Any hopes that Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s documentary “Reversing Roe” was going to be even vaguely unbiased have been dashed to pieces.
The filmmakers claimed again and again that they wanted to show both sides of the story. They interviewed a cadre of beloved pro-life spokespeople and intellectuals: Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood manager turned hard-hitting life advocate; Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, leader of the New Wave Feminists; Professor Helen Alvaré, president of Women Speak for Themselves and a George Mason University law professor; Jeanne Mancini, president of the annual March for Life; and Catherine Glenn Foster, an experienced attorney and president of Americans United for Life.
Yet the only pro-life woman whose interview was even remotely featured in the documentary was Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. Instead, Stern and Sundberg decided to slant the film through their own angle. The angle couldn’t have been more obvious: 1) men are the only ones who push to end abortion and 2) most pro-life activity is driven by religion that oppresses people.
While both points are inherently, intellectually, logically, and historically incorrect, one of the most horrendous problems with the film is the makers’ refusal to show the “both sides” they claimed they wanted to highlight. It’s one thing to actually be ignorant. It’s another entirely to be disingenuous — to promote your film based on your desire to tell a true story, to pursue that story, then to hide the truth that doesn’t fit your preconceived narrative.
“There’s no doubt that the film has been made from a pro-abortion-rights perspective,” The New York Times conceded. Of course, no one should really be surprised, but it still takes a heightened level of deceptiveness to spend days following and interviewing pro-life women, only to silence their voices in the end.
That’s exactly where the “anti-woman” part of Stern and Sundberg’s film comes in. Women’s advocates believe deeply in the right of every woman to raise her voice — at least, so they say. To the liberal left, particularly the pro-abortion forces, the only voices that are actually welcomed are the voices that cry out for sex on demand, without consequences, which leads to abortion on demand, also without (legal) consequences.
When the liberal side of the women’s movement encounters a woman who shares her views on equal pay for women, equal rights for women, and equal voices for women — but, crucially, not on abortion — they begin to work overtime to find a way to shut down and silence her. These women claim it’s men who shut the mouths of women and refuse to hear us, yet the women’s abortion army are the ones who truly castigate any female human who dares to speak in favor of life for all.
As Erika Bachiochi, an attorney and the author of the Harvard Journal of Law article, “Embodied Equality: Debunking Equality Arguments for Abortion Rights,” explains, abortion is deeply anti-woman at its roots. Its proponents place the burdens of society squarely on women, refusing to accept biological realities:
Abortion expects nothing more of men, nothing more of medicine, and nothing more of society at large. Abortion betrays women by having us believe that we must become like men — that is, not pregnant — to achieve parity with them, professionally, socially, educationally. And if we are poor, overwhelmed or abandoned by the child’s father, or if medical expenses would be too great for us or for our child, social ‘responsibility’ requires us to rid ourselves of our own offspring. Today’s feminists cheer us on. Is this really the equality we were looking for 42 years ago?
Beyond the prevalent anti-woman factor demonstrated in “Reversing Roe,” there is a smelly anti-religion theme as well. The only religious figure portrayed positively is a man of the collar who helped run an illegal, covert abortion referral operation prior to Roe v. Wade. He openly admits that he did not ask women why they wanted an illegal abortion or make any attempt to see if he could help them find a way out of abusive or other dangerous circumstances. Instead, he happily led their children (and possibly some of their mothers) to the slaughter.
Every other religious figure in the movie is portrayed as a heavy-handed “Jesus freak.” The only scene the makers choose to show of the man who shot late-term abortionist George Tiller, who was known for having a personal crematorium in his office, was his account of becoming a born-again Christian. The filmmakers allow another person in the film to make claims that amount to calling religion, Christianity in particular, dangerous and oppressive.
Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. Christianity has been the redeeming force in many a society throughout history. While all Christians are sinners, Christians have also been the main forces of good, historically speaking. Furthermore, it’s inherently unfair to categorize all pro-lifers as fighting for the lives of children solely because their religion calls them to oppress women.
Jesus was not only the savior, but a culture-changer of his day. He welcomed, taught, befriended, and defended women in a society that ground them into the dust. He taught the equality of men and women. Also, like his pro-life followers of today, he said, “Let the little children come.”
“Reversing Roe” is merely one documentary that will soon be lost in a myriad of films, articles, and speeches. Since it is not based on truth, it will not last. But the truth — that women can stand for themselves and their children simultaneously, and that Christianity is a positive force in culture, one that raises all humanity with it — will last forever. One day soon, it is this truth that will triumph.