Women are being jailed, physically violated and at risk of dying as a radical movement tightens its grip across America.
When I sat down to watch “Birthright: A War Story,” I expected the war to be about human trafficking based on the title and front cover, a woman’s face in a war-torn area dramatized by the only color, other than black and white, as red. Even the written information on the cover, both front, and back, was elusive at best and far too radical for the purpose. While the cover says, “American Women Under Siege,” the documentary was a partisan overview of the assumed harm caused by pro-life members. Several words were stressed along with the view that conservatives against abortion were out to harm those seeking abortion on demand. Words such as punish, victim, legal strategy, policing, anti-choice, attack, women’s bodies, oppressive, the list goes on. Director Civia Tamarkin displayed several heart-rending cases of the one percent of women harmed by the legal restrictions on abortion.
While the experts were well accomplished, their views bordered on fanatical in comparison to what the majority of American women experience in reference to birth, abortion, and access to women’s health. The various experts included Andrea Friedman, a reproductive rights policy strategist, Kat Sabine, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice in Arizona, Reproductive rights lawyer Michele Goodwin, David Grimes from the CDC, Loretta Ross, co-founder of the Reproductive Justice Movement, and Arizona Congressman Trent Franks. All who, of course, supported the far-reaching purposes of the documentary in an attempt to scare pro-lifers into backsliding away from their moral compasses. Yet, those very scare tactics the film claims against the other side sums up the epitome of what this documentary tried to instill. Many pro-lifers blazed across the screen as if they were radicals taking knives to pregnant women’s throats. The only one given legitimate screen time was Carol Tobias, President National Right to Life, who was displayed in a bad light.
The film did not mention how many women chose abortion as a method of birth control. The distorted political regime campaigned for women’s rights but failed to provide numbers, facts, or statistics, just blown out of proportion dramatics based on a few real-life incidences that are few and far between. The intent is to paint the right-wing conservatives as trying to physically harm pregnant women and apply restrictions for malicious purposes. One critic was listed on the cover as comparing restrictions on abortion as this world becoming a real-world “Handmaid’s Tale.” The propaganda goes to the extent of stating those who oppose abortion want to punishwomen who have miscarriages or stillbirths because of mandates with little wiggle room.
A large percentage of the attack was on Catholic-run hospitals. Finally, something worthy of attention. Catholic hospitals should indeed be more compromising when a woman experiences a troubled pregnancy. Yet other aspects nullified what little good could come from this film. Instead of advocating education for teachers, they paint teenagers as ignorant. Because of their ignorance, abortion should be available so teenagers don’t have to learn but can just surgically remove their problems. The stories shown are difficult to watch and show there is room for improvement with women’s right but that does not mean abortion needs to be available carte blanche.
This documentary went about its mission the wrong way. Name calling, even politically correct name-calling, will not help to find a common ground. “Birthright: A War Story” focused on the small percentage of women who fell into loopholes to legitimize abortion as birth control. Their tactics go further than just politically correct name-calling; they hope to cause a fear in women that the government has too much control in saving the lives of the unborn, and abortion should be available on demand for the small percentage who will be harmed by government acts, that could otherwise be re-written to better serve the population. What can be taken from this film is that the debate needs to have room for gray area and protections for those women who do not fall on one side or the other of the abortion debate. Heart-rending stories aside, the methods used will not cause any significant number of people to lose their compass.
Now available on Blu-ray & DVD