So, I went to the movies by myself yesterday. Which, believe me, is embarrassing to admit, and I had to put my pride aside for the evening. But there was a movie that I just had to see.
And you probably haven’t heard of it, even though it just recently broke the Top 10 at the box-office. Because it’s been pretty much blacklisted from any mainstream news outlet due to its topic matter.
The movie is called Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.
And if the name Gosnell sorta-kinda rings a bell, it’s because back in the 2010s, he was one of – if not the first – abortion doctor to be found guilty of murdering babies.
Which, that statement is an oxymoron if you are in the pro-life camp. But it was a huge trial that actually garnered mainstream media attention.
And this film takes an in depth look at the trial, and how the political and media outlets tried to cover it up.
Now, I want to just pause here for a second: this article is not what you may think it’s going to be. I’m not going to push a pro-life agenda or shove facts and statistics down your throat. Nope. If you want to read how I feel about abortion — because I do hold very strong beliefs, especially given my history of anorexia, and as a result, my firm advocacy for the sanctity of human life — you can read about those here.
Tonight, I want to talk about something else, entirely.
And this is a warning that some of this material is graphic.
In the film, I don’t know if this is “spoiler-y,” because hello – it’s a real event. The information is already out there. But basically, Dr. Gosnell was on trial for, in addition to the horrific conditions of his hellish Philadelphia clinic, were the murder of children — born alive at 30, 31, 32 weeks – whom he then would snip the necks of, to “abort.”
Throughout the entire trial, Gosnell and his defense lawyer were winning by a landslide. No one wanted to get too close to an “abortion” case, (or cover it in the media for that matter) and it seemed that he was going to get off scott-free.
Until The Photo.
Until the prosecutor presented a piece of evidence that forced people to actually see the atrocities that we’ve sanitized and sugarcoated as “a woman’s right to choose” or even better: “reproductive rights.”
The photo was stealthily taken by a teenage technician at Gosnell’s clinic, who took a photo on her cell phone of the 32-week-old child who was born alive and then “snipped.”
And in the most powerful scene in the movie, the prosecutor went around to each member of the jury and held this photo 6 inches in front of them, and made them come face to face with what abortion actually is.
She made them come face to face with the truth.
We never saw the photo in the film. It is far too gruesome. But we saw the reactions of each member of the jury. And let me tell you friends, I was balling like a baby.
I was sitting by myself, in an empty movie theater in NYC, balling my eyes out.
But that is how the trial was won.
That photo won the case.
People had to come face to face and actually look at the truth of what we’ve hidden away and avoided talking about because of awkwardness, or political correctness, or fear of offending someone.
The truth was brought to the light. And Gosnell was locked up for life without parole.
(And if you want to see the actual photo, you can view it here, on the movie’s website. But I warn you, it changes you. I cried for 10 minutes straight after viewing it.)
But I was riding the subway home after the movie and that scene with the jurors, it stuck with me.
First of all, it was brilliant cinematography. Such a deliberately slow scene, with a pregnant pause in the action (pun intended) that made the viewer watch – for an uncomfortable amount of time – as each person faced the truth. In photographic evidence.
My mind wandered as the train made stop after stop. I had quite a long commute home, as there was only one movie theater in all of NYC that was playing, in their eyes, a “pro-life garbage film.” But needless to say, I had time to think.
And it made me wonder…what do I have in my own life that I need to come face to face with?
What areas of my life, or of my faith, or of my health, am I refusing to examine, because I know it will be uncomfortable?
Because the truth is a hard pill to swallow. The truth demands action. The truth demands change. And I think that sometimes, we don’t want to have to “deal with” the consequences of learning the truth. So we avoid it. And speaking from experience, I can be a master avoider when necessary.
You know, I think that abortion is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what our culture refuses to confront.
I mean, why does culture have a steadfast rule to never talk about “religion or politics” at the dinner table? It’s because it is uncomfortable. The truth is messy. And hard to look at in the face.
Just like those jurors learned.
But it is only when we do, that justice can be brought about.
It brings me back to how I eventually ended up agreeing to go to inpatient treatment for my anorexia. I was resisting, and adamant about not going. I was legally an adult, so my parents couldn’t force me to go. So my family staged an intervention, and it wasn’t until a trusted family friend got literally 2 inches from my face and said, “Do you know what you’re doing to your father?”
And it was in that moment that I finally was confronted with the truth. I was forced to see the truth of my actions, and manipulation and deception and destruction.
I had to look. He was exasperated, and tired, standing over the stove in the kitchen with his shoulders stooped and spirit broken. It was the first and only time I have ever seen my dad like that. And in that moment, I saw my hero – my dad, who I loved more than anything in the world – I saw what my eating disorder was doing to him. And how he was doing everything in his power – including flying in weight gaining drinks from Sweden – to help me get better. He believed in me, and was fighting for me, and I was absolutely destroying him and myself. I finally saw the toll it was taking on him.
And it was only then, in that moment, that I agreed to go to Inpatient.
The truth is hard to face. It is hard to stomach.
I am grateful that this movie brought us face to face with the reality of abortion.
Because you walk away from that movie with a choice: Now that I know the truth, what am I going to do about it?
You come to a crossroads. Just like I was, sitting on the couch during the intervention.
What are you going to do about it?
Because the dangerous thing about the truth, is it requires you to take a position. With it comes responsibility. You cannot stay in a condition of apathy or indifference, once you’ve confronted it face to face. You can either remain silent, and thereby condone that which is going on. Or you can stand up and make your voice heard.
I am choosing the latter.
See the movie. And stand with the truth.
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