Pro-life women: Netflix’s Roe v. Wade documentary misrepresented us
September 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The creators of the new Netflix documentary Reversing Roe left most of the pro-life women they interviewed out of the finished product and misrepresented at least one they left in, according to an EWTN host featured in the film without her consent.
The official press release frames Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s Reversing Roe as an “intense and unflinching” look at “the whole story,” featuring “interviews with key figures from both sides of the divide, among them doctors Colleen McNicholas and Curtis Boyd; feminist icon Gloria Steinem; Operation Rescue president Troy Newman; and National Right to Life president Carol Tobias.” But several pro-lifers say its balance is sorely lacking.
Catherine Hadro, the host of “EWTN Pro-Life Weekly,” wrote an editorial in the Washington Examiner on Tuesday relaying her surprise at seeing herself in the film, something that had been done “without my knowledge or permission, without credit to myself or my network, and in a way that advanced a narrative contrary to what is true.”
She explains that the filmmakers had taken footage from a 2017 interview she had done, but “did not include my questioning, my commentary, or any of my words for that matter. I was silent; just as abortion advocates like pro-life women to be.”
Hadro notes that March for Life Education & Defense Fund president Jeanne Mancini had a similar experience, which she detailed on the most recent episode of “EWTN Pro-Life Weekly” (starting at 13:28 in the video below):
“Mancini said she gave about an hour of her time with the Netflix producers on what I can safely assume is her busiest day of the year: the day of the March for Life. Mancini said she shared with them that to be pro-life is to be pro-woman,” Hadro writes. Yet “The filmmakers rejected her commentary, apparently because it didn’t suit their narrative.”
Mancini also said she told her interviewers “all sorts of things about the youthfulness” of the pro-life movement, but “none of that seemed to make the cut.”
“What I saw in the documentary is not what I know of the pro-life movement,” Mancini continued, which she feared would mislead more moderate or uninformed viewers. “For example, there was just a major emphasis on sort of a male-oriented pro-life movement, it was almost advocating for a patriarchal society. The reality is that the pro-life movement is led by many young women, I can name about ten off the top of my head right now.”
Hadro also cited NewsBusters’ report that the film features interviews with thirteen pro-abortion women, but just one pro-life woman, Carol Tobias – despite the fact that the filmmakers spent hours apiece interviewing at least five others: Mancini, Abby Johnson, Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists, law professor Helen Alvaré of Women Speak for Themselves, and Americans United for Life president Catherine Glenn Foster.
Johnson says she was originally told the film would be released almost a year earlier, October 2017, but it turns out “they were hanging onto it until they could make the more impact on the [Supreme Court] nomination.” She and the others who spoke to NewsBusters agreed that the film focused on male pro-life interviewees in order to downplay pro-life women.
“Netflix filmmakers showed their hand by portraying the pro-life movement as a group of predominantly male, violent, religious extremists,” Hadro contends. She also questioned why a purportedly balanced film named after Roe v. Wade would omit the story of Jane Roe herself, Norma McCorvey.
“Abortion advocates often try to hide that McCorvey never had an abortion, and after the case experienced a profound conversion to Christianity. She became a pro-life advocate for the remainder of her life,” Hadro notes. “The exclusion of Roe in a documentary named after her own Supreme Court case is a telling choice by these filmmakers. They are editing history.”
Despite the film’s pro-abortion bias, pro-life speaker and activist Jonathon van Maren concludes that it “may be worth” pro-lifers’ time anyway for its flawed-yet-informative details, such as “the pro-life movement's takeover of the Republican Party” and “how successful pro-life activists have been at chipping away at abortion rights despite Roe v. Wade.”