Tag Archives: media

“One Life To Live” Shows That Pro-Choice is Pro-Life

10 Aug

I’ve already admitted on this blog that I occasionally read romance novels, so longtime Abortion Gang readers might not be surprised to find out that my other secret “unwind time” activity is watching soap operas.  After a day spent in a high pressure environment, crunching numbers and doing other tax accountant activities, I find it relaxing to watch the day’s episode of “One Life To Live” which I record each day on my DVR.  For forty-five minutes every evening I get to enjoy a little escapism from my life.  The storylines, ranging from switched babies to outlandish revenge plots, are wildly imaginative to put it mildly, which, to me, is part of what makes it so entertaining.

I was worried that I might have to give up my vice, though, when one of the teenage girl characters on the show, Destiny, began to show the tell tale entertainment signs of teenage pregnancy.  You know, the ignorance of any and all birth control options, remarks about such things being her boyfriend’s responsibility and the inevitable weight gain and perennial nausea, that could not, alas, be explained away by a fondness for burritos.  I started watching afterwards, though, so it was with no small amount of trepidation that I began watching the last few episodes on my DVR.  Destiny finally saw a doctor who who confirmed what she had been busy denying: a teen pregnancy.  The good doctor laid out her options to her as her brother blustered his way into the exam room filled with guilt and intent on protecting his baby sister.

Despite that, teenage Destiny still took the decision of whether to become a parent, to have a baby and give it up for adoption or to have an abortion into her own hands.  Though the decision making dialog between Destiny and her best friend, Dani, was painful as Destiny made remarks like “It would be easier to have a baby than to go through the trouble of an abortion or adoption,” the show writers effectively pointed out the very obvious flaws of pursuing the fantasy of motherhood as a teenager.  Issues like being able to go to college or supporting herself and her potential child.

After a much needed reality check, Destiny, to both my surprise, announced that she wanted to have an abortion.  Because the show takes place in Pennsylvania, though, the OB/GYN tells her that she must wait 24 hours.  Then, she throws up another state sponsored hurdle: Destiny is under 18, and in this anti-choice state, that means that if you do not have a parent’s permission to have an abortion, you must get permission from a judge.   According to the Guttmacher Institute, even if Destiny were over 18, she would still have to endure what they describe as “state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided.”

I don’t know where the show is going to go with this storyline, but I am impressed that ABC, a major network, and “One Life To Live,” chose to ruthlessly tear apart both the delusional myths of teenage motherhood, perpetuated by the likes of Bristol Palin, MTV’s unreality tripe “Teen Mom,” and ABC’s “Secret Life Of The American Teenager,” and the laws in states like Pennsylvania which only serve to hurt the citizens whose welfare they are supposed to be protecting.

Guess the Anti-Choice Filmmakers’ Real Message (Hint: It is Not About Abortion)

14 Jun

You may have heard about a few new anti-choice movies that will likely not be coming to a theater near you any time soon. The first to hit the internet was “Life Zone,” a psychological thriller about three kidnapped pregnant women held against their will. The trailer brims with local commercial-level line readings. But it boosts at least one “real” actor, Robert Loggia (who appears on screen via video and all his scenes were filmed remotely). A Soprano-level actor! That means it must be professional!

Another movie trailer making the rounds is “Gates of Hell” or what the producers of the unfinished product are calling a “documentary” of 2016 about a band of black terrorists who seem to go around the country killing abortion providers because they are racists. Or black women are. I don’t know, it’s all kind of confusing because the filmmakers would like a $100,000 to finish their movie.

Can I admit I kind of want to see “Life Zone?” The description sounds like it’s ripe for Mystery Science Theater 3000 style-riffing. From the Jersey Journal which attended the premiere at the Hoboken International Film Festival the final plot twist sounds like it came straight from the anti-choice cerebral cortex:

Three pregnant women wake up imprisoned in a hospital. Their only other contact is with their jailor – a mystery man played by Robert Loggia who occasionally appears on video to answer the women’s questions and explain the consequences of their disobedience – and an obstetrician, actress Blanche Baker as Dr. Victoria Wise, who will deliver the captive women’s babies whether or not their pro-choice views are changed.

It turns out Dr. Wise’s husband left her because she turned out to be barren cause she didn’t eat right and worked too hard and stuff.

Of course two of the three imprisoned women become happy about being imprisoned and being forced to give birth, but one, stubborn Staci, just can’t take the idea of giving birth to a real live child. So she tries to cause a miscarriage but instead gives birth to twins while the other two women give birth to their single babies. (Discussion question: Was Staci more blessed than the other two women or more punished for having to give birth twice? Hold that thought.)

But in the final fucked up plot twist the real moral of the story is revealed.

Later, Staci wakes up. The two new mothers are no longer captives, they’ve presumably ascended to heaven with their babies. It’s revealed all along the women had been in Purgatory, after having died on the operating table of abortion clinics. But because Staci attempted to miscarry even after a second chance at motherhood, and because she never accepted the error of her ways until she experienced the physical joy of giving birth, of seeing her children for the first time, she will be doomed to eternity in Hell.

Loggia is Satan and he informs Staci she will spend all eternity in a cycle of pregnancy and childbirth and Dr. Wise will forever be her doctor, as the movie’s final twist plays out: Wise too will spend eternity in Hell. She was so weak she committed suicide when her marriage collapsed and must suffer the fate of forever bringing life into the world, endlessly having to appreciate what she did not value on Earth.

And there is the anti-choice message laid out: women should literally be punished with childbirth. Childbirth is your enteral punishment from Satan. I’m sure the director also thinks their punishment should be eternal rape from Satan as well. Also in case you didn’t notice this life lesson: women who work too much will become barren and kill themselves. Rarely is the true anti-choice id spelled out so explicitly.

Strangely in the other anti-choice movie “Gates of Hell,” women, especially the black-race destroying black women, aren’t featured at all in the trailer. That’s because the movie’s target message is also racial as well as misogynist. As Jess Taylor at Pandagon best describes the trailer for “Gates of Hell:”

…the crux of this is clear: evil big government liberals use abortion as a secret method to commit mass genocide against blacks. Blacks who are also the most reliable group of voters for evil big government liberals. And are also a part of another conspiracy to have public money funneled to them so that they have more kids.

It’s like a completely useless cycle where you earn money to buy matches to burn money, but it involves black people, so the soundtrack is by Young Money.

One might argue, if one were painfully naive in a manner that bordered on certifiable brain damage, that this is simply an effort for “pro-lifers” to get their message out using the corollary of violent black people uprising against a system of oppression.

Now the movie has been made by a Finnish director and a white executive producer Jason Mitchell. Mitchell, which Taylor points out, seems to be okay with the killing of black people as long as they are gay.

Jason here advocated for the Ugandan anti-gay bill that would have allowed the government to kill gay Ugandans. For being gay, not for having abortions, which is a totally different thing.

Without seeing the whole movie it’s hard to tell exactly what issues with black men and women Jason Taylor has, but I’m sure not-to-far-from-the-surface is a belief in his (white) racial superiority.

In addition to those low-budget freak fests the Los Angeles Times also notes another movie – one with an actual chance of distribution — has an “Easter egg” surprise for anti-choicers. “Doonby” is about a handsome drifter (played by Dukes of Hazard’s Bo Duke) who comes to town, and has a mysterious past. But a subplot in involves an unmarried woman who apparently is seeking an abortion and an elderly woman who tries to talk her out of it. The woman is played by Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe vs Wade fame who later converted to Christianity. This is her first acting role.

Of the three, “Doonby” is the only film to seem to have a budget (it also has Martin Sheen’s less talented brother!) and might make it onto the independent film circuit, whereas “Gates of Hell” (if it’s ever finished) and “Life Zone” will probably be coming to a church-basement near you.

Review of Silent Choices: Black Women and Abortion

20 May

The other day, I watched (and enjoyed) a documentary called Silent Choices. Silent Choices is about abortion and other reproductive justice issues in the black community. The idea itself is wonderful; black women’s experiences are often ignored in the mainstream media and pro-choice movement itself. This documentary uplifts black women’s voices, which is a wonderful change from the typically white-dominated talk about abortion.

This documentary  succeeds in showcasing black women’s abortion related stories. Too often, attempts to discuss the issues of marginalized groups end up as people speaking over these groups, as opposed to people allying with them. This is not one of those documentaries. The makers of Silent Choices let black women speak for themselves; for once, black women’s voices were uplifted, not trampled over.

Every woman in this documentary had a touching story to tell, but one woman’s story in particular really touched me. Angela shared her pre-Roe illegal, back alley abortion story. She was afraid to tell her mother because she had five kids, loved kids, and would probably forbid the abortion, but after thinking about it, Angela says that her mother “may have done the same,” recognizing that all types of women need and use abortion. Angela attempted to abort her pregnancy twice. The first time, the person who attempted the abortion on her simply gave her a shot and then punched her in the stomach. After this failed attempt, she went to someone else. She describes this back-alley clinic as “factory-like” and she says that the provider was mean to her. She says, “it wasn’t like you could call somebody and take your choice of a good clinic. You had to find somebody underground, you had to find somebody who did this stuff.” Angela is not alone in her experience. People of color are disproportionately affected by poverty, and therefore are disproportionately affected by restrictive anti-choice laws. A white woman is far more likely to be able to afford to travel, to take more days off of work, or to pay more in order to obtain a safe abortion. Angela, along with many other women, did not have those options. The more restrictions we put on abortion, the more stories like Angela we have. Reproductive justice is not simply an issue of sexism; it is also an issue of racism and classism.

One aspect of this documentary that disappointed me was how much air time was given to anti-choicers, particularly one male anti-choicer. At some point in the documentary, it went from being a film that uplifted black women’s voices to typical anti-choice babble that went without rebuttal. I’m not going to lie; I kind of nodded off while listening to the anti-choicers talk.

The documentary ended off with a montage of responses to this statement, made by an anti-choicer: “Abortion is a white woman’s issue.” I found it refreshing to see pro-choicers rebuking this ridiculous statement. Overall, I thought this documentary did a great job at uplifting black women’s voices and illustrating how abortion and other reproductive rights issues affect the black community. This film is easily worth the five dollars being asked for it; I recommend it.

Will.I.Am Gives the Wrong Message on Safe Sex

28 Apr

The slew of famous people that have come out with statements about American sexuality of late, has been annoying, to say the least. The slew of men that have recently come out with statements about women’s sexuality has been infuriating. But that’s not really anything new, is it?

Will.I.Am- producer, actor, singer, songwriter, Black Eyed Peas member, among other things- sat down with Andrew Goldman of Elle magazine and spoke about several random topics, thrown together by Goldman to create the portrait of a complex, philosophical, highly intriguing man that seems to be at the forefront of pop culture (He’s not really any of those things, but that’s the crux of Goldman’s article).

Naturally, because Will.I.Am is a rock star and rock stars are pegged as sexy sex-machines, the topic of sex does arise during the interview, and boy oh boy (should I say, “girl oh girl?”) does Will.I.Am really tell us women how it is.

“If she had condoms in her house, that would just fuckin’ throw me off. That’s just tacky.”

Okay, Will.I.Am, thanks for letting us know. But before we get into what this type of comment even means, let’s go back to the beginning of the piece, shall we. Create some context, as it were.

Prior to that little gem, Will.I.Am spoke about waiting until 19 to masturbate and insinuated that he didn’t lose his virginity until some time after that point. When asked why that was, Will.I.Am’s response was to place his mother on a pedestal and solemnly intone that, “we never talked about [sex] growing up.”

And then he takes it one step further, making a comment, which I think really encapsulates and in part, explains, the conservative piety that comes through in the condom remark:

“To me, sex isn’t like an extracurricular activity that you do because you’re [feeling amorous]. Because I was raised around girls, I think I’ve adopted that perspective on sex. When you’re with somebody and you love them, then you’re going to do it and you’re going to do it a lot. On tour, the band started calling me G. S., for the Good Samaritan.”

In this one comment, Will.I.Am makes two really stereotypical assumptions about what he thinks is “normal” female sexual behavior. One: since he’s been raised around girls, he insinuates that he has a “female” perspective on sex, meaning he has sex with only women that he loves, because, you know, women just sleep with a person they are in love with. Two: he says that he is considered a Good Samaritan because he’s presumably not promiscuous when on tour, meaning of course, that morality and sexuality are inextricably linked; a suggestion I am not going to try to defend or explain and neither should he–it’s above our pay grade.

So, back to the remark about the condoms. With the above context, sure, someone that considers them self to be so “morally good,” is going to consider the responsible act of a woman keeping condoms to use during sexual encounters “tacky.” Because, to mister G.S., such a display of wanton disregard for feminine sexual ideals and American puritanical society’s disinclination toward acceptance of female sexual responsibility, is tacky. I mean really! She’s sexual active, and keeping condoms to prevent pregnancy and STI’s! What is this madness?

Okay, enough with the snark. Will.I.Am’s comment is not only dripping with pious condescension, it’s also very dangerous. As I remarked above, Will.I.Am has been at the forefront of mainstream pop culture for upwards of 5 years, he’s campaigned with President Obama, performed at the super bowl, and remarked on many political topics throughout the past decade. Suffice it to say, people pay attention to this silly man, and what is more, they listen to what he says.

Remarking about condoms in a way other than, “wear a condom to protect yourself and your partner” is just plain irresponsible.