If what the media publishes daily is any indicator, Americans seem fascinated with killers. We’re confronted with headlines about the likes of Oscar Pistorius, Amanda Knox and Jodi Arias. When the news is slow, Americans can change the channel to procedurals, such as “Law and Order: SVU” and “Criminal Minds.” When the procedurals lag, producers and directors come up with serial-killer-glorifying programs like “Dexter,” which just finished its eighth season last year, or the 2007 mystery thriller, “Zodiac.”
It’s strange to see Hollywood refuse to touch the story of the worst serial killer in America’s history — and to see even an independent filmmaker rebuffed in his efforts to pick up the slack.
Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted in 2013 for the murder of three newborn babies, whose spines he severed with scissors after delivery, and the deaths by gross negligence of two mothers. He was also convicted for killing 21 babies in utero — not for murder in these cases, but rather for violating Pennsylvania’s legal-abortion limit.
Early this year, “FrackNation” producer Phelim McAleer turned to the website Kickstarter to crowd-fund the Gosnell movie you’ll never see out of Los Angeles. However, Mr. McAleer found out that it’s not just Hollywood avoiding this story: Kickstarter refused to green-light his project unless he censored his description of Gosnell’s crimes.
It was only after Mr. McAleer moved to a rival site, Indiegogo, that Kickstarter — which has no problem green-lighting projects like “Incest Is The Highest Form of Flattery” and “Die, Sluts, Die” — pretended never to have had a problem with the Gosnell narrative in the first place. Keep in mind that this same company also rejected the pro-life project “Stolen Moments,” while approving the abortion-glorifying film “After Tiller.” (One of the “perks” for supporters of “After Tiller” was “a bouquet … of colorful condoms.”)
Why does a story like this — an “if it bleeds, it leads” tale, if ever there was one — cause such unique aversion, to the point where mainstream media ignore it and private companies twist themselves in rhetorical knots to keep it under wraps? Why does even the average American who enjoys “Law and Order” look away?
First, there is the extreme horror of Gosnell’s acts. It is one thing when victims can run or scream for help, as in the Ariel Castro story. Gosnell’s victims, though, had absolutely no chance; they were barely developed enough to scream. These infants were completely at the mercy of their killer, with no escape from the surgical scissors on their necks.
There are also the implications for the “pro-choice” movement. Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the rest try to distance themselves from Gosnell. Yet Planned Parenthood is far more sympathetic to “after-birth” abortion than its press releases would have us believe. Those 21 babies killed — and denied justice through Gosnell’s conviction on a mere technicality — speak to the reality of what abortion is.
This is hard for people to deal with, and it’s understandable. It’s almost guaranteed that someone you know or would have known has been victimized by abortion. Tens of millions of U.S. women have had abortions. More than 55 million children have been killed, each with a mother who was deeply wounded, and a father stripped of the power to defend his son or daughter. And the whole time, abortion corporations with huge media budgets launch campaign after campaign to insist to the nation that abortion doesn’t really kill anyone — in other words, that the men and women hurting from their “choice” are forbidden to grieve. They don’t know what to do with the burden they carry. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, America’s biggest abortion provider, continues to profit.
A movie about Kermit Gosnell would pull the veil back from the hard fact that “abortionist” and “serial killer” are synonyms. ABC, CBS and NBC sweep the story under the rug, saying without any credibility that it’s too gruesome. At the same time, many of their reporters stand with Planned Parenthood’s claim that these are not really children who are being killed — that abortion doesn’t have victims. Many Americans look away, holding fast to a conspiracy of silence, because it just hurts too much. It says too much about their participation, be it active or passive, in a heartbreaking crime against humanity.
In America, serial killers make for entertainment when they are distant, mysterious, even foreign. Gosnell is none of these — what he did has personal ramifications for every one of us. When people hear that Philadelphia’s “House of Horrors” is the result of a “choice” they’ve been taught for decades to revere, they get sick. Most Americans would rather not think about abortion, and if they do, they want something clean — not an industry that glorifies, protects and covers for Gosnells still operating across the country.
That’s why Hollywood won’t touch Gosnell or the hundreds of babies he slaughtered. This is not a neat little story that can be put in a box and tied up with a bow. Still, it needs to be told all the more for that. Gosnell’s kind of murder — his brand of violence — affects all of us more than a Jodi Arias ever will. It speaks to the very foundation of human rights and our society’s pursuit of peace.
Can Kermit Gosnell be the catalyst by which Americans realize that we cannot build our nation on the broken bodies of our littlest children? Maybe. One thing is sure: We have to learn about America’s biggest serial killer before we can learn from him. The Gosnell story must be told.
Lila Rose is president of Live Action.