environment.
So what exactly do abortion lobbyists and Cecile Richards want to preserve? What rights need to be protected from the Kavanaugh grouping? Do we really need fewer, not more, regulations, as abortion advocates maintain?
The fact is, most people know very little about what goes on behind closed doors in the nation’s abortion clinics. We didn’t, either, until we started researching for the film.
Gosnell was a respected doctor in the highly regulated state of Pennsylvania. Gosnell also happened to be a serial killer who kept killing and getting away with it, despite those regulations. Inspections of Gosnell’s clinic uncovered serious violations and health hazards, but officials took no action and refused to investigate further.
But worse was to come in 1995, when Tom Ridge was elected governor of Pennsylvania as a “pro-choice” Republican. He won and immediately, in contravention of the law, announced an end to the already cursory annual inspections.
The decision cleared the way for Gosnell to operate what a grand jury would later describe as a “baby charnel house” while regulators looked the other way.
A Philadelphia jury eventually found Gosnell guilty on three counts of murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter. Investigators believed that over the course of 30 years, he killed hundreds, perhaps thousands.
Despite this dramatic evidence, the trial was initially not covered by the mainstream media. Eventually, a social media campaign forced them to send reporters and give the case some coverage.
It seems no one wants to learn from the Gosnell case.
Striking down a Texas law aimed at monitoring abortion clinics, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg described Gosnell as a “rogue practitioner.” Ginsberg offered little in the way of proof for her claim. But evidence from a pair of recent congressional investigations has revealed what other abortion providers have done behind closed doors despite apparently ironclad laws and regulations.
The Senate judiciary committee and a House select investigative panel looked into claims that Planned Parenthood sold body parts of aborted fetuses to private labs. The probes soon widened to look at the other illegal behaviors of some abortion practitioners. The Senate committee report detailed the practices of a Texas abortionist that bear a striking resemblance to Gosnell’s grisly work.
According to one employee’s testimony, every week abortions concerning “three to four infants would show signs of life.” And just like Gosnell, the doctor would immediately kill them. The employee said he employed Gosnell’s technique of “snipping the infant’s spinal cord with scissors.”
But the investigations’ most shocking findings detailed how the body-part selling business worked.
One company, Advanced Biosciences Resources (ABR), produced sales orders and invoices that showed they paid Planned Parenthood $55 for a baby’s brain, then sold it to a researcher for over $3,000—a profit of 2,800 percent.
The Senate investigation published invoices that showed ABR bought a fetus from Planned Parenthood for $60. According to their own sales figures, they “sold its brain to one customer for $325; both of its eyes for $325 each ($650 total) to a second customer, a portion of its liver for $325 to a third customer; its thymus for $325 and another portion of liver to a fourth customer; and its lung for $325 to a fifth customer.”
Another clinic sold the skin of a Down syndrome baby for $325.
Our film does not look at these later investigations. We focus on the Gosnell investigation and how he was allowed to keep killing. We look at the heroes who put him behind bars.
If Kavanaugh becomes a Supreme Court justice, abortion in America will come under a massive spotlight. It is important that the spotlight reveals truths, not myths. Our film is part of that process.
Phelim McAleer is a journalist and film producer. His new film, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” will be released nationwide on Oct. 12. For more information, visit GosnellMovie.com