Abortion – Facing Reality, Lake of Fire, and Bella

Fox News recently reported that 45 percent of Americans need to know a Presidential candidate’s position on abortion before they vote. It is therefore not entirely surprising that a cable television program, an unrated documentary, and a major motion picture are actively vying for attention as the nation heads into the primary season of what has been billed one of the most open Presidential elections in recent history. (There is no incumbent President or Vice-President in the running, and the Republican Party, contrary to precedent, has not coalesced around a particular candidate.) A list of what’s out there:
1. Facing Reality: Exploring Abortion Through 3 Women’s Right to Choose – A one-hour documentary that aired on the Fox cable network on Saturday, Oct. 27. Fox News spent a year following three women who are each contemplating an abortion: Kayla, a 20-year old student; Jeanne, 30, a mother of five who is struggling with a drug problem; and Brooke, a 26-year-old who has tried desperately to conceive, only to discover that her unborn child has a rare chromosome abnormality. (Several video clips are available.)
2. Lake of Fire – an unrated documentary which opened on October 3. Director Tony Kaye (like his counterpart in Facing Reality) opted to show an abortion procedure. Kaye (American History X) aims to “give equal time to those on both sides of the debate,” as well as show “the grim realities of what it means to actually get the procedure done.” Film Journal International calls it “… a significant piece of journalism,” and Sam Thielman of World magazine gives it a hesitant recommendation, warning that the total absence of special effects or computer-generated animation adds to the horror of the subject.
3. Bella – a low budget ($3 million) film which opened October 26 with a growing buzz. A winner at the Toronto Film Festival and the Heartland Film Festival, Bella has garnered praise from folks like Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family. Priya Abraham sets the context: “The story follows José (Eduardo Verástegui), a rising soccer star whose career is abruptly ended. Years later, working as a gentle but haunted chef in his brother’s New York restaurant, he learns that friend Niña (Tammy Blanchard) is pregnant and alone. In helping her, he finds renewal.” Abraham also documents that the film is apparently preventing abortions.

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