Abortion and the Movies – Surprise!
by Phil Boatwright

Have you noticed there are few, if any, movies concerning an unexpected pregnancy where planned abortion prevails? Why is that? Hollywood is basically pro-choice (interesting euphemism), so why the reluctance from Tinseltown to address unwanted pregnancy with a pro-abortion slant? Well, structurally they can’t. Story-wise, a writer dare not portray his protagonist as someone who commits abortion. The character, no matter the reasoning, will always come across as selfish if she finalizes this procedure. Indeed, it could be considered the ultimate act of selfishness as abortion ultimately has to do with the mother’s wellbeing, not the unborn’s.

Now, when I lump all of Hollywood into a pro-abortion camp, I’m being somewhat bigoted. I must amend my attitude. Therefore, I write before you, corrected. Not all in the entertainment community are pro-abortion. And their films prove it.

Gimme Shelter (PG-13) opens in wide release Friday (Jan. 24). From studio press notes: It concerns a pregnant teenager who flees her abusive mother in search of her father, only to be rejected by her dad and forced to survive on the streets until a compassionate stranger offers a hopeful alternative. While her parents are telling Apple to abort the baby, for some unknown reason, the young girl can’t bring herself to do it.

In the recent Stores We Tell, a filmmaker films a documentary about her eccentric family. At one point the writer/director is told that her mother had not only considered aborting her, but was in route to the clinic in order to proceed with the termination. Suddenly, she turned to her husband and said, “I can’t do this.” Years later, the husband says to his moviemaking daughter, “Amazing how close we were to you never existing. Almost enough to make you an anti-abortionist.”

The realization that she had been a car-drive away from not being a part of her family’s life haunts the production, perhaps negating any debate concerning a woman’s rights over those of the unborn.

The same emotion hits us in the gut when we see Gimme Shelter’s Apple holding her newborn. Full of hope and promise, if you tried to take that little bundle from the mother, she’d fight until she couldn’t fight anymore.

Last year, three releases (Gravity, Captain Phillips, All is Lost) each significantly dealt with mankind’s struggle to survive despite all odds. When you view a character battling to stay alive despite overwhelming odds, one must concede to the preciousness of life. Not sure the filmmakers were making a pro-life statement in these productions, but that’s what they did.

Among others from years past, here are three more pro-life films that come to mind.

Waitress: Trapped in a loveless marriage, a pregnant Jenna (Keri Russell) fights off depression by making pies for the restaurant where she waits tables. Though she doesn’t want a baby by a man she has come to despise, she realizes that the unborn child has rights and she does everything possible to see that the fetus is getting what it needs to develop correctly.  (PG-13)

Juno: A smart teen (Ellen Page) becomes pregnant after her first sexual encounter and decides to have the baby, giving it up to an adoptive perfect couple. Juno’s first inclination is to have an abortion (tells you something about our culture’s dominance, doesn’t it?), but without the filmmakers attempting a flagrant pro-life statement, the sanctity of unborn life triumphs. (PG-13)

Bella: After losing her job due to morning sickness, a young waitress/mother-to-be is befriended by the restaurants chef, who quickly becomes a confidante. Winner of several festival awards, this 2006 release is one of the most touching stories of recent memory. It is a film that celebrates the Latino culture, family and the value of a life. (PG-13)

March of the Penguins: In the Antarctic, every March the quest begins for penguins to find the perfect mate and start a family. This courtship begins with a long journey – a trek that will take hundreds of the tuxedo-suited birds across seventy miles of frozen tundra to a location where the courtship will begin. It’s full of impressive, almost unworldly locations; more importantly, it sends a powerful message concerning the importance of life. Nature is reminding us about the sanctity of life. (G)

Before concluding, I am aware that too often we defenders of the unborn come across as unfeeling or unthinking regarding those who have decided on the procedure. It should be stated that if indeed abortion is a sin, it is one that can be forgiven. The woman who condemns herself for the deed need only ask for God’s forgiveness. If she does, she will find it. And one day, she will be joyously reunited with her child. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just a stone thrower. And you know what Jesus said about throwing stones.

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