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Unplanned Cannoli Send a noteboard - 10/04/2019 11:58:34 PM

While I doubt my position on abortion is a surprise to anyone here, it's not really an emotional issue for me. The only anti-abortion propaganda I ever bothered with was a video called "Champions for Life" and only because it featured six members of the NY Giants Super Bowl XXI champs, and I watched it more for the highlights of the game than the speeches of the players (one of them was the right guard, and it was amusing to see the effort they went through to find highlight footage of him). For me, it boils down to the nature of a fetus. Is it a person? Then abortion is murder, full stop. No excuses, no justifications, no rationalizations, no trade-offs. Humanity has no relevance to how closely related your parents are, how enthusiastic your mother (or father) was about the sexual act that impregnated her, or how many chromosomes you have. And if it's not a person, the choice to remove it is an absolutely private, sacrosanct decision belonging entirely to the woman in whose body it exists. There might be reasons why it's a bad idea in her context, but it's none of the law's business. And that's why I am against it. It has different DNA, and it grows naturally into a human being.

And that's all I need to have an opinion on abortion. People talk about heartbeats and viability and discernible brain activity (to quote the most entertaining Star Trek movie: "My compassion for someone is not limited to my estimate of their intelligence" ) and how much pain a fetus feels or how it tries to avoid the instruments and that's all pretty much useful stuff to sway the idiots and the emotional types, but I find it rather boring, because it changes nothing. You could painlessly vaporize a fetus in an instant with no adverse effect on the mother and it would not be one degree more or less right or wrong. Way too much of the anti-abortion movement is concerned with aesthetics or religious stuff, most of which is not my religion and makes me uncomfortable, if not put off by silliness. It feels a lot, too, like they're stooping to meet the pro-choice people halfway, by dignifying their irrelevant claims about the mothers' welfare with responses. (What other class of murderers has their feelings and issues taken into consideration? )

So this movie was not at all aimed at me, or was totally aimed at me.

The movie is pretty much the story of the conversion of Abby Johnson, who volunteered at a Planned Parenthood clinic, then got a job there, and eventually rose to the director of the clinic, before quitting abruptly. It starts out right away with the incident that motivated her to quit - she got called in to assist with a procedure, as the doctor needed someone to hold the ultrasound wand so he could see what he was doing. And so can she, and she freaks out and runs to the bathroom, because she never saw that much detail before. Then the story jumps back to when she was in college and got involved with Planned Parenthood, possibly motivated by her own uncomfortable experiences with abortion in the past, and a desire to help women in that situation. She escorts customers from their cars to the doors of the clinic to help them get away from the anti-abortion demonstrators, the less attractive of whom get pretty obnoxious, and in spite of that, over the course of her career, becomes friendly with a couple of regular protesters. She also has pro-life parents and marries a pro-life man, and has a kid, to the chagrin of her supervisor, played by Robia LaMorte (Jenny Calender from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ) doing her best Disney villainess.

The film has decent production values, given that LaMorte is absolutely the most famous actor in it by a long margin, and while the dialogue can get a bit creaky whenever people argue about abortion, it's a very effective display of that whole "banality of evil" thing. Cut out the beginning and the end and edit down the portrayal of the protesters as not-vile, and most of the movie's run time is the story of a woman's mundane adventures working in a Planned Parenthood. There are both disturbing incidents, such as the clinic's handling of a patient who experiences some complications, and humanizing ones, such as Johnson's scramble to service all the patients on the schedule with Hurricane Ike bearing down on the Houston area. It's like one of those movies where the murderer is the protagonist, so you're sort of perversely rooting for him to overcome obstacles and get away with the crime, like "The Shield" or "A Perfect Murder". And there were lots of hilariously ironic lines and incidents, too.

So for someone like me, this was a different and interesting presentation of the issue, not least because it's really the story of Johnson getting a jolt of reality and coming face to face with what she's done with her life. On the other hand, for the sort of pro-life person who is heavily emotionally invested in the whole thing, it might be off-putting or upsetting. For the more uninformed or unimaginative pro-lifer it will probably be an eye-opener. If the movie was aiming for the latter reactions, I'm probably not the target audience, but it was still entertaining and engaging from a whole different angle.

Fun fact: in the initial abortion scene, the doctor and nurse had that "creepy nasty old person" look that made me think they called up central casting and asked for a mean nun and a villainous grandfather. Turns out they are a real-life abortionist and abortion nurse who went straight. So, yeah. You or a female loved one might very well get someone who looks just like that pinning your shoulders to the table and sitting between your legs calling out "Beam me up, Scotty!" when they get the suction do-hickey onto the fetus.

Cannoli
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Champions For Life, in case you were wondering
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Unplanned - 10/04/2019 11:58:34 PM 100 Views
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