Author and producer implores faithful to fight abortion through communication

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Ann McElhinney, producer of the 2018 movie "Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer" about a notorious Philadelphia abortionist and convicted felon, speaks to the more than 800 guests of the Lake County Right to Life banquet in Schererville on April 5. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

by Anthony D. Alonzo

Northwest Indiana Catholic

 

      SCHERERVILLE – Ann McElhinney, a best-selling author and documentary filmmaker, has worked on projects advocating a contrarian viewpoint to mainstream narratives in telling human interest stories and exposing hypocrisy in environmental advocacy.

      The Irish native told guests of the annual Lake County Right to Life banquet at Villa Cesare hall in Schererville that her work on a book with her husband Phelim McAleer started her on a fact-finding journey to eventually dramatize the “true crimes” of a former Philadelphia abortionist, and have a change of heart.

      McElhinney, the keynote speaker, told the more than 800 in attendance at the 46th annual LCRTL event on April 5, that she appreciated their interest, but that a conspiracy of silence on the abortion issue by the mainstream media has prevented more people from attending.

      In 2018, “Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer,” was released in theaters and told the story of Kermit Gosnell, an abortionist who carried out 15 abortions a day for 30 years and eventually ran amok even of liberal laws governing the abortion industry.

      Previously a lukewarm Catholic and not a participant in the culture wars of the day, McElhinney is now a sought-after speaker and front-line advocate for exposing the practices of abortion centers. She said she is used to being censored, ignored or lambasted by a large segment of the press.

      “The question is ‘what makes news?’” McElhinney asked, explaining how the Gosnell trial got a tiny fraction of attention compared to the “wall-to-wall coverage” of the Jodi Arias murder trial. “It was crickets.”

      During a trial in 2013, Gosnell, a former Philadelphia-based abortionist, was charged and convicted of numerous felonies including murder, performing late-term abortions, and violating the Pennsylvania 24-hour informed consent law. He waived his appeal rights to secure an agreement that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty.

      “It’s been amazing. Prior to coming to this story, I would have described myself as distinctly neutral when it comes to abortion, which means pro-abortion,” McElhinney said.

      But testimony from the Gosnell trial where abortionists defended the delivery and neglect of viable babies sparked a change.

      “When (my husband and I) heard it was legal in the U.S. to allow children to be neglected to death, we thought ‘people don’t know this,’” McElhinney explained. “We thought we need to make a movie about this; people need to know this is happening.”

      At the banquet, which is the not-for-profit’s main fundraiser, LCRTL president Len Reynolds praised the work of volunteers who operate local crisis pregnancy centers. He reminded guests that Moms & Tots Resale Shop, founded in 2018 in Griffith, has been transformed by volunteers to offer clothes and accessories sold to benefit pregnancy resources.

      Bishop Donald J. Hying implored pro-life activists to continue to support local ministries such as the Women’s Care Centers in Hammond and Merrillville. He also said recent pro-life movie releases such as the Gosnell docudrama and  “Unplanned,” now in theaters, are helping to rally the faithful.

      “We see that with advances in legislation that is pro-life, and in movies like ‘Gosnell’ and ‘Unplanned,’ a greater ferment and animation of more people that are firmly pro-life,” Bishop Hying explained. “We need to be ever more bold and ever more courageous and ever more generous in building a culture of life.”

      McElhinney said the current conservative tilt to the Supreme Court and and the prolife advocacy of the Trump Administration, especially the vocal support of Vice President Mike Pence are positive developments. But she said dangerous pro-abortion legislation in New York, where a state law allows for the termination of a viable unborn child if a doctor makes a “reasonable and good-faith judgment” that the health of the mother is in danger, promotes infanticide.

      Changing hearts and minds and prayerfully offering concerns to God is the real way forward to restoring respect for the life of the unborn.

      “We will not quit,” McElhinney vowed. “God is still on his throne and we must partner with him. . .and act as if that baby to be saved were our own. They are our own.”

      Eighteen-year-old AnnMarie Hemmerling of St. Michael in Schererville hopes to be an advocate for the unborn as a member of the diocesan youth council. Having seen “Gosnell” and “Unplanned” in the theaters, she said the “heart-breaking” and “eye-opening” movies have inspired her to follow the lead of McElhinney and communicate important issues.

      “With a lot of the social media circulating there is a lot of fake news, or things that really don’t get brought up,” Hemmerling said. “It’s really good to call people’s attention to the difficult topics, even though it may be hard.”

 

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At the Lake County Right to Life banquet, Bishop Donald J. Hying addresses the more than 800 people in attendance at the event at Villa Cesare hall in Schererville on April 5. During his remarks at the 46th annual LCRTL event, the bishop said the Church is unequivocally pro-life and will continue to support all people, especially women in crisis pregnanies and their unborn children. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

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At their 46th annual banquet Lake County Right to Life president Len Reynolds addresses the more than 800 people in attendance at the event at Villa Cesare hall in Schererville on April 5. During his remarks, Reynolds implored the audience to accept the challenge to be expose the calluous destruction of human life by the abortion industry, as documented by the evening's keynote speaker Ann McElhinney, co-author of the best-selling book "Gosnell: The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer," and producer of a 2018 movie on the same subject. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)