‘Gosnell’ film is a stunning portrayal of the infamous abortion doctor

Dean Cain plays Detective James Wood in "Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer." Photo: Hat Tip Films, LLC
Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Photo: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

In 2011, a Pennsylvania grand jury investigated Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who owned and operated the Women’s Medical Society clinic in Philadelphia. What they found was an unexpected level of disregard for human life — even for the abortion industry.

The grand jury’s report said that babies were heard crying before Gosnell cut their spinal cords. “Baby Boy A’s” mother was 30-weeks pregnant with him when Gosnell attempted to abort him. When “Baby Boy A” survived, Gosnell cut his spinal cord and joked the baby was so big, he could “walk me to the bus stop,” according to the grand jury.

The grand jury also detailed the death of immigrant Karnamaya Mongar, who died because of Gosnell’s negligence. Countless other women contracted venereal diseases at his clinic because he reused single-use instruments.

In 2013 after 10 days of deliberations, a jury convicted Gosnell on three counts of first-degree murder for the death of three babies by “snipping” their spinal cords after they were born alive. The jury also convicted him of involuntary manslaughter for Mongar’s death and other lesser charges.

Gosnell, who is now 77, is serving three consecutive life terms in prison. His case is the subject of a controversial new movie titled Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.

Compelling drama

Although Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer is more like a really good TV crime drama than a feature film, it’s well-acted, and the plot moves along at a good pace.

The movie revs up with the raid on Gosnell’s abortion clinic for drug dealing. Detective James Wood (played by Dean Cain who is best-known for the television drama Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) realizes that something much more sinister is happening and notifies the local district attorney. The majority of the movie plays out in a courtroom.

Earl Billings as Dr. Kermit Gosnell in “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.” Photo: Hat Tip Films, LLC

Veteran stage and screen actor Earl Billings pulls off a chilling portrayal of Gosnell. Whenever Billings was on the screen, the movie reached a new level. He captured the cool demeanor of Gosnell. Seeing Gosnell playing the piano while his house was being raided and hearing him talk — more than once — about how he treated those women like he would treat his own daughter shocked me.

One detail that keeps playing over and over in my mind was the scene where Gosnell is holding his Chinese takeout carton in his blood-splattered rubber-gloved hand planning to eat without taking the dirty glove off. That’s one of the more disturbing scenes that established Gosnell’s depravity.

Tame not gory

I noticed numerous people on Facebook comment that they weren’t going to see the Gosnell movie because they feared it would be too gory. It’s not. (It’s rated PG-13.) Considering the nature of who Gosnell was and what he did, I think that the movie was too tame. Imagine if Mel Gibson made this film?

That’s not saying that the movie didn’t have any teeth. One comment I repeatedly heard about Gosnell is that when it was over, the audience — stunned — remained quiet in their seats. I think that even the majority of pro-lifers are not aware of the reality of abortion and what kinds of abuses can happen when the system turns a blind eye to exploitation to protect abortion rights.

One of the writers/producers of Gosnell, Phelim McAleer, said in an interview with the National Catholic Register, “We deliberately made it PG-13 so that it could have a wide audience. We made sure there was nothing [visually] disturbing, but that the truth about this story was told.”

Not playing everywhere

I challenge people to see this film and make up your own mind whether this guy is the biggest serial killer as the film’s title claims he is.

The film’s producers struggled to get theaters to show the movie. It was released in a paltry 673 theaters. It surprisingly hit the top 10 for a day and slipped to 12th position, according to Box Office Mojo. A Star is Born had a 3,884-theater release to provide a comparison.

A week later, Gosnell is only showing in less than 500 theaters. If people want to see the filmthey need to call their theaters and ask them to play it, and then go watch it.

October is Respect Life Month and this film is worth seeing (if you can find it) as it shows just one aspect of the horror of abortion.

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