I once thought that I couldn’t pull it off –I couldn’t fathom how I could make a pro-life documentary that would even come close to reaching a broad audience.
I considered it useless to pursue a topic so sensitive, highly emotional, and taboo. Essentially, I didn’t see an endpoint to the debate. To me, abortion was a gray area. I had pro-life sensibilities, but I figured they should be kept between me and my pro-life counterparts. And I never had the slightest conviction that abortion should be illegal because I felt “the choice” should still be there. So I wasn’t actually pro-life all the way. And, quite frankly, the issue was not on my radar.
So what happened to make me care this much? Short answer: the movie biz.
Since the beginning of my career in video production, I’ve had an inner tug to do my own “passion projects.” I loved working on documentary films as an employee, and now with my own business, I love making videos for clients. But I still yearned to do an independent film. I had some ideas of what projects to pursue first, and an abortion documentary was not one of them!
I embarked on a small-scale documentary about one of my clients, Ventura County Pregnancy Center (a non-profit, donation-funded ministry). I admired what they did to help women in pregnancies, and I wanted to show people this hope-giving yet publicly overlooked resource. Through the Center, I met many women who were emotionally (and a few physically) scarred by abortion. I even met a birth mom who chose adoption for her second pregnancy because she promised herself she would never again choose abortion. So I wanted to bring awareness to other options available to women in unplanned pregnancies – yet without diving too deep into the abortion issue. Again, the topic seemed untouchable to me.
That is until one evening, I was invited to a presentation by Alan Shlemon, a Stand to Reason speaker who gave tactical approaches to the abortion debate. For me, this changed everything.
- People often don’t talk about abortion itself. It’s usually about choice, privacy, economic hardship, rape, etc. (which are all very important concerns, but nobody talks about abortion.)
- The science of embryology: that life begins at conception. Therefore, abortion (at any stage in pregnancy) ends the life of a distinct human being.
- A baby is dependent on the mother’s body, but he isn’t an extension of it; he has his own separate DNA.
- Like toddler and adolescent, the terms embryo and fetus don’t refer to non-humans, but to humans at particular stages of development.
- “Trot Out the Toddler” reasoning that responds to common justifications for abortion with questions like, “is it right for a mother to kill her toddler because he is an inconvenience to her?”
- S.L.E.D. — Size, Level of Development, Environment, or Degree of Dependency — none of these factors should determine someone’s value or personhood.
- Pro-life reasoning should put a face to the unborn child and continually beg the question, “what is the unborn?”
- We need to help and support women in unplanned pregnancies, not condemn or instill anxiety.
- We should never criticize people who have had abortions, or people who take a pro-abortion stance.
- Religious arguments aren’t necessary. Alan purposely didn’t mention God or the sanctity of life in his arguments, he demonstrated that pro-life reasoning is accessible to all audiences – secular and non-secular. That is what blew my mind the most.
After that, a little film project grew into a much bigger calling. The more I researched, the more I recognized that abortion is a tremendous civil rights issue, and a matter of life and death. The question of when human life begins (and whether abortion is wrong) is not a gray area. My passion project is now to help audiences come to the same conclusion. This is not to win a debate, but to win hearts, minds, and unborn babies!