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The Practice of Civilized Discourse in America Has Been Usurped by Fixed, Hard-Shell Believers Who Disdain Voices of Equilibrium.
There are contradictory values. Apart from each other, each value is considerably rational. The value of preserving human life, or for that matter any other organism, is a value we should accept. You should not ever go readily kill some animal because it's to one's liking. On the other hand, most of us are in unison on stomping a roach. This is generally the case. The values we hold are not definite. They are ever conditional because life is comprised of problematic scenarios and compromises that collide with our values. If you apply yourself to an individual abstract value, it may sound valid, and maybe it is, but you have to ask what it means under exacting circumstances. So freedom to choose is valid, defending life is valid, and sometimes they come into collision. That is the issue of abortion. Those who regard passionately the issue of abortion in America, no matter which side they are on, may complain that Tony Kaye's graphic powerhouse documentary tells the other side.
This is a bold, unintimidated, occasionally almost unwatchable documentary that makes such a compelling illustration for both pro-choice and pro-life that all you can deduce at the end is that both sides have productive supporters, but the pro-lifers also have some disquieting people on their side. One is a sincere young man named Paul Hill, cleancut, aviator glasses, who says we should kill all abortionists. He doesn't stop there. We should also execute all blasphemers. Anyone who says God dammit should be executed? "Yes," he answers solidly. In awhile, he murders a Florida doctor who performed abortions. It's one of two murders in the film which conclude with the death penalty, which pro-life champions tend to advocate. Other pro-lifers purchase property next to abortion clinics and fashion platforms so they can climb onto them and scream over fences at young women entering the clinics.
They judge abortion to be murder, clear as day, and they are also against birth control and sex education, which have shown to decrease unplanned pregnancies and hence abortions. On behalf of their effort to convince, Hill shows vivid footage of abortions and their aftermath. The scene that struck me most gravely has a doctor sifting through a pan of blood, fluid and body parts to be certain he has withdrawn all of a fetus. Tiny hands and feet can unequivocally be seen. Throughout the film, we see more than enough to persuade us that what is being aborted is not seldom unmistakably human. The most rational words of argument on the pro-life side come from Nat Hentoff, the veteran left-wing writer for the Village Voice, characterized as a civil libertarian and an atheist. He contends from a lucid, not religious, perspective that when a sperm and an egg merged, a human is being conceived, and the development should not be infringed upon. His detached assertions, whether or not you agree with them, are a levelheaded kernel in a riotous whirlwind.
Another key witness in the film is Norma McCorvey, who was the anonymous Jane Roe in the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. She was a pro-choice activist for years, had her home and car shot at, felt practically a prisoner in her house, and then there was an unforeseen occurrence. But we also meet, anonymously, some of the young women who requisition at abortion clinics, and hear their stories. And we hear very real and very true statistics: If abortion is made illegal again in America, the abortion rate will stay essentially the same as it was before Roe v. Wade, but the fatality rate will begin to increase. Before the Supreme Court decision, the foremost means of death among young women was not cancer, not heart disease, not car crashes, but secondary responses of illegal abortions. These are the vital facts Kaye took the responsibility to include.
This depressingly real expose has been a life's work for Kaye, a British citizen who filmed it on and off for 17 years, and who has said that he still does not know his own personal feelings about abortion. He shoots in 35mm wide-screen, using black and white; take one wild guess as to why that's of integral significance to the way we view the film's content. As in his great narrative feature American History X, he uses Anne Dudley's almost overwhelmingly emotional score only in scenes of an unequivocal nature, never to manipulate our feelings one way or another. He interviews brilliant voices of our time such as Noam Chomsky and Alan Dershowitz. At two and a half hours, his film doesn't feel prolonged, as at every moment something arresting, alarming, dumbfounding or maddening is taking place. Correct, he attacks neither side of the argument. But what he shows by chance is how the practice of diplomatically reciprocated views and civilized discourse in America has been usurped by fixed, hard-shell true believers who ignore and disdain voices of composure and equilibrium.
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