New York’s Theatre Row canceled a performance of the pro-life play “Oh Gosnell: The Truth About Abortion” just days before its premiere, claiming it is inappropriate for children and there is a concern for the safety of theater staff and neighbors, Fox News reported.
Phelim McAleer’s play is based on verbatim transcripts from the trial of Kermit Gosnell, who ABC News said is “America’s most prolific serial killer.”
Gosnell is a former Philadelphia physician who is serving two life sentences. In 2013 he was convicted of killing three babies born alive at an abortion clinic and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering a lethal dose of sedatives to an adult.
He was also convicted of 21 felony counts of illegal late-term abortions and more than 200 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s 24-hour informed consent law.
McAleer’s play was scheduled to open at Theatre Row on May 5, coinciding with the premiere of J Abram and Ilana Glazer’s “Oh God, A Show About Abortion,” a play billed as an “abortion comedy.”
According to Fox News, on Thursday, April 21, McAleer’s nonprofit organization, “The Unreported Story Society” (USS), received a letter from attorneys representing the theater saying the play’s subject matter is “inappropriate for children” and they are “concerned for the safety of our staff and our neighbors.”
In an interview with the news network, McAleer said, “I do want people to go and see both [plays] and to come to their own conclusions, which is something that Theatre Row wants to rob the people of – this ability to hear all the facts. What are they scared of?”
He also said that claiming safety concerns is a form of censorship.
“Safety is the new shut up,” the playwright said.
“You are not standing up for the arts. You are not standing up for diversity of thought. You are not standing up for free speech,” the response read.
McAleer said the theater claims to be a “lively, accessible venue for diverse audiences,” but they act in a contrary way by not allowing the play to be performed.
“Why wouldn’t they want an alternative point of view? Isn’t that their mission statement?” expressed McAleer, adding, “They always say they want alternative points of view until they realize people actually hold real alternative points of view.”
Theatre Row has hosted plays deemed unsuitable for minors, such as the cases “Satan and God” and “My Mother’s Severed Head,” and they are currently selling tickets for “H*tler’s Tasters,” which they do not recommend for children under the age of 14.
Despite the cancellation of the Theatre Row performances, “Oh Gosnell: The Truth About Abortion” is playing at the Chain Studio Theatre through May 15, and the official opening is scheduled for May 5.