A film called “Gosnell: America’s Biggest Serial Killer” opened on Friday. It’s the story of the Philadelphia-based abortion doctor who was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder of infants born alive and one count of involuntary manslaughter of a woman seeking an abortion. He committed these crimes while operating his abortion clinic that violated so many health inspections and state standards it was truly a ghoulish spectacle. The film is based on a book with a similar title, written by two journalists (who, as it happens, are not ardently pro-life but just thorough about undercovered stories), Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer.

The book and the film detail the way investigators became aware of Gosnell’s horrifying abortion practice and the trial that convicted him. Actor Dean Cain plays James Wood, the detective who followed this case through, first on a tip about the clinic participating in narcotic abuse. Actor Nick Searcy directed the film, and conservative writer and political commentator Andrew Klavan wrote the script. The parties involved had to raise crowdfunding money just to get going, and they had a hard time getting distributors because of the controversial and horrific subject matter.

Even though Hollywood regularly releases dramas or even true crime films about serial killers, psychopaths, and more, to those in the industry, this film wasn’t about crime or one man’s abuse of power or the state’s lack of concern about clinic health standards or women’s health — it was only about abortion, so they refused to play ball. Eventually, the film secured funds and distribution — and some outlets are covering the story now.

Of course, scenes of the clinic and Gosnell’s practices are peppered throughout — scenes that are uncomfortable without being overly graphic — which explain both why this story was hardly covered by major media outlets when the investigations were unfolding and why the story needs to be told.

In an e-mail, journalist Ann McElhinney, who wrote the best-selling book the film is based on, told me the reason she and her husband covered this had nothing to do with their political ideologies but rather because “we are journalists,” she wrote. “This is a huge story that was never really covered, and that was a dereliction of duty by journalists.”

It’s true that pro-life advocates eventually took to this story as proof that abortions are as bad as they believe, and the doctors involved can be as irresponsible as they believe. However, “Gosnell” isn’t so much a pro-life film as it is one that showcases how gruesome the issue really is, and was in the hands of a man who was as unqualified to be an abortion doctor as he was criminal.

For example, in the 280-page grand jury report published in 2011, they eschewed the idea that the Gosnell case was about politics at all but rather, “It is about disregard of the law and disdain for the lives and health of mothers and infants. We find common ground in exposing what happened here, and in recommending measures to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.”

The grand jury concluded that Gosnell’s clinic itself was “‘Filthy,’ ‘deplorable,’ ‘disgusting,’ ‘very unsanitary, very outdated, horrendous,’ and ‘by far, the worst’ that these experienced investigators had ever encountered.” Additionally, the grand jury report cited that Gosnell’s practice used “bogus" doctors, falsified records, and oversaw unprofessional procedures with no respect for life and medical and abortion laws. The grand jury presumed Gosnell had murdered hundreds of babies after their birth but had to find hard proof of this in order to actually convict him on it. The jury noted:

"Among the relatively few cases that could be specifically documented, one was Baby Boy A. His 17-year-old mother was almost 30 weeks pregnant — seven and a half months — when labor was induced. An employee estimated his birth weight as approaching six pounds. He was breathing and moving when Dr. Gosnell severed his spine and put the body in a plastic shoebox for disposal. The doctor joked that this baby was so big he could “walk me to the bus stop.” Another, Baby Boy B, whose body was found at the clinic frozen in a one-gallon spring-water bottle, was at least 28 weeks of gestational age when he was killed. Baby C was moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an assistant came in and cut the spinal cord, just the way she had seen Gosnell do it so many times."

Gosnell’s blatant disrespect for law, medicine, and human life was on gross display for years, and even after it was revealed, few mainstream outlets chose to report it because they couldn’t figure out how to touch “abortion” beyond ideology. Still, the film is out now and will hopefully shed light on a true crime story that should have been prevented. This is McElhinney’s goal.

She told me, “We hope a lot of people see the movie and discuss it after and get educated. So little is known or discussed about abortion. People need to be informed.”

Nicole Russell (@russell_nm) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota.