Teenage Girls Take Up Both Sides Of The Abortion Debate After Watching "Neutral" Documentary

Illustration for article titled Teenage Girls Take Up Both Sides Of The Abortion Debate After Watching "Neutral" Documentary

Director Bruce Isacson claims that his "dramumentary," titled "South Dakota: A Woman's Right To Choose," is meant to educate viewers on both sides of the abortion debate. Yet as Robin Abcarian of the LA Times reports, that claim is questionable.


The film centers around two pregnant girls, Barb and Chris, whose stories are based on the real life experiences of several women. (Barb's story, Abcarian notes, is based on one woman, while Chris' story is a composite sketch of several women.) The two are followed as they make important decisions regarding their pregnancies, and their stories are interspersed with shots of "16- to 22-week-old fetuses floating in utero," as well as interviews and clips of discussing abortion, such as Bill Clinton, Gloria Allred, and Mother Teresa. Below is a trailer for the film:

South Dakota "A Woman's Right To Choose" - Movie Trailer from South Dakota, A Woman's Right To on Vimeo.

The afterschool special nature of the film is intentional, it seems, as the film was screened for 1000 girls in California last October , as part of a screening/forum designed to encourage discussion and debate. Watching a clip of the reaction of the teen screening is quite fascinating, as the girls take up both sides of the debate, though it seems that the anti-choice side is perhaps better represented:

South Dakota Teen Screen from South Dakota, A Woman's Right To on Vimeo.

I haven't seen the film yet, so it would be unfair for me to make an overall judgment on it, yet I do find it somewhat unsettling that an abortion documentary (or "dramumentary," rather) that sells itself as neutral is being promoted by the same company, Motive Entertainment, that marketed both "The Passion of the Christ" and Ben Stein's pro-intelligent design documentary, "Expelled."


The use of fetus pictures and clips of people thanking their mother for having them also ring quite familiar as typical practices of the anti-choice camp, and according to Abcarian, "Thus far, no high-profile abortion rights supporter has seen it," though Elisabeth Hasselbeck and James Dobson have, which sets off a few alarm bells, as well. As I said, I'll have to watch the entire film to really get a sense of its neutrality or lack thereof, but it seems that the filmmaker has already accomplished his goal: his movie has people talking.

Creators Of Abortion Film Say They Want Honest Debate [LATimes]



In reference to girls/women who keep the baby from an unplanned pregnancy, am I the only one who feels that this focus on the pregnancy alone is misleading? Yes it's nine months, and yes it's a grueling ordeal for any teenager to go through. But I feel it's short sighted to only "document" that small first step of the journey that will end up resulting in the rest of two people's lives. How might this affect the father, families, or friends. What quality of life will the mother and child have once the baby gets here and it has to grow up in the circumstances it was born into? How about how the mother has to try to spontaneously go from child to student/working woman/parent herself? We are ignoring two entire lifetimes of situations that needs to be addressed beyond the initial knee jerk reaction to "I'm pregnant".