Local filmmaker featured on CNN
April 14, 2013 2:00 AM
by HEATHER ROTH
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A local filmmaker joined a panel of experts on the “Anderson Cooper 360ᄚ” news show on CNN Friday night to talk about Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, whose murder trial is currently under way.

David Altrogge, of White Township, wrote and directed a documentary about Gosnell’s clinic and the charges he faces. Altrogge appeared on the 8 p.m. news show to talk about the lack of action from the Department of Health and why he thinks major media outlets have been relatively quiet about the charges.

A clip from the documentary, “3801 Lancaster,” was also shown. The segment can be viewed online at http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com.

“I was just so grateful for the opportunity to talk about the story and grateful that they were reporting on the story,” Altrogge said. “I just thought (Anderson Cooper) did an excellent job laying out the story and my hope is people keep talking about what’s going on.”

Altrogge said he received a call on Friday from CNN producers asking to use a clip from “3801 Lancaster” in a report for anchor Jake Tapper.

At 5 p.m., producers from Anderson’s show called to ask if they, also, could use a clip and if he’d be willing to appear on the show. That left just about enough time to drive to the Pittsburgh studio.

“It was sort of a rush thing,” he said.

The experience itself was “surprisingly low key,” he said. “It was just a conversation.”

He hadn’t been asked the questions ahead of time, but they were all things that he’s been talking about since he started producing the documentary.

Altrogge first appears at the 46-second mark of the segment. He talks about how Pennsylvania health and licensing officials failed to shut down the clinic despite reports of significant problems, and the part that the poverty and race of the patients may have paid in the lack of action. He also talks about what part politics might have played in the relative lack of attention the story has received nationally.

“I am shocked that the major media outlets haven’t covered a story that, for lack of a better word, is as sensational as this, and I do think it’s because we’re uncomfortable talking about the issue of abortion and unfortunately these women and these babies are being forgotten,” he said on the show.

Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder after an investigation into prescription drug fraud at his medical office at 3801 Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia, discovered horrific malpractice, including the body parts of fetuses stored in jars and blood on furniture.

He is accused of delivering seven infants alive and then using scissors to sever the spinal cord, killing them. He is also accused of murder in the death of a woman who overdosed on painkillers during an abortion procedure.

Meanwhile, a grand jury investigation pointed to negligence on the part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health; an onsite visit of the clinic had not been conducted since the early 1990s, despite complaints of injuries.

Gosnell has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is under way now.

Altrogge’s documentary, which he created along with executive producer Ian Murphy, director of photography Michael Hartnett and producer Jen Thompson, is online at www.3801lancaster.com.

Altrogge is the son of Mark and Kristi Altrogge, of White Township.

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