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Unborn in the USA
Unborn in the USA
Actors: Steve Wagner, David Lee, Peggy Hartshorn, Joe Scheidler, John Brockhoeft
Directors: Stephen Fell, Will Thompson
Genres: Documentary
NR     2007     1hr 45min

Provocative and bracing, UNBORN IN THE USA provides a riveting look into the deep secrets and deep pockets of the pro-life movement. — Traveling across 35 states, the filmmakers are granted unprecedented access to pro-life ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Steve Wagner, David Lee, Peggy Hartshorn, Joe Scheidler, John Brockhoeft
Directors: Stephen Fell, Will Thompson
Creators: Stephen Fell, Will Thompson, Joseph McKeel, David Worrell
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 10/23/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Objective Look At The Anti-Abortion Movement
Chris Luallen | Nashville, Tennessee | 10/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Unlike most political films, which seek to ridicule those on the other side of an issue, this documentary truly strives for and, to a great extent, achieves a fair minded, objective approach. Numerous people from all spectrums of the movement are filmed and interviewed. Some are relatively moderate, seeking to change things through dialogue, imagery and the political process. While others, such as the "Army Of God", support violent extremism, including the bombing of abortion clinics and the murder of doctors.

Personally I am strongly pro-choice. But I am willing to listen to and consider rational argument from those who disagree with me. What I found most striking and disturbing was that every single person shown supporting the anti-abortion cause was a fundamentalist Christian who based their beliefs on religious values rather than scientific fact. While I find it perfectly reasonable to place some restrictions on late term abortions, which our society already does, I find it ludicrous to consider the termination of a first trimester pregnancy to be equivalent to murder. The absurd attempt to prevent the legalization of the "morning after pill" is another clearcut example of anti-abortion activists stuck on a "life begins at conception" religious belief rather than considering the medical facts. Of course, they also refuse to acknowledge the reality that abortion always have and always will take place in human societies irregardless of its legal status. In fact, some countries where abortion is illegal, such as the staunchly Catholic countries of Latin America, have higher rates of abortion than countries where it is legal. My wife, who is originally from Ecuador, says she would never have an abortion herself but believes it should be legal because of all the women in her country who end up dead after having an "underground" abortion.

Still this documentary does an excellent job of letting the anti-abortion activists speak for themselves and allowing the viewers to form their own opinions. I consider this doc worth watching for people on both sides of this controversial issue."
A Brilliant Film - Must Have for All College Campuses
Scott Dunford | Mount Berry, Ga. | 11/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie is absolutely brilliant. It is a balanced look at an important issue that still causes conflict in our country. The film pulls no punches showing the good and the bad of this highly divisive issue.

Fell and Thompson show the stories of multiple people involved in the pro-life movement and do so with shocking honesty. The film delves into the multiple levels of the movement, ranging from the highly-funded efforts of the Focus Institute, to the story of violent "abortionist bombers" that are associated with the "Army of God", to the grass-roots anti-abortion movement. At each phase the sheds light on the efforts that being made on behalf of furthering the pro-life agenda, which have in large part remained out of the public eye.

Viewers should not come into the film expecting it to change their views on abortion. This is not a propaganda film for either side of the argument. It is instead an enlightening and honest look at the other side of the issue, the part that the newspapers and tv cameras don't report on because it wouldn't make a good 30-second sound-byte or three-line quote. While the mainstream media focuses on only the sensational aspects of the battle over abortion this film digs deeper and reveals so much more about both sides of the equation. This film should spark informed discussion for any viewer.

This DVD is a must buy. If you haven't seen the film then you need to watch it, no matter your opinion on abortion. If you saw the film in theaters, then the DVD extras including deleted scenes and post-production video interviews make it well-worth the investment.

This film is a must for any college or university campus. While it centers on the pro-life leaders, it deals with both sides of the argument and presents no conclusions, leaving it up to the viewer to decide. What it does do, is spark informed, academic discusssion, which is the life-blood of American colleges and universities.

I recently purchased this film and will not soon shake the new impressions that I have gleaned from just one viewing. I can't wait to watch it again with my friends to spark the debate of an issue that deserves attention."
Shows a suprising sincerity in the Pro-Lifers
J Charles | USA | 08/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As a militantly pro-choice man, I was surprised by my reactions to the film -- particularly to the way it helped me see the sincerity in many of the pro lifers, particularly the young ones, the college kids in the first half of the show, who are my age.

I think all women ought to be educated and able to choose. I felt great sympathy for the girl who reported that she "regrets her abortion" of three years earlier, which, according to her account, she had after being misinformed about the nature of her baby. Any woman who had an abortion and regrets it, wishing she had her child instead, must feel a powerful blend of emotions I will never be able to imagine. The central problem, I think, was that this girl seemed to have limited choice in her abortion. She was not properly informed, and thus, she was unable to make the correct choice. No woman should be forced or manipulated to carry or abort a child.

The central aspect of this movie, I think, is the time spent discussing the visual-assault style of pro-life proselytizing, in which large images of aborted fetuses are displayed with slogans on signs. The organizers of such events defend themselves against both pro-life and pro-choicers who find the images horrendous. The obvious response from the organizers is that "we find them horrendous as well - and that is why they must be seen."

Aside from the contention I would make that a fetus is different than a born human, my central issue with this is that an awful picture of a mangled human body does not inherently mean that the death that body met was painful, unnecessary, or tragic. Take for example a fetus who is going to die upon birth. The tragedy is that the baby is not going to survive. An abortion is not the tragedy. An abortion might be emotionally difficult, but it is not the cause of the emotional difficulty; in fact, it could lessen pain and suffering for the family and the fetus. If you can conceive of a situation in which this would be the case - and I've personally been told by women who have had abortions in such situations - than you have to admit that, while an image of this particular aborted fetus, perhaps broken into pieces, might illicit a violent emotional response, that response is emotional, and says nothing about whether or not the abortion was right or wrong, necessary or unnecessary, etc. etc..

To convince me that abortion ought not be legal in every single case, a pro lifer would need to convince me that women are incapable of making correct decisions for their own well being, that a higher power desires for specific babies to be born, and that living is inherently better than not living. That last one sounds nihilistic, but I have a close friend who was adopted, and wished while growing up to have been aborted, as it would have allowed them to escape their violently abusive adoptive parents. I find it odd when I hear people say "What if you were aborted?" as if it's supposed to affect me. If I was aborted, I'd never exist, and wouldn't care much about the entire issue. Am I missing something?

But, another issue with the assaultive images is best shown in the final scene in the movie. My partner said she would react violently to the images and probably have a panic attack, nightmares for months, and severe depression because of her sensitivity to violent images. She had to not watch most of the parts of the movie that had these images. At what point is a group committing a tort with images? Should it be legal to show violent images to children or to anyone who doesn't want to see them? In any case? What if I just want to do it for fun? What if I wanted to show violent, fake murder images, just for fun? Is that my right, to hand images like that to passersby? The final scene of this show had my partner very upset, because she could see that the woman's response to the images, a visceral, angry response, not to the anti-abortion message, but to the showing of such images, was a response she would share at a very deep level. Such violent images could affect some people for a long time. Is it ethical?"
On the Front Lines of the Abortion Debate
stoic | Mobile AL | 02/27/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Unborn in the U.S.A. is a fascinating look anti-abortion activists. In the 1990s, the federal government passed a law mandating stiff penalties for protestors who block access to abortion clinics. The law forced anti-abortion activists to devise other means of protesting. Now, the protestors tour the U.S. with graphic photos of aborted fetuses. Much of the film focuses on the confrontations during these tours.

The film made me appreciate the diversity of views among anti-abortion activists. At one extreme is The Army of God, a domestic terrorist group whose leader says that he has no sympathy for the families of murdered abortion providers. At the other is a group made up of women who have had abortions and, as a result, are filled with regret. I have no sympathy for the Army of God, but much sympathy for the regretful women.

Most of the leaders of the anti-abortion movement are men. I wonder if these men are too quick to judge, given that they will never face an unwanted pregnancy. Many of the anti-abortion activists also involve their children in the protests. I believe that kids should enjoy their childhoods, rather than handing out leaflets and carrying signs.

While I like the film, there are drawbacks. The audio is only fair; the volume varies, so I kept adjusting it. Also, the filmmakers could have cut 15-20 minutes from the redundant interviews.

The filmmakers deserve credit for allowing the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions. I recommend Unborn in the U.S.A.