'October Baby' Success Concerns Pro-Choice Activists
I admit I'm a bit surprised at this myself. Even though it opened on the same weekend as the much ballyhooed "Hunger Games," the pro-life film "October Baby," has a tremendous amount of buzz. As Entertainment Weekly put it:
As Katniss Everdeen fought for her freedom on screens across the country, a humble pro-life film called October Baby quietly opened in just 390 theaters. That modest release, which co-stars Jasmine Guy and John Schneider, ended up earning a cool $1,718,000 — enough to put it among the weekend’s top eight earners.
There's only one thing to do with movies that resonate with filmgoers -- it's expanding to 500 theaters this weekend. I haven't seen it but I have been surprised to hear good reviews from friends who are apolitical.
The media is responding to this by writing articles such as "What October Baby Gets Wrong About Modern Womanhood" (Slate). The New York Times wrote a news story about the film, which it summarizes as:
“October Baby” tells the story of Hannah, 19, a home-schooled Baptist who is told by a doctor that her ailments — asthma, seizures, moodiness — are the result of being born prematurely after an abortion attempt.
Hannah sets out to find her birth mother, a quest that ends in tears and, ultimately, a lesson in forgiveness delivered by a Catholic priest.
It was inspired by the story of Gianna Jessen, who says she was delivered alive at a California clinic after a late-term saline-injection abortion. As a paid speaker at anti-abortion events she tells of her struggles and medical conditions. (The film doesn’t get into the science, but a 1985 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology examined 33,000 suction curettage abortions and found a failure rate of 2.3 per 1,000 at the 12-weeks or earlier.)
Though “October Baby” arrives at a moment when reproductive rights and women’s sexual health are again part of a robust national debate, its makers say they weren’t acting with a political agenda.
“I was just dumbfounded by a true story,” said Jon Erwin, 29, a co-writer and a producer of the movie, which he directed with his brother Andrew, 33. “I didn’t see it as a political issue.”
The Erwin brothers, who were home-schooled in what they described as a Christian household, said they voted Republican and considered themselves conservatives. But, they said, they did not think deeply about the abortion debate until they heard Ms. Jessen speak. “I began to research it because I didn’t know there was such a thing as an abortion survivor,” Jon Erwin said. “I’m an artist — sometimes the way artists process things is through art. I just felt I had to put this perspective on film.”
I had never really heard of surviving an abortion and was surprised the figure was so high. I believe there are about 1.4 million abortions annually in the United States alone. If there are 2.3 survivors per 1,000 abortions, that means we're talking about several thousands of abortion survivors each year, right?
If I were reporting this story, I'd want to know what happens when an abortion "fails." Is the "failure to kill the embryo" rate higher for later-term abortions? I'd imagine that most women who are aiming to end pregnancies would go back for another round at the abortion clinic. I could also see some women taking it as a sign not to end their pregnancy. The media never seem to be terribly interested in reporting stories that undermine the central teachings of the Church of Planned Parenthood, however. So I don't imagine we'll see much acknowledgement that an abortion "failure" means the human child in the womb keeps living.
And you can imagine how a movie depicting one abortion survival out of these thousands is characterized by abortion activists:
[T]he abortion rights organization Naral Pro-Choice America contends that the film is tied to an extreme anti-abortion message. A spokesman, Ted Miller, added that his group was “concerned that some proceeds from this film could be going to organizations that may intentionally mislead women about their health-care options.”
It's so interesting how half of the country is pro-life but any acknowledgement of that side of the argument sends the elite media and other abortion rights supporters into a tizzy.