Imagine for a moment that there was a serial killer who over the space of decades murdered hundreds of victims without being caught. Imagine that he mutilated and maimed many others. Imagine, too, that his mind was so twisted that he took photos of his victims, and even kept their bodies or body parts preserved in his home and office.
And imagine that in addition to murdering countless victims, he was also a prolific drug dealer, using his medical license as a front to sell opioid prescriptions to thousands of people, thereby injuring and killing many more. And then imagine that on multiple occasions police became suspicious and interviewed him, only to repeatedly let him go.
Finally, imagine that after decades of killing, the scope of his crimes was revealed only by accident, when his medical office was raided after a routine, months-long investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency: a raid that exposed the hellish reality hiding behind the walls of what he presented to the world as a legitimate medical practice.
By all accounts, this is one of the most sensational stories in history: a once-in-a-century true crime story, even worse than that of Jack the Ripper, or any other of history’s most gruesome serial killers.
A Podcast Exposing America’s #1 Serial Killer
Of course, we don’t have to “imagine” any of this. All of this really happened. Right here in America. And this prolific serial killer is still alive, currently serving three life sentences.
The husband-wife pair behind this podcast have produced perhaps the definitive investigation into a story that America has largely forgotten. Along the way they interview women who visited Gosnell’s facility, some of whom were injured. They talk to Gosnell’s staff, some of whom were complicit in his crimes. They talk to the police investigator who first busted Gosnell, and to the jurors who handed down the “guilty” verdict that sent him to prison for the rest of his life.
And, most chilling of all, they interview Gosnell himself.
“America is obsessed with crime and serial killers,” says host McElhinney in the introduction to the show, “Fictional and true crime shows dominate the TV listings and the podcast charts.” “But,” she adds,
few people know about Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s crimes. Yet he killed hundreds, perhaps thousands. His crimes are horrific. Most of his victims were babies. He also killed and mutilated many, many women, mostly minorities. He gathered trophies of body parts. He took intimate photos of his victims. He recruited others to kill. And according to his victims and staff, seemed to take pleasure in his crimes. Gosnell was also one of Philadelphia’s biggest drug dealers. He first came to the attention of the police in 1972 for mutilating almost a dozen women. But he was allowed to continue practicing medicine and killing until he was finally arrested in 2011.
It is true that in the months after Gosnell’s arrest, and during his trial, the media did cover the case. How could they not? The details of the case were sensational.
In the wake of the police raid on the clinic over suspicions that he was dealing drugs, there emerged a steady flood of new and ever-more-macabre details about what police found: blood-stained floors and walls, rusty, outdated medical equipment, untrained staff performing medical procedures, fridges stuffed with bags full of the bodies of his victims, first-person accounts of the throats or spinal cords of living victims being slit.
However, even then the coverage hardly did justice to the magnitude of the case. Now, as McElhinney notes, we barely hear about Gosnell at all. Few people are probably aware that America’s most prolific serial killer was caught just over a decade ago and is still alive.
The reason we hear so little about him now is no secret. Gosnell was, at least on paper, an “abortionist.” As such, his case inevitably provokes profoundly uncomfortable questions – questions that the deeply pro-abortion media establishment would rather not ask.
It is important to note that when I speak of Gosnell’s “hundreds” of victims, I am not including in that list the untold thousands of unborn children that Gosnell killed. They too are his victims.
However, the unjust law of our land, tragically, does not recognize them as victims. Instead, it arbitrarily grants the right to life at the moment of birth. To kill a child moments before it is born is (albeit depending upon the state) perfectly legal. To kill that same child, however, moments after its birth is murder, just the same as killing any other person is murder.
Gosnell killed children that were born alive. According to the testimony of his former staff, he killed lots of them. Perhaps hundreds. Perhaps more. Which, even in the light of our perverse laws, makes him America’s most prolific serial killer.
However, we don’t treat him as such. Gosnell’s name is rarely mentioned in the same sentence as other notorious serial killers such as Ted Bundy or Jack the Ripper. The reason, of course, is that he killed those who had just barely crossed the legal line from non-persons to persons. In the case of one child, known in court as “Baby A,” a mother gave birth to her child in a toilet in the clinic. Then Gosnell snipped its neck.
Our culture doesn’t know what to do with such a serial killer – a killer whose actions would have been perfectly legal, had they been performed minutes, or even seconds, earlier.
No wonder Gosnell himself sounds so confused when he is asked about his crimes and continues to protest his innocence. “I didn’t think I had done anything at all,” Gosnell tells McElhinney in one recording.
Indeed, Gosnell evidently thinks of himself as a kind of hero, a man who was offering much-needed medical services to his fellow minorities. And why shouldn’t he think so? So much of the media and political establishment had assured him, for so long, that abortionists are heroes: doctors who were willing to brave the anger of those “bigoted” pro-lifers to help women out in their time of need.
A Story That Must Be Told
As McElhinney notes in a press release announcing the podcast series, Gosnell got away with murder for as long as he did, because authorities repeatedly turned a blind eye to his crimes, despite a huge number of red flags. And the reason they did so was, she alleges, “because his victims were mostly minorities and because they were determined not to shine a negative spotlight on abortion.”
The podcast is as enthralling as it is gut-wrenching, including such things as the actual recordings of the undercover calls put in by Officer Jim Wood to the drug dealer who revealed that her source was Dr. Gosnell. The podcast traces this macabre tale from the moment Gosnell came on the radar of the drug police, to after his conviction.
This is a story that must be told, not only to honor the lives of Gosnell’s many victims, but to raise awareness about the ongoing crimes being perpetrated against so many others, right now. Gosnell’s case exposes the deep dissonance at the heart of the law in so many states. Even though Roe v. Wade is no longer the law of the land, in so many states the unborn still lack legal protections.
Anyone who listens to this podcast can’t help but come away deeply uncomfortable with the violent practice of abortion. In the podcast, McElhinney recounts one moment in Gosnell’s trial when one of his staff argued that it was “standard medical practice” to allow children that were born alive after failed abortions to die of exposure and dehydration. McElhinney notes that many of the journalists in the room seemed deeply uncomfortable with this admission.
“What,” McElhinney says these journalists asked themselves, “was the dividing line between acceptable medical practice, and murder?”
That is the question that Gosnell’s story should provoke in the mind of any right-thinking person. The fact that the answer should seem so fuzzy and uncertain is why – as the podcast recounts – so many of the journalists covering the story began to question their previous pro-choice views.
We face an overwhelming bias of the secular press, who fail to report on the true nature of abortion and its lucrative and violent industry, and a political establishment, especially the current administration, determined to enshrine abortion at any cost, irrespective of the inviolable dignity and right to life of the most vulnerable of our human family, the unborn. That is why Gosnell’s story must continue to be told.
Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer have done great work with this podcast. Listening to it is not easy or comfortable. But I hope you will consider spending some time with it and sharing it with others. It will awaken hearts and minds.