How the shock of recognition gnaws at the heart and reveals the ugliness of abortion

By Dave Andrusko

In addition to coming to watch our daughter complete the Marine Marathon this weekend, I paged through (as I do too often) a list of movies that Netflix will no longer be providing. Some of them were genuine classics [“Hoosiers”] but…

For unknowable reasons, this list of the soon-to-be-departed reminded me of a Netflix original film I watched a couple of years back. “Tallulah” starred Ellen Page. The movie was recommended to me by a friend who had been steered in the film’s direction by a pro-life reviewer who noted that Page is vocally pro-abortion but takes a very life-affirming stance in both the 2007 film Juno and “Tallulah.”

This is no exaggeration. Pro-abortionists hate the movie Juno. The lead character, Juno MacGuff, does not abort, even though she had every intention of “terminating” her pregnancy. That alone would make pro-abortionists’ teeth grind, but worse yet (from their vantage point) the baby is subsequently adopted.

Horror of horrors, is there no end to the pro-life skullduggery?!

There is a pivotal early scene when a lonely, inarticulate pro-life teen stands outside the abortion clinic Juno is about to enter. It turns out to be a girl Juno knows from school but nothing she says seems to have any effect.

Then…

Juno! Your baby probably has a beating heart, you know. It can feel pain. And it has fingernails.

To which Juno responds

Really? Fingernails?

Her baby has fingernails? The shock of recognition. Juno does not abort her baby.

Here’s another example of being blindsided by reality, a post I once wrote based a piece that appeared in the New York Times’ “Opinionator blog.”

At the end of Lisa Selin Davis’s autobiographical essay about her abortion, Davis does not tell us she had decided to become a member of National Right to Life. Far from it. But it is also obvious that her “abortion experience” had forever scarred her.

Why?

Davis had intended to make her abortion into “art.” Waist-deep in the swamps of “experimental feminist video,” Davis tells us she “could make art out of anything.” Why not use her Ricoh Hi8 video camera to document the demise of the…contents of her uterus?

Along the way, a cabdriver learns where she is going and passionately–and I do mean passionately–tries to dissuade Davis. But she plows ahead.

At the abortion clinic, Davis tells us,

At the clinic’s counter, the receptionist asked me what I’d come for. I said, “Um …”

“Termination of pregnancy?” she asked in her best would-you-like-fries-with-that voice. I nodded.

She also encounters a woman having her ninth abortion…and hears the sucking sound as her baby is vacuumed out of her womb.

The shock of recognition does not make a pro-life convert out of her— “I want my daughters to have the option of safe and legal abortion, of course”—but adds, “I just don’t want them to have to use it.”

Let me end with one of Davis’s own conclusions. She tells us that the pain eventually stopped:

Or, at least, it stopped the physical pain. The begging cabdriver and the woman on her ninth abortion and the shocking suction in my womb: It was too traumatic for me to make art of. Or maybe it was just that I wasn’t a good enough artist to transform that level of trauma into something that others could learn from and use. I had been taught that a woman’s right to choose was the most important thing to fight for, but I hadn’t known what a brutal choice it was.