Tuesday, May 27, 2008

She was a girl from Birmingham, she just had an abortion...

If you gave me one wish right now, I'd probably make abortions nonexistent. That's probably because I watched the movie Lake of Fire last night, which is about the abortion issue. It's a tough movie to sit through, as there are a couple of scenes where you actually see the aborted baby - little hands, little feet in a tray.

You also see the body of a woman who attempted a forced abortion with a coat hanger. I'm not quite sure which image is haunting me more.

Personally, I think that this is a movie that everybody should see, no matter what side of the issue you're on. Roger Ebert, in his review of the film, writes, "This is a brave, unflinching, sometimes virtually unwatchable documentary that makes such an effective case for both pro-choice and pro-life that it is impossible to determine which side the filmmaker, Tony Kaye, stands on." He's right, and I don't think that this movie is going to change anybody's position on the issue. If anything, and I think this is the point, people will have a better feel for just how complex of an issue this is.

The film shows some convincing arguments for both sides of the issue, and after all, what could possibly be more convincing for the pro-life side than baby parts in a tray? It also shows that there are some nutjobs on both sides of the issue. Now, it may be my own bias, but the pro-life side seems to be quite a bit nuttier. One guy says that not only abortion doctors should be executed, but blasphemers should be as well. God dammit, but I hope that never happens. There was also some priest who was talking in front of his children about how at the abortion clinics the people will take the aborted fetuses and grill them up on a barbecue right there in front of the protestors. Now, I know that some crazy things happen sometimes, but I'm going to guess that that hasn't ever actually happened.

On the pro-choice side, there was this one all-girl band where the lead singer was wearing nothing but leather panties and black tape over her nipples. She was singing something about the days of women dying over coathanger abortions, and she was pushing the coathanger through her panties and up inside her (the bent part - not like that's somehow more sensible though.) Now, I realize that some people (Andrew) might think that sounds erotic, but it really wasn't. It was just kinda stupid - not to mention the fact that their music sucked. When they were interviewed afterwards, they sounded like they were reading from the standard pro-choice script about how pro-lifers should adopt all of the unwanted children. (This isn't to say that's not a good point -but they were obviously just parroting somebody else.)

The film also follows a woman as she goes into an abortion clinic and everything (and including) that happens before the procedure. Despite what the clips of Pat Buchanan would have people believe, she was most definitely not coerced into having the abortion, and she was asked several times if she felt like she was making the right decision. Afterwards, they interviewed her and even though she tried to put up a brave face as she explained that she felt that she made the right decision, she broke down crying. It was hard to watch, and I'd never wish that on anybody.

I haven't changed my mind, and if you haven't figured it out by now, I suppose that I definitely fall on the pro-choice side of things. Still, I'd like to see a world where women no longer feel that it's necessary to have one. I think that this should be done through comprehensive sexual education. I realize that there are some people who are against this, and there seems to be some uproar over showing kids how to use condoms. Personally, I'd rather err on the side of telling the kids too much rather than telling them too little. Because let's face it, "abstinence only" is a joke, and kids are going to (and already do) have sex whether people want to admit it or not.

I think that if the film had any point, it's that this is a complex issue without any easy answers. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law Professor, has a story that illustrates the whole thing, and Ebert's review quotes it, as will I: "A rabbi is asked to settle a marital dispute. He hears the husband's view. 'You're right,' he tells him. He hears the wife's view. 'You're right,' he tells her. One of his students protests: 'Rabbi, they both can't be right.' The rabbi nods. 'You're right," he says.'

Oh, and if you're wondering about the title of my blog, I'm quoting the Sex Pistols.

1 comment:

Kirsti said...

I still have a lot of those images in my head, too. I think a lot of people would have a really hard time watching it.