Note: This commentary was delivered by PFM President Mark Earley.
If you are a reader of our blog, The Point, you may remember that back in January we wrote about a stunning film on abortion called 22 Weeks.
Now you can see the film for yourself. It’s available on DVD at the website www.22WeekstheMovie.com. But you should know beforehand that watching this movie is a harrowing experience. Even if you know how abortions are done, even if you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the topic, most likely you’ve never seen it portrayed like this.
22 Weeks is based on a true story. A young woman, Angela, undergoes an abortion procedure in her 22nd week of pregnancy. After the procedure was begun, her child was born alive and moving in a bathroom at the clinic. Though she begged the clinic staff to help the baby, clinic staff left her and her son alone in the bathroom until the child died in her arms. Not until a friend called 911 for her did she receive any help.
The DVD contains both a censored and uncensored version of the movie, so that the more sensitive can watch a version that’s a little less graphic. But in either version, viewers should be aware, this film is very, very difficult to watch. The details of Angela’s abortion procedure, including the baby’s live birth in a toilet, are shown in all their stark brutality.
Even more chilling, though, is the callousness of the clinic personnel. And the really frightening thing is that their attitude is easy to understand, because it stems from the very nature of their job. Confronted with a woman in hysterics and a bloody infant, they’re simply dealing with business as usual. And they don’t want to complicate their day by admitting that the baby might actually be alive and that he needs help.
But as the beginning of the film reminds us, the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act passed in 2002 requires that all infants born alive, including abortion victims, be given medical help, and that what the clinic staff did was illegal.
Even more important, the film makes clear just how wrong their attitude is—and by implication, I think it makes clear how wrong the practice of abortion is that creates that attitude. When Angela holds her tiny baby in her arms and cries that she’s sorry and she loves him, there is no doubt that that child is a real human being—a small, helpless representative of all the innocent victims of so-called “choice.”
Without preaching, the film communicates this truth in a way that is unforgettable.
The film leaves viewers sad and shaken, as it should. It’s the story of a young mother who felt trapped and needed a way out of a painful situation, only to end up in a nightmare that she could never have imagined.
It should remind us all of the great need for the church to reach out to young women like this in any way we can, to help them to choose life and not death for their children. For one way or the other, in the end each person involved in abortion will have to face the truth that abortion is the taking of a life.
The young mother portrayed here only had to face that truth sooner and in a more painful way than most.