I subscribe to Netflix. This is a movie program where you pay about $17 a month and you select three movies. Those movies are sent to your house. When you are done a movie, you stuff it back into the self addressed, self stamped envelope they provided, put it in your mailbox and within one, maybe two, days you receive the next movie in your queue. It is very cool.
The other night, I finally watched “Precious,” the story of a young African American girl whose life is basically a living hell. Yes, I know there was a subtitle attached to the movie, but I can’t remember it. Anyway, Precious is about 16 years old, in a tough inner city high school when her father rapes her. Real pleasant stuff. Not the kind of movie you watch during dinner.
Precious already has a child. I’m not sure when she had that one, but the baby looks about one year old. She lives with her mother, who is an abusive, alcoholic living off “the welfare.” Oh yeah, Precious is also very large physically and can hardly put two words together. You’re getting the picture, right? We’re not talking Ozzie and Harriet here.
Ultimately, to add insult to injury, Precious learns that she is pregnant again from the rape.
Now, I know movies are not real and that they exercise a lot of literary license. I’m also not interested in criticizing the movie industry. But I was really bothered by the fact that (according to the movie) Precious never even seemed to consider an abortion. Raped by her own father, failing high school, one child at home being cared for by a wacked out mother, dependent on welfare.
Hello out there!
I mean, if there was a circumstance that cried out for an abortion, this was it.
But, ultimately, she had the baby and at the end of the movie (SPOILER ALERT) she seems to be getting her act together to some extent after winning a writing contest.
I don’t know what happened to the real Precious and whether or not she ever considered an abortion, but I can’t help but be bothered by two things – the fact that the movie never interjected the possibility of an abortion and whether or not the real-life Precious even considered it. Let’s face it, no one wants to be catalogued as “pro-abortion” but in a case like this it’s hard for me to not think that the situation cried out for an abortion.
Of course, I could never advocate “forced” abortions, but what pisses me off is that the anti-abortion movement has so stigmatized the abortion process that it has in some ways persuaded this woman, and women like her, to not even consider the option. And the cycle of poverty persists.