These 3 Short Films Show the Pro-Life Movement is Growing Up — and Advancing
New documentaries show young women acting to save vulnerable lives in the womb. Coming soon: two drama films will challenge pro-choice narratives.
In the wake of the annual March for Life, three new films explore how the pro-life movement continues to evolve. The short videos highlight the voices of diverse women working in policy, adoption and other spheres. Major films Gosnell and Roe v. Wade coming soon also hope to impact the larger cultural narrative.
Some have questioned whether pro-life advocates are on the advance. Only weeks ago, their top legislative priority was defeated in the U.S. Senate. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. Experts estimate that 12,000 lives in the womb would be spared annually by the policy.
“It is a disgrace that our Senate has once again failed to pass a bill that reflects the national pro-life consensus,” said March for Life president Jeanne Mancini. Beyond politics, others see signs of renewed pro-life fervor. Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson continues to inspire abortion industry workers to quit. The Atlantic published an article showing how scientific advances support the cause.
Now visual storytellers across the nation have followed several women to reveal their efforts to defend every life.
1. Pro-Life Feminist (30 minutes, free online)
“In a time when so many of us are divided over our beliefs, this is a film that has the potential to disarm people with its sincerity,” says Christina Marie Bennett. After years serving in a pregnancy care center, she recently joined the staff at the Family Institute of Connecticut.
The documentary team takes an open approach to the hot-button issue. “Pro-Life Feminist isn’t an attack on people who think differently than we do regarding abortion,” she explains. “This film presents important truths about the mistreatment of women and children with compassion and kindness.” The half-hour account spotlights three unique pro-life women.
In addition to Bennett, the film follows Aimee Murphy of Rehumanize International in Pittsburgh and Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists in Dallas. The latter attracted attention in 2017 when the Women’s March barred her group from being a partner. Herndon-De La Rosa showed up anyway, getting attention from PBS, NPR and the New York Times.
Bennett is also no stranger to media interest. She recently sat down for an hour-long interview with ABC News reporter Amna Nawaz. It was part of the “Uncomfortable” podcast, which tackles issues dividing America. A documentary released last year dramatized Bennett’s story of rescue from abortion. And she’s also been featured on News One with Roland Martin, though in a less-than-flattering manner.
Some see the term pro-life feminist as a contradiction. Yet these women embrace it. “Feminism is supposed to be about valuing women and fighting for their equality in society,” says Bennett. “I didn’t always identify as a feminist. When I got connected to pro-life feminists, it helped me to dig deeper into the reasons why women choose abortion and investigate ways to truly assist them.”
2. Abortion: From Controversy to Civility (63 minutes, free online)
Questions continue to surround Google and its openness to opposing viewpoints. The internet search giant has had a pattern of silencing voices that is “subtle and insidious,” said Senator Ted Cruz. “Views that are unfavored simply disappear.” Yet, last summer, Google welcomed pro-life speaker Stephanie Gray for a talk that shed light on the ethics of abortion.
Speaking at their Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, the author of Love Unleashes Life: Abortion & the Art of Communicating Truth shared openly and compassionately of the issues surrounding crisis pregnancies. Gray also used medically accurate images of abortion procedures. “Abortion victim imagery is like any tool,” she said months later when addressing the March for Life. “It can be used well, and it can be used very poorly.”
In interviews, she has noted that a Google staffer’s recommendation to superiors is what led to her having this opportunity. Interest in the talk continues to grow. Gray’s speech now has over 136,000 views on YouTube. It compares favorably to a Google talk from Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, with only 2,000 views.
3. Embraced: Living Out the Gospel Through Adoption (20 minutes, free online)
Movement leaders often state that abortion trends only decrease in lockstep with society’s increased capacity for pregnancy care, adoption and foster care. One couple in Birmingham, Alabama have sown into this vision for the past decade. Now they’re seeing the fruit of it.
In Embraced, Natalie and Matthew Brumfield share from their years of foster parenting. Stories often end in tears as families are reunited. “It’s emotionally difficult to love with all your heart and then say goodbye,” she says. “But I’ll never tire of being a foster parent. Isn’t it better that they had you there to hold their hand through the hardest parts of their lives? I believe it’s better.”
Research studies have shown 65 percent of foster parents have a faith affiliation. Natalie and her husband are doing their part to mobilize believers. “A few years ago, at a special orientation, our church recruited over 100 couples interested in serving as a foster family,” says Brumfield. “It was a dream come true! Now we speak at groups all over Alabama to recruit families for foster care.”
The Brumfields are a wealth of information. Yet it’s their inspiration that will most impress viewers. The couple recently adopted their third child from foster care. The film’s opening scene recounts how Natalie was praying for her adopted son on the night of his birth. She only realized the timing when reading her journals years later. They continue to lead a local chapter of Bound4LIFE, a faith-based pro-life ministry.
Coming Soon to the Big Screen
Prayer is the catalyst to every effort and action in the pro-life movement. — Natalie Brumfield
Dramatic films that confront popular pro-choice views of recent history are also in the works. The team behind Gosnell will soon announce a national rollout. Starring Dean Cain (TV’s “Superman”) as an investigator, it details the shocking crimes of convicted Pennsylvania abortion provider Kermit Gosnell.
In addition, pre-production work has begun on a movie to portray the true story behind the Roe v. Wade court case. Thus far, actors Stephen Baldwin (The Usual Suspects), Jon Voight (Mission: Impossible) and Stacey Dash (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) have signed on to the project.
Voices featured in recent films welcome more pro-life entries. “I believe in the power of honest storytelling,” says Bennett. “We all have experiences that formed our pro-life beliefs. When we share them with conviction and love, it can build bridges and start conversations.”
Brumfield offers a higher perspective on cultural change. “Prayer is the catalyst to every effort and action in the pro-life movement,” she says. “When you begin praying for the ending of abortion, for the increase of adoption and spiritual revival in our nation, you begin to move toward being the answer to your own prayers.”
She seems to reflect on all three women, who are not reticent to share their faith. “Without prayer, there wouldn’t be momentum and the revelation of life that compels us to acts of justice and compassion,” Brumfield concludes.