It’s no surprise that the documentary “3801 Lancaster” has not received a lot of attention. Actually, to be more painfully accurate, there has been almost a complete media blackout of this investigation of abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic.
We’ve written about the film here and here, but I understand why I don’t have a lot of company. In a mere 21 minutes and 11 seconds, the documentary explains in almost clinical detail the circumstances that will result in Gosnell going on trial next month, charged with eight counts of murder: first degree murder in the cases of seven “late-term” babies he is said to have deliberately aborted alive and then severed their spinal cords with surgical scissors; and third-degree murder in the case of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died from a drug overdose reportedly prescribed by Gosnell.
What the film adds to the news accounts that were written about what District Attorney Seth Williams called Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” is what the printed word can only hint at. We watch interviews with two of the women who aborted at the Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic. They reinforce the overwhelming conclusion of the Grand Jury report that resulted in Gosnell’s indictment: it’s actually worse than what the eight counts of murder would suggest.
So when Tara Murtha of the Philadelphia Weekly finally got around to writing about the documentary last week, no surprise that “3801 Lancester” was reduced to “a propaganda film” that “exploits the Gosnell tragedy.” I am not going to make the mistake of running after Murtha as she veers off to run down various irrelevant rabbit trails.
Suffice it to say she doesn’t like it that there are Black pro-lifers who believe that abortion clinics target Black women, and especially that they would have the audacity to run a series of billboards that say, for example, “Abortion Makes Three-Fifths Human Seem Overly Generous.”
The fundamental irony of Murtha’s piece is that she keeps arguing that the makers of the documentary misrepresent this or that. I’ve watched the film several times and while anyone is free to criticize them for criticizing abortion clinics in general, Planned Parenthood in particular, you have to work overtime to twist one of the key Grand Jury conclusions around to hammer the Black pro-lifers who are an important part of the documentary.
The Grand Jury report made it unmistakably clear that Gosnell preyed on poor women of color and treated them in a manner he would never have dreamed of treating white women. Murtha offers a couple of quotes:
“As a former worker in Gosnell’s clinic told the grand jury, Gosnell, a rich black man, treated poor brown and black patients differently than middle-class white patients. From the report: ‘Like if a girl — the black population was — African population was big here. So he didn’t mind [having clinic workers] medicating your African-American girls, your Indian girl, but if you had a white girl from the suburbs, oh, you better not medicate her. You better wait until he go in and talk to her first.’
“Also from the grand jury report: ‘We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion.’”
But Murtha has her own agenda, so she uses that to draw the conclusion she wants: that Gosnell’s abortion clinic was not inspected because “of institutionalized classism, racism and sexism.” Talk about misrepresentation, not to mention distortion.
The latter quote adds two other reasons Gosnell was free to carry on without any concern for the health and safety of women. The primary victims—unborn babies aborted alive and then, according to the Grand Jury report, killed when their spinal cords were slit—were voiceless “infants without identities.”
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And there were lots of people in the medical bureaucracies that looked the other way either out of indifference or fear that checking out Gosnell might cast abortion clinics in a very, very negative light (to put it politely).
And, of course, by moving the discussion off of what actually happened at Gosnell’s clinic, Murtha is able to ignore items like this, from the Grand Jury report:
“The Grand Jury, reviewing just the fraction of Gosnell’s abortion files seized by authorities, was still able to document numerous instances in which ultrasound readings were manipulated to disguise illegal late-term abortions. Our review, although limited by the disappearance of many patient files, revealed that Gosnell reported performing abortions on 24.5-week fetuses more than 80 times between 2007 and February 2010.”
Get that? The Grand Jury only saw a fraction of Gosnell’s files, many of which had evidence that ultrasound readings had been manipulated to “disguise illegal late-term abortions.” In other words, by the Grand Jury’s own accounting, were there accurate records, it is highly likely Gosnell would be charged with many more counts of murder!
Also by burbling on about “institutionalized classism, racism and sexism,” Murtha can avoid this example of how the Abortion Industry averted its eyes:
“Based on her observations, the evaluator [from the National Abortion Federation] determined that there were far too many deficiencies at the clinic and in how it operated to even consider admitting Gosnell to NAF membership. On January, 2010, she wrote to Gosnell informing him of NAF’s decision and outlining the areas in which his clinic was not in compliance. The evaluator told the Grand Jury that this was the first time in her experience that NAF had outright rejected a provider for membership. Usually, if a clinic is able to fix deficiencies and come into compliance with the standards, NAF will admit them. Gosnell’s clinic, however, was deemed beyond redemption.”
Check out the very next paragraph from the Grand Jury report:
“We understand that NAF’s goal is to assist clinics to comply with its standards, not to sanction them for deficiencies. Nevertheless, we have to question why an evaluator from NAF, whose stated mission is to ensure safe, legal, and acceptable abortion care, and to promote health and justice for women, did not report Gosnell to authorities. …”
Enough on Murtha and her propaganda piece. Take 21 minutes and 11 seconds and watch “3801 Lancaster”
Reprinted with permission from National Right to Life News.