“Reversing Roe”: more pro-abortion agitprop?

By Dave Andrusko

I promise to revisit the forthcoming documentary “Reversing Roe” after it appears on Netflix Thursday night. But I wanted to say something today both to alert you to watch it if you can and to comment on how sympathetic reviewers are packaging the production of filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg. You can watch the official trailer here.

So what can we glean from initial remarks? Let’s start with the only slightly “negative” take. It comes from CNN’s Brian Lowry who groused that the documentary doesn’t do enough (“provides short shrift to or omits”) such “elements” as pro-life “hypocrisy.”

As a CNN employee Lowry, of course, complains that “Reversing Roe” doesn’t sufficiently bash “conservative media” (aka Fox News). His basic lament is that the documentary isn’t heated enough—at least for his tastes.

However after looking at the trailer and reading the other reviews, I’m guessing “Reversing Roe” will satisfy most every other pro-abortion partisan.

For example, writing for the New York Times, Ben Kenigsberg tells us, “While there’s no doubt that the film has been made from a pro-abortion-rights perspective, it gives voice to other points of view.” We’ll see who those “voices” are on our side.

Kenigsberg adds, “It’s less interested in rendering a verdict on the morality of abortion than it is in tracing the increasing politicization of the issue.” Again based on the initial reviews, Reversing Roe is stuck in the same explanatory rut that opposition to abortion was a Catholic phenomenon that didn’t really kick into gear until the 1980s when the Evangelical community, led by Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop, decided passivity was no longer a viable option.

Their joining the pro-life opposition was important, to be sure, but this ignores everything that happened before. As Prof. Daniel Williams has pointed out, this is inadequate on multiple grounds.

For example, (1) “The media portrayed the pro-life movement as a Catholic cause, but by 1972, that stereotype was already outdated”; and (2) by that same point in time “abortion reform” has largely ground to a halt. “The pro-life movement succeeded,” Williams argued, because it drew on the “language of human rights, civil rights, and the value of human life.”

The one generalization that would hold true (if it shows up in “Reversing Roe”) is that the Republican Party has reversed course and turned into the party of life. Way back when the Democratic Party might have held that honorific title. Now it is the Party of Death.

One other quick point. Writing for the Hollywood Reporter, Katie Kilkenny breathlessly tells us that “Abortion-Themed Films Take on Greater Urgency amid Kavanaugh Hearings.”

For Ms. Kilkenny, the documentary is essentially flawless made even better because Stern and Sundberg “raced to change their Netflix film’s ending after [Supreme Court Justice Anthony] Kennedy said he would leave the court in July.” Kilkenny paraphrases Stern to say that “While abortion is an extremely divisive issue among lawmakers, recent polls have shown that the majority of Americans oppose reversing Roe v. Wade.” Then, the clincher:

“Our hope is that people will watch the film and become active in their own way, whatever that is. And to get people out to vote, which is always a challenge in the United States, so we can really reflect what the average American person believes, not what a small voting majority believes,” she says.

Get it? There really is a pro-abortion consensus among the populous that politicians don’t understand. Stern hopes that “Reversing Roe” will motivate what you might call the Real Majority.

Of course that is utter nonsense, the same pro-abortion spiel we’ve heard since Roe v. Wade—and before, come to think of it.

Hollywood wants us to believe this propaganda.

Fat chance of that.