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Exposing a Serial Killer Hidden in Plain Sight: A Review on the film Gosnell

By: Nicole Manzione

 It all started with a warrant for drug trafficking, then it all came crumbling down. The movie, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer”, is a crime drama that looks at the case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his clinic “Women’s Medical Society”, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The clinic was not inspected for seventeen years despite numerous complaints of rule violations submitted to the Department of Health. This request was put in by then governor Ridge of Pennsylvania to stop the inspection of abortion clinics by the Department of Health.

This movie was 100% funded by donors on and raised $2,377,647. The crowdfunding campaign ended on May 12, 2014. The movie focuses on the court case brought against Dr Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia while expanding on the four-year span in which it was brought to the court for drug and murder charges. Kermit Gosnell was charged with drug trafficking, eight counts of murder, 24 counts of violating the Pennsylvania 24-week gestation abortion limit, and 227 counts of violating the Pennsylvania 24-hour informed consent law. He was found guilty in May of 2013 of the first-degree murder of three infants, 24 counts of illegal late-term abortion, and the involuntary manslaughter of Karnamaya Mongar. Mongar and her family were refugees from Nepal. He was given life in prison without the possibility of parole. The movie follows the case as it develops in a way that is objective and raw, in an intentionally accurate and minimalistic way. It shows the viewer a tiny glimpse of what it was like to be involved in the case as well as the pain and suffering inflicted by Dr. Gosnell himself.

The film contains no blood or gore with a rating of PG-13; it’s simply a toned-down retelling of the case as it unfolded. The script and scenery were written and made to be as close to the case files and court transcripts as possible.The film fits nearly four years worth of information into just under two hours, and done in a tasteful way that leaves the viewer wanting more. It’s a film that should be shown to everyone everywhere due to the induced self-reflection upon one’s own stance on abortion. Many pro-choice viewers have commented or reflected upon changing their stance on abortion after viewing Gosnell.

This movie is not a pro-life or pro-choice movie to be used as propaganda. It is a realistic look at what went on in Dr. Gosnell’s clinic, but raises questions about viability and 3rd-trimester abortions. It is not the filthiness of the clinic that horrified me; but the thought of “baby boy A” and all of the children like him who died in one of cruelest ways possible without anyone beyond the clinic walls to know they even existed. Baby boy A was described by Dr. Gosnell as “big enough to walk him to the bus”. I did not want to see this movie, but I knew that facing the painful reality of something so cruel would better educate me upon it, and I challenge others to face that reality as well. If abortion is moral and Dr. Gosnell did nothing wrong then why would anyone say no to seeing this movie or covering it in the news? In its first week, Gosnell was a top-10 grossing movie despite only being shown at 668 theatres nationwide. It dropped to 480 theatres the following week and has continued to drop due to pressure from pro-choice advocates to theatres. To be ignorant of the truth by choice is hypocritical and cowardly, but that matters not to those who find abortion simply profitable.

Below is a link to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on Dr. Gosnell.

Cover image courtesy of:

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