Showing posts with label Movie Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Movie Review. Show all posts

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Serial Killers & Abortionists: Psychological parallels

The subtitle of the 2018 film Gosnell is "The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer." This is more than just a description of someone who took multiple lives. When one compares some of the common psychological and other characteristics of serial killers and supporters of abortion, one finds ominous parallels.

Compartmentalization is aided by another universal process: the capacity of human beings to dehumanize “the other” by regarding outsiders as animals or demons who are therefore expendable. Serial killers have taken advantage of this process in the selection of their victims: They often view prostitutes as mere sex machines, gays as AIDS carriers, nursing home patients as vegetables, and homeless alcoholics as nothing more than trash. By regarding their victims as subhuman elements of society, the killers can delude themselves into believing that they are doing something positive rather than negative. They are, in their minds, ridding the world of filth and evil. (Serial Murder and the Psychology of Violent Crimes, 2008)
Dehumanization of victims was something the writers of the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs incorporated into the character of the killer, who was based on several real serial killers, when he referred to his victims as "it."

Likewise, proponents of abortion avoid confronting the humanity of the enwombed victim. As made well-known by the 2019 film Unplanned, when the enwombed infant is dismembered, he/she is "reassembled" for inventory in a room referencing not "human" remains, but rather, "products of conception."

A defender of her days as an abortion counselor declared, "fetuses are not people," and "It is not a baby. It is medical waste." and
While it was shaped like a baby, what I was looking at was not a person. It was a fetus. A fetus my patient had chosen not to make into a baby." (Rewire News)
Activists at abortion rallies have been seen with signage referring to the enwombed as "parasites," paralleling the serial killer's reframing of their victims as some type of "filth and evil."

Related to dehumanization is euphemistic language. I reviewed a number of other euphemisms used by supporters of abortion in my review of Unplanned. Though euphemisms are common to political issues of all sorts, these are specifically designed to avoid confronting the humanity of the victim. Not one of the abortion industry's euphemisms, such as:
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Anti-choice
  • Tissue
  • Products of conception
  • Reproductive health
  • Her body
or a host of other diversionary terms directly confront the humanity of the enwombed.

Notice also how referring to the baby as "waste" and abortion as "healthcare" aligns with the serial killer's delusion that he is "ridding the world of filth and evil."

In March, Georgia House member Stacey Abrams used the euphemism "forced pregnancy" to describe a bill against abortion. Notice how the term avoids the humanity of the victim, as does the language of the serial killer. Diverting the matter to a "pregnancy," something the mother undergoes, or calling abortion "healthcare," etc., is to use "sanitizing language," which makes the idea of abortion more easily digestible for its proponents. (And, nevermind that the women in question are already pregnant. Saying "forced pregnancy" is like saying that the prohibition of all murder is "forced parenthood" to the victim's parents.)

Kermit Gosnell, the now-imprisoned abortionist featured in the 2018 Gosnell film, said in the 1960s, he pushed for "the liberalization of the performance of therapeutic abortions." He likewise touted  his work in abortion, saying, "I provide the same care I would want my daughter to receive and I feel I fulfill that standard." And, a reporter quoted him as saying, "my work to the community is of value."

Like the attitude of the serial killer thinking he is "doing something positive," phrases that describe abortion as "healthcare," or as "therapeutic," or as opposition to "forced pregnancy," are all euphemisms designed to delude one to believe he is committing some act of heroism by killing the enwombed.

Related to both of the prior categories is the serial killer's and the pro-abortionist's desire to conceal the identity of the victim. Some serial killers conceal the face of the victim:
[D]epersonalization of the body...refers to actions taken to obscure the identity of the victim, as through mutilation or covering of the face. (Handbook of Psychological Approaches with Violent Offenders, 1999) 
However, in cases of sexual or lust murder, the victim's face may be covered in order to dehumanize or depersonalize the victim. (Serial Murder and the Psychology of Violent Crimes, 2008)
The notorious "Jack the Ripper" was famously known to target faces in his attacks, especially disfiguring the faces of his last two victims.

Planned Parenthood openly decries the notion that a mother should see her baby via a "mandatory ultrasound." Young women have been denied by Planned Parenthood their request to see their baby in an ultrasound. Planned Parenthood has also refused to even perform an ultrasound unless the mother is "terminating"—per another of their euphemisms.

This aversion to ultrasounds is confirmed by former employees. For example, ex-Planned Parenthood worker Patricia Sandoval described how she was taught the following:
So the most important thing here [at Planned Parenthood] is that when we do the ultrasounds before their abortions, you never ever let the woman see the screen. If she wants to see that ultrasound, that screen has to face the doctor, never the patient. I don’t care if she cries. I don't care if she’s screaming. [She] never sees that ultrasound. (Patricia Sandoval - Testimony on Abortion)
The ACLU also fights regularly against women seeing their ultrasounds prior to abortion.

Pro-life campaigns like "Face the Truth", which show photos of aborted babies to the public, have likewise been met with hostility by abortion supporters. It is another attempt to conceal the identity of the victim.

Among serial killers and pro-abortionists, there exists a psychology that avoids looking upon the victim.

Selling the bodies and body parts of victims is more common among abortionists, but known to happen among serial killers. We learned of the abortion industry's body part sales in recent years via first-hand video conducted by the Center for Medical Progress. In harmony with the serial killer's delusion that they are "doing something positive" when killing, we see another mental justification used by abortionists—that the body parts will go toward medical studies. Consider the following serial killer cases involving sale of body parts and using victims for medical study.
  • Notorious Chicago serial killer H.H. Holmes "sold several of his victims' skeletons and organs to medical schools."
  • Victims of the Burke and Hare murders were sold to physician Robert Knox for use in anatomy lectures.
  • Nazi scientists testified that their murder was justified because they derived use by medically studying the victims.
The preceding parallels are not merely ordinary characteristics native to ordinary folk. The characteristics described are, in a sense, essential to the psychological justifications of both serial killers and pro-abortionists.

For those whose hearts may be stung by the pain of abortion, there are many resources available, such as at AbbyJohnsonLiveAction, or Waterleaf.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Takeaways from Unplanned movie

One of the first sentiments I had after viewing the film Unplanned was the same as my opening remarks last October about the film Gosnell: the scariest moment perhaps "is when one realizes how protected the abortion industry is."

Let's review that and several other takeaways from the film. I will keep spoilers at a minimum.

Still from the movie Unplanned (2019). Obtained from

Unplanned is an important insider look at the machinations of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry on which it thrives. The film is based on the actual life of Abby Johnson, whose name is very familiar to Catholics and the pro-life industry. Her perspective as an acclaimed and former director of Planned Parenthood has inspired many. The film's epilogue notes how Johnson's organization And Then There Were None has provided resources for and helped lead over 500 workers to discover the truth about Planned Parenthood and subsequently abandon it.

Planned Parenthood's business model is evident in the film. Abortions collect the largest margin of any product or "service" they offer. That means the difference in the amount an abortion costs them versus what they charge typically vulnerable women and girls is a larger dollar amount than anything else they offer. The description of this business model in the film is evidenced by the facts.

The film draws attention to Planned Parenthood publicly claiming they desire abortion to be "rare." Yet, as Abby Johnson and others have revealed, Planned Parenthood issues awards for increasing abortion productivity. This is hardly the organization's only lie.

Although the film does not delve into it, Planned Parenthood's long list of lies includes denial that they cover up child sex abuse, and denial that they sell baby body parts and have altered abortion procedures in order to procure specific parts.

The film does involve more than one bloody scene, including a dramatic abortion. The film received an R rating, which seems excessive, considering bloodier films without pro-life messages are given lesser ratings. However, the film's co-director Chuck Konzelman pointed out the irony of this rating, because "abortion is an act of extreme violence."

Another feature in the film worth mentioning are the several euphemisms and terms of snakery Planned Parenthood uses to disguise the truth.
  • "Planned Parenthood" - The very name of the organization itself belies the fact that abortion clients are already mothers. Its main product, abortion, and its other products like contraception, are designed to eliminate parenting. As some have noted, "unparenthood" more accurately describes their intentions.
  • "Anti-Choice" - As is often the case, including with a complicit media, the term "anti-choice" is used to describe pro-lifers who recognize the enwombed as a life. As Father Corapi often used to ask of the abortion industry's use of the word "choice": "Choose what?"
  • "Tissue" - The baby is referenced only as "tissue" that is not a baby "yet." In the film, we hear this used to convince a teen about the acceptability of having an abortion.
  • "Products of Conception" - A lesser known euphemism is the official term used by Planned Parenthood to refer to the remains of the aborted baby: "Products of Conception." In the P.O.C. room, pieces of the baby are "reassembled" and accounted for, so they can determine that they got the entire baby. As I said, the film is disturbing, but the information it reveals in this mass media format is important in combating the lies about the enwombed. Ancient Egypt wasn't the only sinful nation plagued with rivers of blood. 
  • "Reproductive Health" - Another phrase heard in the film and with frequency in media and from politicians is the term "reproductive health" to refer to the dismemberment or pulverizing of an enwombed baby. The reality is, a baby that would otherwise continue to live and grow, is terminated—the very antithesis of "health" and a diabolical lie.
  • "Her body" - Although the abortion industry has tried to sell the idea that abortion is ultimately about "her body," the nascent baby in the womb—left out of the abortion propagandist's equation—has his/her own unique DNA, distinct from the mother. Empirically and factually, the baby is not the mother's "body."
For eight years Abby Johnson worked up close and personal with the abortion of some 22,000 babies.  She was also not stuck at Planned Parenthood against her will and had family that consistently encouraged her to leave. But all those euphemisms and all Planned Parenthood's talk about health for vulnerable women serves as a veil, a means by which to deflect the public's attention, to avoid asking the actual question—is the enwombed a life?

Still, we have seen in modern days those who admit that from the moment of conception, the enwombed is by all reasonable measure a human life. Their justification for abortion comes in the the illogical idea that the baby's value is dependent on the mother's desire. If a mother considers herself "not ready" to raise a child or doesn't want to be connected to the father anymore (as was described in the movie about Johnson), the baby's very life loses value. This is to treat a baby the same as any other commodity, where market demand determines value. In this case, the mother is the market. This relativistic and perverse mentality deprives human life of objective worth.

Johnson has spoken at length about the blindness of sin she incurred. One takeaway for our own lives is to be on guard for what ways we might be deluding ourselves, falling for some seductive sales pitch on a particular sin.

One of the sins to which Johnson was blinded in her youth was her having obtained two abortions herself. She suffered terribly from the second, yet still pursued a career fostering abortions. The film especially brings to light the lie especially underlying her second abortion. She had filed for divorce and discovered she was pregnant. She didn't want to be "connected" to that man anymore and the termination of the baby was a "fix" for that problem. Of course, she merely sacrificed her baby for that separation and took on a different cross, knowing she offered no fight for her own child's life and paid someone to end it. This is not an uncommon story. It underscores the importance of treating the conjugal act with the utmost sacredness, and should discourage anyone from engaging in casual sex, and certainly not commit to someone of questionable character which is more difficult to avoid when engaging in sex with that person. But modern phenomena like abortion and contraception imply that one needn't be as careful or choosy with a partner. It's another dimension of abortion's lies.

The film mentions the type of powers that fund Planned Parenthood, explicitly naming George Soros, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet. The support from these multi-billionaires for an organization consistently caught lying and disguising its depraved work goes a long way in explaining its continued existence.

Soros and Gates have given over a combined $32 million to Planned Parenthood in recent years, dwarfed only by Buffet, who issued the abortion provider a deluge of over $230 million. (see LifeSiteNews.) Incoming donations such as these as well as Planned Parenthood's outbound political donations are reasons why many have questioned their reception of taxpayer funds and non-profit status. Their legal intimidation, also shown in the film, are important facts to know when understanding the entity that is Planned Parenthood. With such a concentration of influence from just a few donors, one rightfully must question how much of the organization's survival is due to ideology and paid propaganda. This is especially a fair question when one considers the euphemisms, that Planned Parenthood uses language to describe what they do other than language that actually describes what they do.

Despite such colossal funding, Planned Parenthood still vies for public funds. Politicians who support them are not apt to reveal the flow of income they already enjoy from other sources. They typically hide behind miswordings like "health" to market things like abortion and contraception that are properly defined as non-medicine or poisons.

Such political and corporate funding could also explain why Planned Parenthood has been caught multiple times in outright lies yet fail to incur any consequence of significance. We are witnessing the undeniably naked emperor and are told to look the other way and deny it.

The film seems to avoid Johnson's eventual conversion to Catholicism. It only mentions an earlier stage of her spiritual development when she attended a generally Christian service. There are shots of pro-lifers praying the rosary at times, but nothing overtly Catholic, even though that appears to be central in where Johnson is today. This might make the film more widely appealing to non-Catholics to support the pro-life movement, but it's worth noting that the whole story has a definite Catholic component.

Part of what I remember hearing about Johnson's exodus from Planned Parenthood was that one of the items she took with her when she left was a bowl full of Miraculous Medals left by pro-lifers. She had collected them over time. I think I might have seen a bowl on her desk late in the film that contained them, but it was hard to tell if that was an "Easter Egg" or just another prop. Perhaps a commenter can shed light. But, undoubtedly, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal lent her immaculate gaze to that day when Abby Johnson finally stood for innocent life in the womb.

Unplanned: Behind the Scenes is viewable over at There are a number of fascinating tidbits from this video and the phenomena behind the movie. But I'd like to focus on these three additional takeaways from this mini-film.

  • Providence. Lead actress Ashley Bratcher (whom was warned not to take the role because she would never find work again) discovered that her mother had almost aborted her after already having been post-abortive. Not only was abortion considered, but her mother was literally seconds away from permitting the deed against Ashley, having gone all the way to a "clinic," and was in the room for an abortion before she walked out. This story adds a providential mystique to the film and what it represents.
  • Opposition. Shawn Carney of 40 Days for Life made a prophetic statement which will undoubtedly come true. There will be critics of the film who will avoid confronting the truth it exposes by seeking refuge in more euphemisms, claiming the film is the "anti-Planned Parenthood movie, the anti-abortion movie, the anti-woman movie, the anti-fill-in-the-blank..."
  • Revelation. Writer/Director Cary Solomon told an interesting story about how his father had seen the movie and experienced a conversion on the matter of abortion. He quoted his father as saying, "You've shown us what we didn't want to see." The statement superbly summates the theme of the film, from the power Planned Parenthood wields, to the truth about abortion itself.

Further resources:

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Thoughts on Gosnell film

Dean Cain in Gosnell
(production still from

Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer is one of the most important films in recent years. It is an engaging, well-paced crime drama that sheds overdue light on the nature of the abortion industry and the government and media powers that protect it.

Perhaps the scariest moment in the Gosnell movie is when one realizes how protected the abortion industry is. During a scene depicting pretrial questioning, a state official shrugs at the fact that the state of Pennsylvania neglected to properly vet abortion businesses.

In the actual case, Pennsylvania health department official Janet Staloski testified that health department attorneys "changed their legal opinions and advice to suit the policy preferences of different governors" and that the state didn't want to be "putting a barrier up to women" seeking abortions.

The lack of media interest in the case likewise reveals the propagandist quality of the abortion industry. Whether from government or media, such propagandists have proven reluctant to even discuss abortion's true nature.

The actual Gosnell Grand Jury report filed in 2011 goes on for over 60 pages detailing how the Pennsylvania Department of Health woefully permitted unsafe medical conditions to persist at abortion offices. Gosnell's office, as the movie reiterated, went uninspected at one point for a span of 17 years.

That section of the report begins:
We discovered that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety. 
The film moves along at a decent pace, beginning with investigators discovering illegal prescription drug activity from Gosnell's office. The abortion horrors transpiring there might not otherwise ever have been exposed if not for the state following the drug leads.

It is a fascinating watch, especially for those interested in true crime, courtroom drama, and police investigation. Ed Morrissey, senior editor at Hot Air and regular guest host on Relevant Radio, reviews some of the other accurate attributes of Gosnell here.

Although the subject matter largely revolves around abortion, the movie is not graphic. Evening television depicts far more gruesome imagery than can be seen in Gosnell. That brings me to Baby Boy A.

Baby Boy A was born alive and subsequently murdered by Gosnell. "[T]he doctor just slit the neck," testified Kareem Cross, an assistant at Gosnell's office. A photo of the baby factored into Gosnell's guilt. Gruesome details of Baby Boy A's fate are given in the Grand Jury Report beginning on page 100. Cross was asked why she took the picture of this boy Gosnell killed. Cross testified:
Because it was big and it was wrong and we knew it. We knew something was wrong. ... I’m not sure who took the picture first, but when we seen this baby, it was – it was a shock to us because I never seen a baby that big that he had done. So it was – I knew something was wrong because everything, like you can see everything, the hair, eyes, everything. And I never seen for any other procedure that he did, I never seen any like that.
Below is a screencap of Baby Boy A from the Grand Jury Report.

I asked film director and star Nick Searcy via Twitter why the photo was not shown in the movie. He graciously replied: "Because we have good taste and discernment."

While I respect that decision and the audiences Gosnell had to consider, I would like to have seen the photo in the film. Granted, the film's epilogue does refer the viewer to the Gosnell film website to see the photo.

The issue brings to mind the question of whether or not to show images of aborted babies. For example, images are shown by the Pro-Life Action League's "Face the Truth" tours. Pro-life theology professor Dr. Monica Miller argues photos expose the truth of abortion's atrocity in a way non-visual communication cannot. In 2013, not long after the Gosnell trial, she was interviewed on the Kresta in the Afternoon show on the topic Graphic Images: An Apologia (written form of her arguments can be also read at Pro-Life Action League).  In the case of Baby Boy A, I do not find the photo that graphic. It is a photo of a newborn. I would like to have seen the image in the movie, if even by way of a long camera shot. To include the photo in the film seems consistent with the unmasking theme of the film itself. The matter also reminds me of the graphic nature of The Passion of the Christ (2004). Although many criticized the brutality in that film, many others argued for the necessity of depicting the violence. And the Baby Boy A image is far more benign than what is depicted in The Passion.

Depicting all of Gosnell's crimes could probably fill multiple television seasons. The Gosnell film focuses largely on the investigation and parts of the trial, including Baby Boy A and the death of Karnamaya Mongar. However, his gruesome legacy went much further. As the film mentioned, Gosnell's atrocities go back at least to the early 1970s in which he participated in an experimental abortion technique that badly damaged many women's insides.

The Grand Jury Report goes on for hundreds of pages about his improprieties, including especially disturbing accounts beginning on page 6 under the subhead "Butcher of women."

For example, Gosnell tore the cervix and colon of one woman, prevented relatives from getting to her, and only let them in once they threatened to call police. The victim was brought to a hospital and had to have a portion of her intestine removed. Multiple other stories in the report tell of similar horror.

All in all, this is a gripping film full of accurate details on one of the most important issues of our time. Not to be lost is awareness of the collaborative effort by government and media in facilitating Gosnell's crimes in the name of abortion. It is an eye-opening account to anyone unfamiliar with the abortion industry and the schemes that hide its true horrors.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Movie Review: "The Rite"

Following is a review of the 2011 movie "The Rite." This thread may contain details that could "spoil" the movie for some readers. However, I think I have not given away anything vital that would spoil any surprises. At the end of this post you will see a SPOILERS warning for a scene at the end of the movie which you may wish to skip if you have not seen the movie.

"The Rite" is a film about a skeptical Catholic seminarian (or perhaps a deacon---there was a voiceover that indicated he had been ordained a deacon although they refer to him as a seminarian) who travels to Rome and observes the exorcisms of a veteran priest. The seminarian Michael Kovak is played by Colin O'Donoghue, and the exorcist Father Lucas Trevant is played by Anthony Hopkins. The opening credits state that the movie is "suggested by the book by Matt Baglio" which is called "The Rite: The Making of an Exorcist." According to radio producer Nick Thomm (MP3), the book and film were written simultaneously so the movie can't really be said to be "based" on the book. Rather it seems there was inspiration and collaboration between Baglio and the screenplay author. As of this post, I have not read the book.

Overall, I give the film 6.5 out of 10. I would classify this as another film Catholics can view as favorable to the Church. It is fraught with Catholic imagery, statues, much of which takes place in Rome. Rosaries and Hail Marys are said, Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary are called upon during exorcism, confessions are heard favorably, the rite of exorcism is used along with the priest's drive to ascertain the demon's name, the warning for lay persons to not address the possessed, etc. Priests are also portrayed positively on the whole throughout the film. One bizarre moment that never comes into play was when a priest indirectly threatens Kovak financially if he dropped out of the seminary. The other bizarre thing about this priest is that it is quite unlikely that he would send a skeptical priest to learn about exorcisms because exorcism is dangerous work that demands great faith.

The best scenes in the film are early on when Kovak witnesses Father Lucas' exorcisms of a pregnant 16 year old (played by Marta Gastini, who I would say was the best actor in the film). These scenes get to the heart of the exhaustion and real battle that takes place during exorcisms. (Stories by actual priests can be read in good books like An Exorcist Tells His Story, The Devil, or Begone Satan which tells the story of a 23-day exorcism in Iowa in the 20th century. Another book I have not read is Interview with an Exorcist by Father Fortea. His talk to seminarians on exorcism is worth a listen.)

Kovak also plays the role of a skeptic throughout the film. He tries to offer scientific explanations of phenomenon whenever he can, even if his explanations are less-plausible than the demonic. There was one line where he said something to Father Lucas like: "It's hard to believe when no proof is considered proof." He said this in response to Father Lucas explaining how the devil hides so that others will doubt. Kovak's comment was left unchallenged and I wish they would have addressed the nature of faith in the face of evidence. We put our very lives at risk in the absence of proof such as when we trust the the brakes on the car will work or the food in a restaurant is not poisoned. Yet when a possession victim speaks alien languages, regurgitates foreign objects, makes impossible bodily contortions, the Kovak character was apt to demand some sort of "proof" that would dispel his own capacity to think of unlikely alternative explanations. As Blessed John Henry Newman wisely wrote well over 100 years ago: "For directly you have a conviction that you ought to believe, reason has done its part, and what is wanted for faith is, not proof, but will."

One point the film was clear to make is that in Catholicism, natural explanations must be "exhausted" before someone can be considered possessed. The character Father Lucas is himself a doctor. The medical staff at a hospital admit to having run out of medical options in another case. This is important because it shows the prudence of Catholic teaching in diagnosing this phenomenon. One does not want to fuel a victim's delusion if there are natural or psychological explanations for the disorder at work.

At times the film is a little slow and much is left unexplained. It is unclear when the devil is at work or when actions have other causes. It is also unclear when the devil "wins" any particular battle. Sterile flashbacks to Kovak's childhood are scattered throughout the film that I found more interrupting than informative.

As exorcism movies go, I would rank this second behind The Exorcism of Emily Rose and ahead of The Exorcist. All three movies do attempt to get theological portrayals correct with varying degrees of accuracy.

EDIT TO ADD: Since posting this review, I have completed a review of the book The Rite.


One questionable flaw in the movie was the portrayal of the seminarian (or deacon) Kovak performing an exorcism. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1673 When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism. Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing. In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism. The solemn exorcism, called "a major exorcism," can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.
In the film, Kovak does read a rite from a book and it is unclear whether or not this was licit. Not only did he enter the exorcism with lingering doubts of faith which likely would have rendered him weak or even succumb to the devil's wiles, but without priestly ordination, the exorcism lacked the spiritual gifts given to a priest at ordination.