Friday, February 29, 2008

Is this the new pro-choice movement?

This is a clip from the movie "Juno," a movie that has generated a lot of buzz. I think it was nominated for four academy awards and won at least the one for best original screenplay. If you know anything about the movie, you know that the debate is over whether or not it has a pro-life message.

Juno, a sixteen-year-old girl, is unexpectedly pregnant and decides to get an abortion. In the clip above, we see her encounter a friend from her high school while entering the abortion clinic. Her friend's arguments don't really impact her...until the friend exclaims, "Your baby has fingernails." I haven't seen the movie, but I hear that while in the abortion clinic, Juno hears fingernails tapping on a desk and decides against having the abortion.

Now, the lead actress has very pointedly said that this is NOT a pro-life message. Juno has the CHOICE to decide what she will do. Ultimately, all the principle players in the production of this movie advocate a woman's right to choose. But I have a few thoughts.

First, I feel that the movie at least tacitly acknowledges that, when given the facts, the right choice is to go ahead and allow a "baby with fingernails" to be born. I don't think the people involved in making the movie would acknowledge that, however.

2. It is interesting to note that the pro-choice movement acknowledges all the facts that the pro-life character relates (beating heart, baby feels pain) and still believes that a woman should have the right to decide whether or not another individual has the right to life.

3. I think we may be reaching a strange point in the debate. I think science has brought us to the point where we all must acknowledge the medical evidence: the life that is in the womb is far more intricate and developed than we thought before. As I have stated before, that doesn't affect my position on the sanctity of life in the womb one bit, but it does affect the arguments of the other side.

4. At this point in time, I don't hear anyone arguing that the right thing to do is terminate a pregnancy. I hear a lot of people saying they are against abortion personally but want it to stay legal to preserve a woman's right to choose.

So my question is two-fold. First, does Juno represent the new pro-choice movement. A movement that adamantly wants to preserve a woman's right to choose to end her pregnancy but simultaneously concedes that such a choice would be repugnant on a personal level, at least to some degree? Second, how do we support this evolution in position while still rejecting its basic premises?


Teresa said...

Just happened to watch the movie on the airplane to Korea. I would say that most of the characters encouraged the abortion choice, but then when she made the choice to have the baby, they supported her decision. She also faced a lot of ridicule from classmates and even one of the doctors doing her ultrasound. I don't know that I would say it has a strong pro-life theme except that she chose life.

Grammy said...

Dear Grandson,
Wonder how many people would take a pro-choice stand if they think about their own mothers and consider them having taken the "pro-choice stand" and deciding to end their baby's life? I think these "pro-choicers" should consider that. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I always am pulling for the babies. Love you all bunches.

Anonymous said...

I saw this movie. I really think the only reason Juno was pro-choice was because that is what people said she should be. She was confronted with making up her own mind when she went to the abortion clinic and was confronted with the facts. I really don't think she ever looked back once she left the clinic. Though the movie had some scenes I thought were pretty inappropriate (in language and image), I do feel like there was a little bit redeeming about it. She made very grown up decisions about a very mature topic. Who says peer pressure HAS to win out? As far as is the movie pro-choice, I don't believe it is. If that's what the writers were trying to get across, why would she not have ended her pregnancy? And I really thought it was interesting that the one thing that got her thinking was the comment about the baby having fingernails. Pretty amazing...

Em said...

This topic ties in perfectly with yesterday's sermon. Our culture absolutely hates to take a moral stand on controversial issues and anyone who is willing to stand up and declare something right or wrong is labeled intolerant or ignorant. That is currently where we find the pro-choice movement. Personally they find abortion repugnant, but in order to aviod being intolerant they let the woman seeking an abortion decide if the choice is right or wrong for her. After all, what right does society have to dictate morality when it's such a personal choice? It's remarkable to me how society determines which issues allow for moral outcry and which do not. For example, the Michael Vick case caused an absolute uprising. People were outraged and immediately declared dog fighting inhumane, despicable, and immoral. Where is Vick's right to choose in all of this? Surely if one can do as they please with their uterus then the same can be said about the pets they keep in kennels on their personal property. The cornerstone of the pro-choice camp is that a fetus is not fully a person and therefore cannot possibly be afforded the same rights. Clearly a pit bull is not a person. But most Americans feel more compassion and responsibility for those dogs than they do for the millions of unborn human children that have been lost to Roe v Wade. I pray that the evolution of postition continues to move in favor of the unborn. Any victory for the pro-life movement should be embraced. However, we must not allow a corrupt, evil society to set the standards for us. Taking a personal stance is simply not enough, it must be a collective public outcry calling abortion what is, murder. That is where I pray this country is headed.

The horror of abortion makes me glad that this is not our home.

JLee said...

Just so you know, pro-choice isn't the same thing as pro-abortion. Juno made a choice to keep the baby and give it up for adoption, which was her own free choice and not one forced on her by fear of punishment.

I'm pro-choice myself, but I'd also like to see much, much fewer abortions, ideally zero, because they are dangerous and traumatic procedures with serious moral issues. But this should be achieved through education about the alternatives and contraception, not through state intimidation. If you want to see what the latter option looks like, read up on the situation in El Salvador, the most stridently anti-choice nation in the world.