‘Making film woke us up to shocking reality of abortion’

Two Irish filmmakers have changed their minds on abortion after encountering the realities of the procedure while working on a film about an infamous abortion doctor.

Husband and wife team Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, who are based in Los Angeles, said that pro-abortion campaigners in the Republic of Ireland need to recognise the shocking truth of abortion.

The couple had been “fairly disinterested” in abortion, seeing it as an “unfortunate but probably necessary part of modern life”.

Shocking evidence

But they found out what is really involved while making a film about Dr Kermit Gosnell, who was found guilty of murder after killing babies at his clinic in Philadelphia.

Writing in The Irish Times, McAleer and McElhinney said that during Gosnell’s trial the court heard shocking evidence from so-called “good abortionists” about legal procedures.

A doctor described how tools would be used to pull body parts out in early abortions, and said that in later procedures poison is injected through the woman’s stomach directly into the baby’s heart before it is pulled out intact.

Shook assumptions

The court heard that if a baby is accidentally born alive he or she is simply left to die – a process one abortionist called “comfort care”.

McAleer and McElhinney said that “the trial changed many minds and shook assumptions”.

They quoted a local journalist, JD Mullane, who had interviewed many of the key players surrounding the Gosnell case.

Truth in detail

He said that almost everyone “who spent significant time at the Gosnell trial was less pro-choice at the end. This change was probably because they were for the first time hearing about the reality of abortion from experts under oath”.

Mullane added: “They had to tell the truth and they had to tell it in detail”.

McAleer and McElhinney said, “our experience of the Gosnell case is that anyone who has learned more about the reality of abortion – the pulling apart of the foetus, the injecting of poison into the heart, the ‘comfort care’ – has come away with only negative feelings about the procedure”.

They said that those in Ireland who hope to legalise abortion by bringing the issue “out of the shadows” should be ‘careful what they wish for’.

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