“Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” is not, in my opinion, the heavy-handed anti-abortion movie that it’s often described as being. It mostly just sticks to the facts, and doesn’t seem to me to be trying too hard to push an agenda.
To the extent that the film does shine a critical light on the abortion industry as a whole, it does so simply by letting the realities speak for themselves.
One reality that reflects badly on the abortion business comes up when it is revealed that Kermit Gosnell’s clinic — with its illegal practices and unbelievable filth and negligence — hadn’t been inspected in over 15 years. This was because there had been specific directives during that time for no abortion clinics to be inspected. (In contrast, as is pointed out, nail salons were required to be inspected annually.)
This stands as an example of how abortion is treated as a sacred cow, being given special protections that are in no way merited.
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Another indictment of the abortion business comes, unexpectedly, from Gosnell’s own attorney. He questions a “good” abortionist who seeks to highlight the contrasts between Gosnell’s practices and “properly done” legal abortions. She states that she has done tens of thousands of abortions, and describes the ghastly procedures in bland, sanitized terms, with the inoffensive pleasantness of a cooking show host explaining a recipe. Gosnell’s attorney makes the point — loudly, if somewhat indirectly — that there is ultimately no meaningful difference between what she does and what Gosnell has done.
Gosnell himself comes off as an unlikely villain, one that no fiction writer would be likely to come up with. He seems much less like a monster than like some polite, dotty old man next door. What impresses me most about him is how clueless, even deluded, he is. For one thing, he is blissfully oblivious to the tragic extent of his own sloppiness and carelessness (which is seen in his home environment as well as at his clinic). More to the point, he has clearly bought into the lies of the abortion industry… hook, line and sinker. In his mind, abortion — particularly the late-term kind — is an essential service to women, and he is a hero for providing it. Like many in his line of business, he sees legal restrictions on abortion as mere obstacles to be sneaked around until they can be removed altogether.
Gosnell is not the biggest villain in the story. The biggest villain is the abortion industry in general, along those who support and enable it. They made it possible for someone like Gosnell to start doing what he did, and to continue doing it unchallenged for years.
Above all, the purveyors and supporters of abortion lie to the public. They lie about taking steps to reduce the “need” for abortion, when in fact they do everything they can to keep it as common as possible. Regarding the humanity of the unborn, they tell lies that have long since been refuted by hard scientific knowledge. Regarding the reasons why abortions are “needed,” they tell lies that are countered by real-world data, and that often subtly contradict each other. Regarding the motivations of those who oppose abortion, they tell flagrant, shameless lies that don’t have so much as a tiny grain of truth.
Like Gosnell, others in the industry dodge accountability; they disregard laws, restrictions and even safety regulations; and they consider themselves to be heroes to women even as they do great harm to many of them.
Gosnell does not stand in any great contrast to others in the abortion business. He simply went a little further in some directions than others do. And — no thanks to those who support “abortion rights” — he happened to get caught.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.