If you were at CLC, you had a chance to see the passion and determination that drive her, particularly in her efforts to produce the film she and her husband, Phelim McAleer, have been making about notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
A journalist and filmmaker, at CLC McElhinney was a whirl of activity: striding through the halls of the hotel, talking intently with attendees, working frantically to correct a technical glitch for a sneak-peek of the movie, and speaking with urgency and conviction at presentations.
She and McAleer first came to prominence with the film “Frack Nation,” which exploded many of the myths about fracking. But as she explained last year at CLC, they are on a quest to spread the truth about the abortion doctor and those who helped him. Telling that story revealed why she is so impassioned about the movie “Gosnell.”
The outlines of the story may be fairly well known. Gosnell ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia. Thanks to the work of a few dedicated police officers and prosecutors, in 2013, Gosnell was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three of the babies, involuntary manslaughter in the death of an abortion patient, performing illegal late-term abortions, and other charges. He is serving a life sentence.
But it was in telling the details that McElhinney exposed the real horrors. There were others involved who seemed like ordinary people but were accomplices to evil, McElhinney said. There were employees – one described himself as “a fireman in hell” – who worked for Gosnell. Perhaps worse were the bureaucrats who refused to inspect the clinic, allowing it to function as cats wandered around, women in pain sat alone all day, and garbage piled up; yet many of these bureaucrats kept their jobs, or collected their pensions, she said.
Finally, there are the women and the babies. Their plight, of course, was the most heart wrenching of all. Perhaps the most moving story was of how a non-actress hired to play a role in the movie had herself gone in for an abortion, but a nurse had allowed her to listen to her baby’s heartbeat in the womb, and she changed her mind. “My baby started kindergarten today,” she told McElhinney.
At the end of McElhinney’ presentation, the room must been dusty, because quite a few of the listeners were dabbing at their eyes with napkins or handkerchiefs.
An honest writer must confess it’s impossible to convey all that happened. If you’d like to know more about the story, you can read McElhinney and McAleer’s book “Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.”
They are still working on getting the “Gosnell” movie into wide public distribution. Those who would like to help in this essential part of moviemaking can click here.