April 14, 2012

Must See Movie: October Baby

My daughter did something sweet for me today. She took me to see October Baby.

Without giving anything away, October Baby is the story of a young woman who discovers that she is not only adopted, but is the survivor of a botched abortion. The story is based on the true story of Gianna Jessen, a young woman who is a third trimester abortion survivor.

I don't really keep up with what's coming to our local theatre (with the exception of The Hunger Games, because my children gave me an up-to-date daily countdown), so I didn't really know about October Baby until someone, possibly Al Mohler, talked about it -- or at least talked about a New York Times review  by Jeannette Catsoulis. In Ms. Catsoulis' opinion, the movie has an "essential ugliness at its core" and "communicates in the language of guilt and fear." During an integral scene of the movie, when an eyewitness explained to the abortion survivor exactly what had happened, Ms. Catsoulis decried the testimony, stating that it "conjures a vision of medical hackery that is clearly intended to terrify young women — and fits right in with proposed state laws that increasingly turn the screws on a woman’s dominion over her reproductive system."

Well, I knew right then that I wanted to see the movie. I'm so glad I did.

When I was pregnant with my third child, I was thirty five years old. My medical insurance chose my doctor for me and, to be honest, I don't even remember his name. I do remember that he was from Taiwan. Throughout the pregnancy, my doctor requested all sorts of tests -- mostly because of my advanced age. With each request, I would ask him what they would do if the test came back positive, and each time he said they would do nothing except let me know. I declined each test. When it came time for a 20 week ultrasound, the doctor seemed surprised that I happily accepted the opportunity. He gravely told me that once I had seen the baby on the ultrasound, this would be my last opportunity to terminate the pregnancy. "Here, we are not allowed to end the pregnancy past 20 weeks, but where I come from, we can terminate anytime during the pregnancy. But after 20 weeks, it is much harder; the baby fights, it wants to live." My husband and I sat there, aghast, jaws dropped at this admission.

During this time, we were a low-income family, truly struggling to get by. My husband was working three jobs and working on a graduate degree; I was keeping the home fires burning while homeschooling and working a part-time job. Mine was a high risk pregnancy, both because of my age and medullary sponge kidney issues that always escalated during pregnancy. During my second pregnancy, kidney stones caused a level of anemia that almost required a late-term transfusion, and I was passing stones at an alarming rate during this last pregnancy.We would never have dreamed, however, of aborting the fetus or terminating the pregnancy, both euphemisms for killing the child that God had given us. He was born a few weeks early, my November baby.

Euphemisms are interesting things. One euphemism that is frequently tossed around is reproductive freedom. Reproductive freedom has nothing to do with a woman's freedom to reproduce. It has everything to do with a woman wanting the freedom to deproduce. But behavior has consequences, whatever your choice. (I wrote a very personal story about consequences resulting from another woman's decision here.)

I appreciated how this movie dealt fairly and accurately with the consequences of abortion, even a botched abortion in which the baby survives. And I loved how it dealt with guilt, despair, forgiveness, and love in the lives of all those affected by this one abortion. (By the way, if you do watch the movie, be sure to stay through the credits. Another amazing story is told there.)

My daughter did something sweet for me today. She took me to see October Baby. I hope you and your daughter will see it together, too.


  1. I saw it last month and agree that it is definitely worth seeing. Also, thanks for sharing your story!

  2. I've been wanting to see this movie, but will probably have to wait until it comes out on DVD, as we rarely go to the theater because of the expense.

    Thanks for participating in Feminine Friday for 05/25/2012! I hope you'll come back and join us this Friday!


    Susan Godfrey


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