I went to college in Philadelphia in the 1970s. I lived in West Philadelphia near the University of Pennsylvania.
Not long after I left town, the Women’s Medical Society Clinic opened near the university. It was situated in a building that filled a V-shaped intersection.
It was this odd intersection that drew my attention to the building when I found myself driving down memory lane in 2009 after taking Deborah to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
I didn’t realize that I had passed the clinic of Dr. Kenneth Gosnell, probably the most notorious abortionist in America.
Few people realized what was happening in that building until a few months later — in February 2010 — when a federal, state and city drug investigation led to Gosnell’s clinic. When team members raided the clinic, they discovered far more than an illegal prescription-drug operation.
They found a “House of Horrors.” The remains of babies in jars, milk cartons and bags. Dirty equipment. Nonprofessional staff. Baby feet in jars. Flea-ridden cats roaming the clinic.
Gosnell was doing back-alley-style abortions. His staff was untrained and unqualified. Gosnell often delivered late-term babies alive and then cut their spinal cords.
Few knew. And few wanted to know.
The health department had inspected the facility in the '90s and then never again. Complaints against the doctor and clinic were virtually ignored. Gosnell remained a respected member of the community.
In 2011, a grand jury indicted Gosnell on eight counts of murder and hundreds of smaller violations. The trial began in 2013.
Few wanted to tell about the abortionist on trial for murder. Rows of seats reserved for the media remained empty until a columnist tweeted a picture and shamed other outlets into reporting.
The crimes went ignored.
The trial went unreported.
And now it has become the movie that won’t be shown or reviewed.
The movie “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” was released in October. The first weekend it finished 10th at the box office, which usually keeps movies in theaters. Instead, theaters dropped the film.
And that’s a shame, because it tells an important story, tastefully and with restraint.
“Gosnell” is a powerful film that does not attack a “woman’s right to choose,” but rather shows what she is choosing.
The movie is showing at Micronesia Mall Theaters through Thursday, one show daily.
Be one of the few to see it.