Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Review of the Documentary, 3801 Lancaster Avenue: American Tragedy

by Ellen Gifford, President
Bucks County Pro-Life Coalition

On January 14th, the semi-annual Pro-Life Summit was held at the archdiocesan complex in center city. The hallmark of the Summit was a showing of the documentary film “3801 Lancaster Ave. - American Tragedy.” The hour long movie, visually depicted the horrific conditions that existed at Dr. Gosnell's abortion facility on Lancaster Ave. In fact the building was so poorly maintained that it has been condemned as being unsafe for use (the city has yet to make a decision on the next steps for building).

Ironically, the police were not drawn to the building to investigate Gosnell's abuses of Pennsylvania abortion laws, but because of an investigation into Gosnell's selling of prescription drugs illegally. Police officers interviewed on screen, related their reactions upon entering what was advertised as a place where a surgical procedure was to be performed. A place where blood stains littered the floor, a feral cat roamed the floors using an open litter box full of cat feces, fetal remains were in the staff food freezers, and a row of jars containing severed feet were found.

Gosnell, known in the industry for performing late term abortions had referrals from abortuaries as far away as Puerto Rico. This part of his practice was so lucrative, it was not unusual for him to gross $10,000 - $15,000 dollars in an evening, the time of day he preferred to perform the late term abortions. 

Although Pennsylvania allows abortions until week 24 of gestation, it was not unusual for him to perform abortions on babies as old as 30 or even 36 weeks. Gosnell preferred to deliver these babies in tact and to then perform a procedure he called 'snipping' on the baby. This was the insertion of a pair of scissors into the base of the baby's head and 'snipping the spinal cord resulting in the baby's death. 

Sometimes he was so busy, that the 'snipping' task was given to the clerical help. Although he was charged with 47 counts of first degree murder, the jury found him guilty in only 3 deaths, but enough to get him 3 life sentences without possibility of parole.

During the Q and A that followed the showing, the writer/director of the movie, David Altrogge shared that he found out about Gosnell quite by accident when he happened to see a small article in a Pittsburg, Pa. newspaper. Gosnell pleaded not guilty to all charges, did not take the stand in his defense and feels that one day he will be vindicated.

J. D. Mullane a local journalist was also on hand and participated in the Q and A. He attended all sessions of the trial, and received threats from major media concerning the end of his writing career.
While the court had set aside 3 entire rows of sets for the media, only Mullane was there to report on the trial. It was his publishing of a picture of the empty seats on social media and the uproar it caused that made several major media outlets to reverse themselves and cover the trial. 

Because of the Gosnell revelations, in 2011 Pennsylvania passed Act 122 setting minimum common sense standards for surgical facilities including abortion centers. At the current time this bill is in jeopardy of being repealed. Please contact your state representative and state senator, telling them  to keep Act 122 in place.   If you don’t know who your state legislators are, or you need contact information, please use this link.  

Note: The film is available on Amazon prime.  To view the trailer of this documentary, or to find out how to purchase this film, please use this link. 

The Bucks County Pro-Life Coalition plans to show the film in 2 parts at an upcoming meeting.


The mission of the Bucks County Pro-Life Coalition is to provide financial support to area crisis pregnancy centers and educate the community regarding sanctity of life issues from conception until natural death.  For more information, please use this link. 

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Voices for Life is an e-publication dedicated to informing and educating the public on pro-life and pro-family issues. To read our Mission Statement, use this link. Follow us on FacebookGoogle, and Pinterest. Help us spread the pro-life message by sharing our articles on your favorite social networks.

Pregnant, need help or know someone who does?  

National Hotline: Call 1-800-712-HELP or Text 'HELPLINE' to 313131.
In Southeast Penna:  Call or text 610-626-4006  

If you are experiencing pain or loss because of an abortion, please know there are many organizations where you can find help. Call 1-800-5WE-CARE. 

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