Kermit Gosnell: An Uncomfortable Abortion Story


Dr. Kermi GosnellA lot of people want to see a film made about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of killing live-born babies, but are enough of them willing to cough up the cash to make it happen?

Conservative filmmaking husband and wife Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, along with Magdalena Segieda, are attempting to crowdfund what they hope will be a TV movie about Gosnell. They broke the record last week at crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

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As of April 23, the trio had raised just more than $1 million of their $2.1 million goal.

Despite their Indiegogo record, the proposed Gosnell movie is still well below the largest ever crowdfunded project, the film Veronica Mars, which raised $5.7 million after a $2 million goal on Kickstarter.

McAleer and team had used Kickstarter for previous projects that countered the anti-fracking film Gasland and Al Gore’s global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth. But the Gosnell project ran afoul of Kickstarter’s community guidelines, he was told.

“(F)irst, we needed to remove our (utterly factual) descriptions of ‘thousands of babies murdered,'” McAleer wrote in a New York Post op-ed piece.

gosnellposterIt’s quite possible Kickstarter was concerned with libel issues since he was convicted of killing only three live babies. But the grand jury report included testimony from employee Steve Massof who said he had seen “hundreds” of live-born babies killed by Gosnell. Staffer Tina Baldwin corroborated Massof’s story.

Without specific patient names attached, the district attorney’s office would not have been able to make charges on the “hundreds” of babies Massof says he saw Gosnell kill after they had been born.

In addition to the incidents of babies killed after being born alive, Gosnell was convicted of 21 counts of illegal late-term abortion and 211 counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law.

Gosnell ran an unregulated abortion clinic where sanitary conditions were abysmal and the staff was untrained. He was discovered only after a police raid over allegations he was writing bogus prescriptions for abused painkillers, including Oxycontin.

McAleer and company say few people are aware of Gosnell’s butchery because the mainstream media outside Philadelphia barely covered it. In fact, the case did merit little national coverage until Kirsten Powers noted in an April 11, 2013 USA Today op-ed, “A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months.”

McAleer says he doesn’t believe Hollywood studios would touch his project because of liberal bias, though he doesn’t indicate he approached any studios before going the crowdsourcing route. Gosnell’s crimes have been called sickening by people on both sides of the abortion debate, so whether a studio-financed film would have been made can’t determined if no studio was ever asked.

According to many self-described “liberal” journalists, mainstream media outlets seemed to be less-than-enthusiastic about major coverage. At least one reason may have been a concern than it made the pro-choice movement look bad.

Melinda Henneberger wrote in The Washington Post:

…we didn’t write more because the only abortion story most outlets ever cover in the news pages is every single threat or perceived threat to abortion rights. In fact, that is so fixed a view of what constitutes coverage of that issue that it’s genuinely hard, I think, for many journalists to see a story outside that paradigm as news. That’s not so much a conscious decision as a reflex, but the effect is one-sided coverage.

Some noted that Fox News didn’t jump on the bandwagon until late in the game, though once it did it went all out.

Jeffrey Goldberg writing in Bloomberg View, said the Gosnell story “upsets a particular narrative about the reality of certain types of abortion, and that reality isn’t something some pro-choice absolutists want to discuss.”