Film Seeks to Expose 'Serial Killer' Kermit Gosnell
LOS ANGELES -- It has been described as one of the most important stories never told: the case of Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor some believe killed thousands of babies over the span of three decades.
From the 1970s to early 2010, the sign on Gosnell's West Philadelphia clinic read "Women's Medical Society." But in 2010, after investigating claims of an illegal prescription drug operation, federal agents discovered what they call a "house of horrors."
Three years later, a jury found Gosnell guilty on three counts of murder for killing babies that were born alive. He was also convicted of manslaughter in the death of a 41-year-old Bhutanese immigrant who died from a botched abortion while under his care.
Many pro-life advocates believe Gosnell's crimes were covered from the public eye by a systematic campaign of media censorship.
Now, a year after the guilty convictions, independent filmmakers Ann McElhinney and her husband, Phelim McAleer, have made it their mission to make a movie exposing the truth about Gosnell.
"I think this is the biggest serial killer in American history," McAleer told CBN News at the couple's Los Angeles home. "Americans need to know what was done and how it happened -- and how he was allowed to go on killing for 40 years."
McAleer and McElhinney plan to produce a television movie based on the Gosnell case in 2015, but first they need to raise enough money to fund the project.
They have launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo.com and, so far, have raised about 90 percent of their $2.1 million goal.
"We feel enormous responsibility now to tell this story well and to do it right," McAleer said. "We're very worried that we're not going to meet the total. We're very exhausted because we've been working so hard."
While they admit they're concerned, they also experience bouts of encouragement.
"Every day something happens that makes us think, 'Oh my God. This is extraordinary!'" McElhinney added. "Last week we had a man who tweeted out a photograph of his just-born granddaughter and to celebrate her birth. On that day, he sent us a hundred dollars."
They view each donation as a vote, voicing opposition to what they see as media censorship. They point to the big TV and cable networks' refusal to cover the Gosnell story in favor of the Jodi Arias trial, a woman convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend.
The filmmakers say the censoring campaign continued when they returned to their original choice for crowd-funding, Kickstarter, which they had used to fund their movie, "FrackNation."
After launching the Gosnell Movie campaign, Kickstarter wanted changes to adhere to its community guidelines -- a move McElhinney and McAleer believe was politically motivated.
"Kickstarter was just continuing in that grand condition of censoring this story, of making sure that the antiseptic light of truth would never ever penetrate this Philadelphia abortion clinic where these children were murdered -- thousands of them," McElhinney said.
"To this day they are unremembered. We're going to change all that," she vowed.
Kickstarter, which boasts some 150,000 projects launched from its website, responded to CBN News with the following statement:
"Our team reviews every project submission. In this case we recommended the filmmakers copyedit both a factual error and a phrase that evoked an incredibly graphic image that felt too strong for a general audience. Trying to make this about something it's not, stoking a make-believe fire to incite publicity, and imagining Kickstarter as a partisan battlefield is wrong. We exist to support creators and creativity, not a political ideology."
Meanwhile, the couple has taken their crusade to conservative media outlets, and their efforts are paying off.
They've even landed support from Hollywood stars, like "Justified" actor Nick Searcy, reality star Sloane Brown from "The Drama Queen," and Kevin Sorbo, who recently starred in the Christian film "God's Not Dead."
Sorbo and his wife, Sam, appeared in a video urging people to donate to the campaign.
"They're celebrities. They're Hollywood people, and, as you know, Kevin has had this very successful movie," McElhinney explained. "We just went and we asked them, and they didn't hesitate for a second. They said, 'We're in.'"
No strangers to controversy, the pair believe this film will have the power to change the abortion debate in America, but they acknowledge that won't happen if they fail to meet their fundraising goal.
"All the money [will] go back to the people. The money goes straight back to their credit cards," McAleer explained. "So the film doesn't get made. And Kermit Gosnell's name fades into obscurity. His crimes fade into obscurity."
McElhinney added that all the people who don't want the story told will wind up winning.
"And his victims are never remembered," McAleer said.
But for now, they're fighting to keep that from happening.