Members of Congress Shocked After Watching Kermit Gosnell Documentary

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 22, 2013   |   11:09AM   |   Washington, DC

Members of Congress were described as shocked after seeing a documentary on Friday that profiles the House of Horrors abortion clinic run by Kermit Gosnell where gruesome late-term abortions and infanticides occurred.

The Susan B. Anthony List and the Pennsylvania Family Institute hosted a Capitol Hill staff briefing and screening of the documentary film, 3801 Lancaster, for members of Congress and their staff. The film details Kermit Gosnell’s “house of horrors” clinic and the abortion practitioner who is currently on trial for the murder of seven newborn babies and one woman who died from a botched legal abortion.

Michael Geer of the Pennsylvania Family Institute briefed staffers on Pennsylvania’s legislative response to the Gosnell case and Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List explained what the case means for the abortion debate moving forward.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus, and Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), Chairman of the Values Action Team, co hosted the event. A report in US News described the response from those who viewed the film:

Staffers from the offices of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., watched the graphic documentary, “3801 Lancaster,” which detailed the squalid conditions of Gosnell’s clinic and showed graphic images of the babies who are believed to have died there.

Several of the staffers winced or turned away from the screen when images were shown of babies Gosnell allegedly aborted by “snipping,” a practice by which a baby’s spinal cord is severed with scissors.

“There are only one of two ways to respond to this. The first is to do what we all feel like right now, which is to recoil… and hope that it goes away,” SBA List head Marjorie Dannenfelser told staffers after the film concluded. “But that’s not why we’re here on Capitol Hill.”

Dannenfelser encouraged staffers to specifically look into potentially lax regulation of abortion clinics in their home states, as well as fetal pain legislation at the federal level.

She told Whispers that the prominence of the Gosnell case “amplifies our arguments” and “strengthens our ability to succeed.”