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Here’s the first clue that a romantic comedy won’t be any good: it’s a romantic comedy.

The second: it’s about abortion.

Well, not abortion abortion, as Whoopi Goldberg might say. More like “abortion.”  Abortion — the real kind — is reductive, destructive, and degrading, whereas “abortion” — the kind that appears often in Planned Parenthood brochures and Lena Dunham tweets — is warm, cuddly, and lighthearted.

Obvious Child, a quirky little flick (soon to be widely released across the country) about the most charming child murder you’ve ever seen on the big screen, definitely features an abortion of the latter type.

Child ‘boldly’ and ‘hilariously’ tackles this touchy subject matter by portraying infanticide as both heroic and utterly free of emotional, spiritual, and physical consequence. The heroine of the story is a stand up comedian, who, for a change of pace, is apparently ‘foul mouthed’ and ‘edgy.’ Because there’s nothing more edgy (in a 6th grade homeroom) than saying ‘penis’ and ‘sex.’

In a groundbreaking plot twist, our protagonist gets drunk and sleeps with some guy. Hilarity and abortions ensue, some more penis and vagina jokes are told, and they all live happily ever after. Except for her child, whose corpse will be sold as medical waste to fuel power plants in the northwest.

Here’s the preview, if you’re interested:

Of course, the media can’t stop gushing about the film, giving it an 89 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics, salivating over the chance to prove their progressive bonafides, have been playing a game of Competing Hyperbole, heralding the abortion comedy with words like ‘genius,’ ‘poignant,’ ‘endearing,’ ‘insightful,’  and ‘captivating.’ These are many of the same critics who panned Bella several years back, a drama about a young woman who gets pregnant, considers abortion, [SPOILER] but ultimately chooses adoption. This was enough to earn it predictable scorn, and descriptions like ‘corny,’ ‘simplistic,’ ‘pedestrian,’ ‘clichéd,’ ‘clumsy,’ and ‘trite.’

If there’s going to be a crisis pregnancy in your film, it better end with blood and death or you won’t be invited to any Hollywood cocktail parties anytime soon, mister.

This is not to say that Obvious Child is just a movie about abortion. In fact, the director has rejected that label, claiming that it “makes the movie feel small.” She has a point. One look at the poster clearly shows that the filmmakers are trying to be very subtle about the abortion theme:




But of all the absurd things said about this movie and its message, none are so stupid or so dangerous as this:

It’s ’empowering.’

The official Obvious Child Tumblr page calls it a movie about ‘self discovery and empowerment.’ Many folks in media and the blogosphere have said similar things, including Sarah Seltzer from RH Reality Check. She attempts to explain it this way:

“[Abortion is] empowering in the sense that the very act of making a decision about our future, even if in desperation, gives us control”.

Wait. Isn’t EVERY decision a decision about the future? You can’t make a decision about the past, can you? I’m so confused.

Here now is the next stage in the abortion movement. It’s not enough to win in the courts and the Congress, they want to win in American’s heart and soul. It’s not enough for abortion to be legal, it needs to be loved. That’s why these kinds of movies exist, to promote abortion as something positive, affirming, constructive, empowering.

The empowering abortion. A work of fiction, indeed, but one marketed cleverly enough to dupe millions of people.

I thought about this empowerment notion for a while, and I think I identified a flaw in it. Actually, I identified five:


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