Thursday 15th November 2018

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The Gosnell Divide

October 30, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MIKE MANNO

My neighborhood movie theater has half-price Tuesdays, see any movie for $5.25. I’m not a big movie buff, but when I see something I think I’d like, I take a chance on the early Tuesday morning showing. Unfortunately, popcorn (the killer kind, with lots of butter) and a soda still cost eleven bucks, but what the heck? It gets me out of the house for a couple of hours even if I don’t like the movie.
This past week I saw Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer. It was moving and tearful, and if you can only see one movie for the rest of your life, this is the one to see. It is about the story that the media tried to ignore and is now the movie that the media are trying to ignore.
For those of you who don’t remember, or were caught in the media blackout, Kermit Gosnell was an abortion doctor in Philadelphia who is now serving three plus life terms for the murder of three babies born alive after an attempted abortion, and one case of manslaughter for the death of a patient.
The Gosnell trial, when it was covered, caused a sensation, especially in the pro-life community that railed against Gosnell as well as the initial lack of interest by the mainstream media.
The Gosnell case, as was well documented in the movie, began in February of 2010 when his clinic was raided over an illegal drug prescription practice. It seems the good doctor was selling prescriptions for narcotics — OxyContin, Percocet, and Xanax, among others, to anyone who could come up with the cash.
It was estimated that he “sold” prescriptions for over 900,000 pills and over 19,000 ounces of cough syrup containing codeine.
It was during that raid that police found baby parts of aborted children, expired medication that was still being used, and frozen aborted bodies, many over the gestational age of 24 weeks, which was the legal limit for abortions in Pennsylvania. So, what started out as a raid over Gosnell’s prescription business quickly turned into an investigation over his abortion practices.
Besides having a completely unsanitary facility — patients were given bloody blankets, cat feces including fleas were all over, and aborted body parts and other “medical waste” were strewn throughout the offices — the authorities soon learned that Gosnell had turned much of his work over to untrained office staff who were sometimes given blank, signed prescription forms to give to clients.
During the course of the investigation, it was found that the state had a policy of not bothering abortion clinics due to the political fear that abortion advocates would claim that the state was trying to hinder the “reproductive rights” of Pennsylvania women. As a result, none of the state’s 22 abortion clinics had been inspected in more than 15 years.
Gosnell himself, during his 30-plus years of practice, had been sued at least 46 times and still no one in authority saw any red flags. In fact, complaints made by other doctors who treated Gosnell’s patients were routinely rejected as not coming from the patient herself, most of whom did not want to admit in a public complaint that they had obtained an abortion.
Investigators also found that there were numerous cases of babies being born alive after an abortion attempt who were then killed by Gosnell or one of his associates using a pair of scissors to sever the child’s spinal cord.
Gosnell’s medical license was immediately suspended and the following year a Pennsylvania grand jury indicted him for seven counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of children whose spinal cord he had cut, one count of manslaughter for the death of a patient due to his negligence, and a slew of other counts, including his prescription sales racket.
There would have been more charges, but many of the doctor’s records could not be located.
As the grand jury stated in its 280-page report:
“We believe, given the manner in which Gosnell operated, that he killed the vast majority of babies that he aborted after 24 weeks. We cannot, however, recommend murder charges for all of these cases. In order to constitute murder, the act must involve a baby who was born alive. Because files were falsified or removed from the facility and possibly destroyed, we cannot substantiate all of the individual cases in which charges might otherwise have resulted.”
The movie begins with the initial raid with Lois & Clark’s Superman, Dean Cain, playing the part of the lead detective, James Wood. It follows the investigation, through the grand jury, to trial and its ultimate conclusion.
Of note is the absence of any press coverage of the Gosnell matter until a composite character, blogger Molly Mullaney, played by Cyrina Fiallo, posts a picture of the empty benches that had been reserved for reporters on her social media page, paralleling the actual absence of media interest in the trial until conservatives took to social media to protest.
Only then does the press respond with any coverage.
The movie is rated PG-13 and goes out of its way to avoid sensationalizing the film by not showing the muck and gore that made up the real thing. In one scene the jury is shown a picture of a baby killed by Gosnell, referred to as Baby Boy A. The photo is never shown on screen; the audience only sees the back of the photo as the prosecutor, played by Sarah Jane Morris, shows it to the jury.
In that scene the extras who were playing jurors were shown the actual photograph and their reaction to seeing the photo for the first time was a powerful and moving moment.
But as the real trial was initially ignored by the media, fearful of prejudicing the public against abortion, the movie was considered outside of the mainstream and was only able to secure funding after the producers made a Crowdfunding request.
Even after the movie was ready for release, major media outlets either refused to advertise it, or required modifications in advertising texts before they would accept it. Cain and others in the film also reported personal blowback for their appearance in a movie that examines the seamy side of the abortion industry.
In the past few weeks I’ve written about civil incivility and the world being turned upside down. The story of Gosnell, the person and the movie, reflect on that incivility that permeates the new paradigm in which we now live.
Politically correct forces of the activist left will not suffer any viewpoint or opinion that does not ratify their beliefs. Just as the mainstream media initially refused to cover the Gosnell trial for fear of tarnishing the high and sacred sacrament of abortion, the elites of Hollywood objected to telling the story of how one doctor in Philadelphia was able to skirt the law for so long, under the nose of those who were empowered to enforce health and safety codes and to protect the community.
Snipping the spinal cord was not unique to Kermit Gosnell. During the time I was doing my radio program, I was inundated with messages from Christian groups about this doctor and that who were doing about the same thing as Gosnell.
As frequent were reports of women being seriously injured, sometimes killed in abortion clinics. When I posted a conversation with Cain and others about the film on my Facebook page, one woman replied, “Brought back memories of working at certain hospitals.”
Abortion supporters claim that Gosnell does not represent the abortion industry, and that abortion is needed so women can have proper health care. Problem is, we know the truth. Abortion is not health care, yet “reproductive freedom” is the mantra of the left; and I don’t have to tell you that is what the battle over Brett Kavanaugh was all about, demonstrating the ends to which the tolerant pro-abortion, anti-life left will go.
The Gosnell divide is not just about abortion, it is a microcosm of the divisions we now face in our communities, churches, and body politic: life, civility, and traditional Christo-American values or, the abandonment of same. Remember next week, that is what is really on the ballot. Pray and vote wisely.
(Mike can be reached at: DeaconMike@q.com.)

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Having watched the first session of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops General Meeting, and that fact that the Pope has ordered them not vote on any action items, I have to ask, what is the point of this meeting? What is the point of National Bishops' Conferences?

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