I was energized about the abortion issue in the year that I received my master’s degree, 1973. Students of the issue will recall that it was in January of that year that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legal abortion in the infamous Roe v. Wade case. The speaker at my commencement was Dr. C. Everett Koop. He told us that we were becoming the first generation to live in the "brave new world" which would likely bring about major ethical and moral challenges that were unknown to our parents. How right he was. And he got my attention and it has remained ever since.

This is why I picked up the film documentary, Unborn in the USA: Inside the War on Abortion (2007), at my library and watched it last week. It was touted as objective and "eye-opening." Salon.com said, "The abortion movie everyone should see. Fascinating!" I have never seen an objective film documentary on this subject. I now believe this is as close as it gets, with a few reservations that are modest. This film should be seen by Christians, all Christians except young children.

My reservation is that no producer can film a controversial subject such as this and not make choices about what they will keep in a film and what they will omit. And no producer can tell a story, with real events and people, and not seek make editorial decisions of some sort. But Stephen Fell and Will Thompson come very close to reaching their goal—an objective documentary.Unborn1_2

I have to say that my respect for how Focus on the Family trains and equips young people to engage this issue was quite positive. Several other Christian leaders in this debate came across as compassionate and careful. But, and this was no surprise, a few other Christian groups and sidewalk counselors/speakers were offensive and rude. One such minister, at the end of this film, gets into a shouting match with an irate young Catholic and tells her, "You are a daughter of Satan." She throws a punch and he wrestles with her on the ground.The police intervene. The minister is smug about it all. It is ugly and makes pro-life people look ridiculous. The story of the bombers of clinics and the killer of doctors is also included. (A wonderful interview is included with a former abortion doctor who is now pro-life and tells why killing doctors is not the answer at all!) And Father Frank Pavone, the famous Catholic anti-abortion spokesman, comes across as as clear and decidedly Christian. He is a wonderful champion of truth with mercy.

Perhaps the most important questions that Christian viewers will ask if they see this film are:

1. What methods are really right for us to use in order to save lives?

2. Should graphic images be used in public to show the horrors of dead children who were aborted? They sure create an emotional response.

3. How can we get more expectant mothers who are considering an abortion to see and hear the real facts?

I was stunned by this simple bit of information. Of all those women who enter an abortion clinic nearly 99% will have an abortion. Of all those who get alternative perspectives and understand that the child they carry in them is a human person, through seeing and hearing these facts, the number is almost the opposite. It seems to me that this means we must know people who are our neighbors and help them understand what they are doing before they get to the abortion clinic or it is clearly too late. How do we do this? This film will show you some effective ways, I think, and some very ineffective and highly questionable ways.

Watch it. If you dare, show it to Christians and have a passionate discussion. It will work I assure you. But be prepared before you show it.

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  1. Gene Redlin July 8, 2008 at 7:23 am

    It was the idea that this discussion had two sides to be considered that drove me out of the ELCA in the 70s to a much more conservative (theologically) church (Assembly of God).
    This is black and white to me. Isaiah 59:7 (swift to shed innocent blood).
    Now I agree that the protesters have not all been wise. We can do better.
    I believe however the church has been unwise in equivocating on all this. Call evil evil and good good. There is no middle ground on this one.
    People who kill unborn children commit murder. That is the foundational premise. Now how to deal with it may be in debate. But let us never back down from the basic premise of right and wrong.
    Abortion is murder.

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