Failing to gain national momentum among young people, fringe abortion supporters have taken to college theater (and the big screen, in the case of box office flop Obvious Child) in their quest to make abortion appear normal and awesome.
This year’s model is Out of Silence, a play that condenses the abortion stories of fourteen women who submitted testimonies to the abortion advocating“1 in 3 Campaign.” The campaign’s premise is that one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetimes, and such high numbers of women terminating pregnancies must mean that abortion is actually normal and no big deal.
But the entire statistic on which the campaign is based is a blatant lie. In reality, less than 28% of women will commit abortions in their lifetimes. In addition, a large number of abortions are obtained by women who have already had one or more abortion. So abortion is actually not the mainstream norm for the vast majority of women.
The slanted statistic doesn’t stop abortion supporters from fawning over the play. One author recognizes the role of culture change in the abortion debate, but she sorely lacks the vantage point of the Pro-Life movement, from which we can see that the abortion movement is nearly dead. In her optimism she voices hope for the efficacy of Out of Silence as a tool to bolster her side:
The usual trifecta of grassroots movement building, public policy initiatives, and electoral strategy cannot, alone, achieve it. Something squishier needs to happen, too—culture change. And perhaps the same thing can take place with abortion rights as has happened with the Vagina Monologues: that, at the least, Out of Silence can act as a jumping-off point for activism that may push even further than abortion storytelling itself in the future.
Out of Silence isn’t the first off-beat attempt at discrediting the Pro-Life movement and “destigmatizing” abortion. In 2013, we saw the emergence of the vulgar and downright weird play, MOM BABY GOD. Pro-Life stalwart Kristan Hawkins, whose organization (Students for Life of America) was the target of the play’s mockery, recounts the plays gargantuan failure to align abortion activism with reality:
[When playwright] Madeline Burrows decided to go undercover for a year as a pro-lifer to collect fodder for MOM BABY GOD, her discoveries weren’t exactly shocking… So Burrows took a little creative license and set aside facts to craft a theatrical mockery of the work that we do at Students for Life of America. She’s admitted that she had to fictionalize the conference, and, in the Q&A session after her play’s premiere, she said that she even had to change information about fetal development relayed in the play because the truth was causing some of her (mostly left-wing) audience to question their pro-choice views.
Similarly, last year’s box office catastrophe, Obvious Child, put to rest the hypothesis that maybe comedy is the way to convince people that abortion is awesome. In the film, comedian Jenny Slate plays a woman who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand. The film explores the mindset of a mother totally divorced from any innate sense that she has a duty to protect the Life growing inside of her. This disconnected perspective leads Slate’s character through a comical journey ending in a nonchalant abortion without consequences. In addition, the film’s estimation of men, fathers have no right to know about the existence of their children prior to being aborted. Cut off from reality on every front, the film failed to garner appreciation from the targeted rom-com audience –the group that is normally most willing to forego a sense of reality in film for an hour or two of fairytale entertainment.
Even the Vagina Monologues, the decades-old stronghold of the radical fauxminist movement, is backfiring on playwright Eve Ensler. Former advocates of the play now condemn the work for apparently excluding transgender women—that is, those who don’t have a vagina that can monologue.
We know that the abortion movement will continue to try in vain to destigmatize and normalize abortion, but the scores of post-abortive women who regret their choices speak for themselves. Abortion carries shame and stigma because abortion is wrong. And women know that. The sooner the abortion industry figures that out, the sooner these ridiculous plays and films will come to an end.