“I’ve got to go before I blow a gasket,” has to be the funniest line in the trailer for Roe v Wade, but it has strong competition. The inexplicable staircase lined with women dressed as Playboy bunnies, the horrendously cheap iMovie special effects and the sheer number of old, white, bald men present are all hilarious sights to behold. Well, they would be, if the film wasn’t a project of unashamed anti-abortion propaganda.
While the trailer confusingly begins with news footage of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a Supreme Court justice, Roe v Wade actually focuses on what its creators call the “true untold story” of how the 1973 case unfolded. Of course, it turns out the film is simply a conduit for attacking those who supported the legalisation of abortion, with co-director and star Nick Loeb describing it as a “social war movie”.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, is the first target of the movie, which opens with her addressing a KKK rally, saying how she wants to reduce the population of African Americans across the USA. This is a bending of the truth – Sanger was, in fact, instrumental in a project that aimed to provide free contraception to poor African American people; a move this film paints as racist and fascist, but that was, in fact, supported and praised by black leaders and civil-rights activists, including Martin Luther King Jr.
Next on the character-assassination list is Bernard Nathanson, who isn’t spared despite his support for anti-abortion campaigns later in life. Throughout the trailer, we see him looking at women’s bums on the beach and surrounded by those Playboy bunnies – we’re meant to believe he doesn’t have women’s best interests at heart. It’s a bit like how Donald Trump think it’s fine to “grab” women “by the pussy”. Luckily for the filmmakers, Nathanson eventually found God and became an anti-abortion campaigner himself – this is the storyline the film appears to have run with.
Women’s reproductive rights are being treated as entertainment and as fodder for anti-abortion campaigners to prove their own righteousness
The true “hero” of Roe v Wade, however, is Mildred Jefferson, played by Stacey Dash (yep, Dionne from Clueless). According to the film, Jefferson – the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School – “marched, held up signs, got the police to raid illegal abortion clinics, adopted the unborn and most importantly, prayed to God for help”. Much attention is paid to Jefferson’s apparently tiresome fight against the pro-choice movement, while Jane Roe – the woman who sued the government for her right to abortion – is painted as nothing more than a puppet for Planned Parenthood and Hollywood (or what Trump and his followers now refer to as the Fake News Media). The description for the film revels in pointing out that she was “a broke girl with a 10th grade education”.
Roe v Wade, unsurprisingly, hasn’t been touched by any major distribution company, and so its creators are currently appealing for funding from anti-abortionists who support their message. “Our movie will not only shed a light on that truth but will also change hearts and minds. We have distribution on 1,000 screens so even if just one person changes as a result of this movie, we will have saved a life,” reads the GoFundMe page, while the trailer itself declares, “The time has come to reargue.”
Like Trumpy Bear, the idea that this film has been made is rather hilarious – in the most terrifying way. Women’s reproductive rights are being treated as entertainment and as fodder for anti-abortion campaigners to prove their own righteousness. While supporters of this film and its thinly veiled agenda donate money to spread their message as far as possible, women across America are fighting for ownership of their own health and bodies. It’s a battle that cannot be won on the silver screen.