Contributor Emma Kelly discusses the reaction to controversial film Unplanned in light of the pro-choice movement in NI.
A landmark judgment was announced earlier today, in which Mrs Justice Siobhan Keegan ruled that the current Northern Ireland abortion laws were incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights as they did not permit abortions in the cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.
However, recent transgressions have shown that the fight for woman’s control over their bodily autonomy is far from over. The judge refused to declare any formal declarations of incompatibility at this stage due to ongoing political developments. For people on the pro-choice side, it feels as if one step forward leads to a few steps backwards.
The latest ridiculous development is that local cinemas across Northern Ireland are showing the pro-life film Unplanned. This film, no-doubt religious propaganda, does not only threaten to unfairly tip people on the fence through scaremongering and false accusations, but it shames the 1,053 Northern Irish women who endured that lonely journey to the UK to do what they felt was best for their future and their bodies. The showing of this film undermines the pro-choice campaign which worked tirelessly for decades to even get acknowledged by Northern Irish politicians and the general public.
The movie, which first premiered in America, has received terrible reviews from critics. On review aggregation website Metacritic, the film was met with ‘overwhelming dislike’ based on reviews from the Guardian, the Hollywood Reporter, the Globe and Mail, Movie Nation, Variety and the Los Angeles Times, among others. It has been classed as grossly inaccurate and misinformative, falsely depicting inhumane and cold actions from clinic staff, as well as an unabashedly over the top recreation of an abortion. US reproductive healthcare provider Planned Parenthood has stated that these arguments presented in the film are false.
In light of the judgement today, and the impending decriminalisation of abortion that could come in the next year, the showing of this film could be viewed as not only ludicrous, but completely and utterly pointless. We are moving forward, whether older generations or religious fanatics who have had their grips on our society for too long like it or not. We are a generation of change. The only question left to be asked is: when is everyone else going to join us?
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