Silence isn’t always golden

Why doesn’t freedom of expression seem to apply when it comes to the film Gosnell?

A bumper sticker said, “Honk all you want; I’m deaf.” Meanwhile a youngster listened closely as his mom said to her friend on her birthday, “You sure don’t look like you’re 40.” The boy piped up, “But some of your parts sure do!”

The recent release of the movie Gosnell has caused some to pretend they’re deaf to its contents while critics say exactly what they think. This independent film tells the true story of the investigation and trial of abortionist, Dr. Kermit Gosnell. It’s been described as shocking but many true stories are, such as those dealing with the holocaust, slavery or war. Nonetheless, those stories were all depicted on film.

However this movie had been dropped by 188 theatres upon release, even though it was placed in the top 10 film list. The film’s marketing director said, “The fact that we’ve been dropped from theatres where the movie is the number six or number nine movie is just something you don’t see. It’s hard not to believe it isn’t about the content of the movie.”

Critics have described it as ‘anti-choice Catholic-backed propaganda’ and a ‘conservative-backed dramatization.’ One could ask what a ‘liberal-backed’ dramatization would look like. And how can a true account of an accused serial killer be labelled conservative or liberal?

It causes me to ask why freedom of expression doesn’t seem to apply for this particular film? And I was reminded of a recent campaign I heard about from the government in Scotland boasting that “religious bigotry is not welcome here”. What was the process that caused freedom of speech and expression to deteriorate to such an extent in Scotland?

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