The Matter of Life: A Compelling Documentary About the Violence of Abortion and What It Means to be Human

By Nancy Flory Published on April 27, 2022

Four out of ten women who’ve had an abortion attended church the month that they became pregnant, Tracy Robinson, creator and director of a new documentary titled The Matter of Life told The Stream. Tracy’s documentary, which hits theaters May 16 and 17 through a special Fathom event, is compelling and, at times, disturbing. Tracy interviews moms of unexpected pregnancies, some who had an abortion, others who chose adoption and still more who chose to keep their babies. Experts on the subject of abortion, from doctors to philosophers, speak in the documentary.

But most disturbing are videos of real-life abortions, images that Tracy said she had to include. 

The Violence of Abortion

“Nothing is more truthful than the violence, showing the violence of abortion. I think we try to water down what abortion really is with euphemisms,” said Tracy. We talk about the woman’s rights, her circumstances and her choice. “But we never go into the truth of what abortion really is. … Until you really, truthfully and honestly look at abortion imagery, you don’t really feel the weight of a decision like [abortion]. ” One expert discussed how Emmett Till’s murder in 1955 helped start the civil rights movement. “[J]ust like Emmett Till’s death sparked the civil rights movement, I believe if we show abortion imagery in the right way it can spark more people to action and to prevent this violence.”

A Rally Cry for the Church

The Matter of Life is geared toward Christians. Tracy knew that she wanted to speak to Christian audiences, but didn’t realize until she was halfway through filming that Christians are not really engaged on this issue. “And I realized that maybe this is a rallying cry for the church, like the body of Christ, to stand up and rescue more babies or be more involved.” Almost half of Christians “don’t have a stance, or they’re quiet or they have exceptions for abortion. So it’s no wonder that there’s women in church getting abortions. We need to overturn Roe v. Wade in our own pews.” 

But that won’t happen until Christians will talk about abortion. Tracy learned early on that people do not want to talk about the matter. “It’s too sensitive, it’s too gruesome to think about.”

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As horrifying as abortion is, Christians must face it and help those who have been through an abortion. “I really want people to see the abortion crisis as an opportunity to minister to people, because pregnancy involves everyone. Abortion affects this whole country and it affects families. It has a ripple effect of such destruction. If we’re called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, this means protecting the most vulnerable among us.” The crisis is “an amazing opportunity for the church” to share the hope of the Gospel.

A Compelling Journey

The Matter of Life attempts to answer common questions about abortion in a compelling journey. Tracy doesn’t beat people over the head with the truth. She also doesn’t talk to an audience that’s already convinced. She hopes that the documentary will unravel the issue of women’s choice: “You know, ‘her body, her choice.’ And ‘what if the woman is raped?’ And ‘what if she doesn’t want to parent that child?’ ‘Isn’t it true that pro-life people don’t care about the baby beyond birth?’ I wanted to really address a lot of these questions that people have. And so I hope that it does so in a way that keeps people listening, keeps them compelled the whole time.”

Alan Shlemon, writer at Stand to Reason and one of the participants in the documentary, said the issue of abortion comes down to whether the unborn are human beings. “If the unborn is not a human being, then no justification for abortion is necessary. If the unborn is a human being, then no justification for abortion is adequate.”

For more information about The Matter of Life, click here.


Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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