Have pro-lifers taken a serious look at how abortion is portrayed in pop culture – television, films, music, etc? It’s not rampant like homosexuality and gay marriage, which really started with Will and Grace (1998-2006), but abortion still crops up. I don’t think we can combat this moral issue at the cultural level unless we analyze its portrayal in the media. But culture is not where we’ll win the battle against abortion – assuming we ever do, since the coming anti-Christ loves death. True spiritual warfare takes place in the arena of prayer and deals with individual hearts.
I still remember the first time I heard the word “abortion” on TV. In one episode of Degrassi Junior High (1987-1991), Erica learns that she’s pregnant and gets an abortion, which she hides from her parents and boyfriend. When Spike, soon to become a teen mother, learns what she’s done, she tortures Erica at school by putting pro-life pamphlets on her locker. I didn’t blame Spike. I was angry too. Yet this episode blamed only the teen mom who is about to “ruin” her life.
Coach Carter (2005) tells the true story of a California high school basketball team’s triumphs and tragedies in its first winning season. A player named Kenyon wants to attend college on a scholarship, but his pregnant girlfriend Kyra keeps him from fulfilling his dreams. Wanting only motherhood, she chooses working and raising a child over community college. After the pair breaks up, with her mother by her side Kyra secretly gets an abortion. She doesn’t tell Kenyon until after they reunite and after he had decided he wanted her and the baby to come with him to college. Kyra thought she needed to sacrifice their child in order to keep her boyfriend and for them to have a future. She tells him, “I had a choice to make and I made it, for myself.” Is this the whole story? No. We never see Kyra walking into the clinic or her dead unborn baby. We never see Kyra and Kenyon’s grief, heartache, and destruction either. We don’t even know if the pair marries or separates. Their unwritten future is outside the scope of this film, which ends with the season’s final game. Like countless others, it never shows the horrific truth of abortion. Instead, the film portrays Kyra’s act as a wise decision and makes the pair’s collegiate future look bright. Their selfishness seems to reward them. It also shows abortion as the potential mother’s choice, with no voice for the potential father and grandmother.
I reviewed Revolutionary Road (2008) on my Arts & Culture blog. April Wheeler sacrifices what would have been their third child for herself rather than her husband Frank. She wants the family to move to Paris rather than stay in New York and endure suburban life, Frank’s dead-end job, and their rocky marriage. Once again, the root of abortion is selfishness. Still, this film is realistic in its portrayal. It shows Frank considering his wife insane for wanting an abortion and April at home, dying while covered in blood, after she succeeds. No death doctor is necessary here. An abortion in the 1950s is truly a ‘revolutionary road.’
October Baby (2011) shows the generational consequences of abortion. But I wish it had brought out the spiritual trauma that the adult Hannah experiences as a near-abortion victim. A demon oppressed Hannah’s birth mother, leading her to have a failed abortion. Then this demon oppresses Hannah in the film’s opening scenes, giving her suicidal thoughts. It’s the same satanic spirit of death; only the spirit of life in Jesus Christ can overcome it. Yet the film didn’t convey these spiritual truths. It just skimmed the surface. It didn’t portray spiritual warfare either.
I haven’t seen Blue Valentine (2010) or Sarah’s Choice (2009). Yet abortion is no “valentine” for a dead baby. And the choice between life and death is not only Sarah’s. Her boyfriend and parents, not to mention God, have voices too.
When will a pro-life film show the spiritual aspects of abortion? When will the church wake up to demons and fight Satan in the spirit, not the flesh? Any film can make abortion look good, the unborn child a sacrifice for the temporary happiness of its “parents.” We as a church must do better. We must preach life on film using spiritual weapons!