On Monday, March 25th at 7 p.m., our parish is invited to see a pre-release showing of the film, “Unplanned.” Theatre #7 at Boynton Beach Cinemark will be the setting for our parishioners and friends to attend this valuable and touching presentation. It’s the story of Abby Johnson and her conversion from operator of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Texas to a pro-life promoter. It’s one of a number of such films with a pro-life theme that has been able to get into some neighborhood theatres in the past few years. It follows up on another bombshell of a film a few months ago that has opened the eyes of many to the tragic horrors of the multibillion-dollar abortion industry in the U.S. Some of these films have not made it into the “big-time” industry circuit because of intense opposition from Hollywood and other media moguls and their promoters. I now want to bring to light for you one of these more recent films.
It’s not surprising that the movie, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, didn’t win any Oscar awards this year. The movie is based on The New York Times best-selling book, “Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer,” and was written by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer. Hollywood proponents of abortion didn’t even want you to see this movie, let alone give it any honors. Though the movie was finished in 2016, getting it distributed encountered numerous roadblocks. No major Hollywood film studio would touch it. Production was eventually funded through an online fundraising campaign, which raised $2.3 million from 30,000 people. When it was finally released October 2018, it had a limited nationwide opening in fewer than 680 theaters, compared to 4,250 for the weekend’s number one film. Facebook and NPR blocked ads for the movie. Despite these obstacles, the movie was in the Top 10 films in gross receipts on Friday and Saturday of its opening weekend. The book became especially controversial when The New York Times initially refused to feature it on its bestsellers list despite sales figures that revealed it should be on the list. The Times admitted they adjusted the list as an “editorial decision.” The reason so many of the media establishment didn’t want you to read this book, see the movie, or even know about them is because it is the shocking true story of the investigation and trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell — his 30-year killing spree and the political and media establishment that tried to cover it up. Originally investigated for illegal prescription drug sales, a raid by federal and local law enforcement revealed crimes they did not expect within the clinic. He was eventually tried and convicted of these crimes, and is currently in prison for life without parole for third-degree murder of infants born alive and killed inside his lethal abortion clinic.
Gosnell’s own lawyer tried to defend his client’s barbaric practices by arguing that what Gosnell was doing in his abortion clinic was no different from that of any other abortion practitioner. Indeed, this movie sheds light on the deadly deeds of the abortionists that the Evil One would rather keep hidden from plain view.
The movie Gosnell is now available on DVD. I watched it and found it to be very compelling, and highly recommend seeing it as its message is vitally needed at a time when politicians in New York, Virginia, Illinois and additional states are seeking to expand abortion. These bills would make abortion a fundamental right, release the state from any interest or care for the unborn, require health insurance policies to include coverage for all abortions with no exemptions (even for churches and other religious organizations), eliminate any requirement to investigate fetal deaths or maternal deaths resulting from abortions or to record fetal deaths resulting from abortions, and repeal parental notification. Right now, a parent or legal guardian must be notified when a minor seeks an abortion. This goes far beyond the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court. Regarding parental notification, consider this: a minor has to get parental permission to get a tattoo or body piercing and, under current law, it is illegal for minors to use an indoor tanning bed. 71% of Americans believe there should be a law requiring women under 18 to get parental consent for any abortion, and that is more than simply notification. Yet, for a major medical surgery like abortion, the sponsors of these pieces of legislation think parents shouldn’t be involved at all. If abortion becomes a “fundamental right” (statutory and not constitutional), no restrictions on abortion will be allowed, even those in the third trimester, or post viability. Repealing parental notification tells parents, “You don’t matter in your child’s life.”
Most people understand and accept that babies can feel pain at 20 weeks. Sadly, some of these bills would allow for “partial birth” abortion, when the baby is at the point of being born into this world. Some proposed legislation would also remove the requirement that only doctors can perform abortions. This throws the abortion activists’ argument of “women’s health” out the window. If a major medical procedure, surgery, can now be performed by someone who is not a doctor, this is not protecting women; this will only harm them.
Opposition to these extreme abortion bills is not only a matter of Catholic teaching. Polls of the general public show that 87 % of Americans do not favor legal abortion in the third trimester, at which point the fetus is often viable with medical support. 63% of Americans would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. These facts alone show this type of legislation to be in the extreme. So, I ask you to check out your own state’s current legislative agenda and make sure that your leaders are made sufficiently aware of your opposition to such destructive ideas.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! and may that Patron of Ireland intercede for us to drive far from our land the 21st century “snakes” who still want to despoil human life in our country.