A review of pro-life short film “The Appointment”

I’m curious for pro-life and pro-choice feedback on the above video. (Watch it first; spoilers ahead.)

First the criticism: I do find it kind of annoying when pro-life authors make unborn babies “speak.” I see it all the time, especially in poems, and it just comes across as… kinda cheesy. Pro-choicers would probably attack it as dishonest, and I can kind of see where they’re coming from; on the other hand I note that nobody gets up in arms about, say, talking infants in eTrade commercials. Yes, it’s artistic license… but since it’s so easily discredited, why go there?

But I’m willing to make an exception in this case, mainly because it’s framed as something like a dream sequence, within the mother’s own mind. I find that much more tolerable than all those god-awful, first-person, mommy-please-don’t-kill-me poems/songs/videos.

And I’ve got to give the filmmaker credit for absolutely nailing current trends in pro-choice rhetoric. “The only significance he has is what you decide to give him.” Ultrasounds “only complicate things.” “He is draining you, physically and emotionally.”

Yes, pro-choicers: this is how we pro-lifers hear you.

I especially love the line “I am not someone to fear.” It reminds me of the “face of the enemy” series of posters Feminists for Life put out several years ago (example at right).

Readers, what are your impressions?

80 thoughts on “A review of pro-life short film “The Appointment””

  1. And I've got to give the filmmaker credit for absolutely nailing current trends in pro-choice rhetoric. "The only significance he has is what you decide to give him." Ultrasounds "only complicate things." "He is draining you, physically and emotionally."

    Ultrasounds don't change minds, they are a hassle, and they cost 400$ extra dollars that a low income woman will have trouble paying for

    Yes, pregnancy is physically and emotionally draining, especially if you do not want to be pregnant. What is with the PL obsession with pretending that pregnancy is always fairies and unicorns?

    Prenates have value insofar as they are potenrial people. Sperm and egg are also potential people, however, it is inconvenient to give every egg a chance at life, for some reason!

  2. This blog has tried to avoid fairies-and-unicorns syndrome: blog.secularprolife.org/2014/08/how-i-see-abortion-debate-now-that-im.html So I sympathize with you there.
    I do have to disagree with you about ultrasounds, though. They don't cost extra, and certainly not an extra $400. Ultrasounds are included in standard practices leading up to an abortion. They're used to determine how far along the pregnancy is (which in turn determines what abortion method will be used and the amount that will be charged) and they're also used to check for ectopic pregnancies. The question isn't whether an ultrasound will be done– it will be, pro-life legislation or no. The question is whether the abortion center will be permitted to turn the screen away from the woman to hide the ultrasound image.

  3. I found this quote on tumblr, and I thought it nailed why so many women are pro-life – ie, say they believe they should be forced, they shouldn't be legally or morally allowed to choose whether or not to have a baby:

    "when you’re used to being controlled, personal autonomy can feel like too much responsibilitychoices are scary. what if you make the wrong ones?when you mess up, it will seem like proof you do not deserve and cannot handle this. but it was never something you had to earn"

    Abortion is a basic human right because it is a basic human right not to have the use of your body forced by others.

  4. "And I've got to give the filmmaker credit for absolutely nailing current trends in pro-choice rhetoric."
    Yes, it was heart-warming to think that such pro-choicers might not be getting away with such trickery after all.
    And the expression on the face of the other patient in the clinic said it all in just one second — "I don't want to be reminded of the significance of what I am about to do."

    "all those god-awful, first-person, mommy-please-don't-kill-me poems/songs/videos."
    They are not my favorite artistic experience, but then maybe the creators didn't expect them to be. I bet they have saved some lives.

  5. >> Pro-choicers would probably attack it as dishonest, and I can kind of see where they're coming from
    glad that you have some sense in you

    >> on the other hand I note that nobody gets up in arms about, say, talking infants in eTrade commercials.

    Well, talking babies in eTrade commercials are not central to the narrative and the message of the commercial, are they? The problem here is that pro-lifers in the US tend to believe in talking snakes, that the Flintstones is a historically accurate depiction of early humans and their dinosaur pets, and that the Bible should be believed because it says its the word of God right there on the first page, see?

    What are the odds that this mom is pro-choice?


    When disseminating information to people like this, artistic license is the LAST thing you should be using. They need to be told, "a fetus has no ability to process sensory input until its quite far along, and that it doesn't feel sorrow or pain either", not shown a grown man as the voice for the fetus, objecting that no one is listening to him, which is also BS because most fetuses are aborted before its even a him or a her. Because people whose last exposure to science was in the middle school, or was taught by someone like that mom in the above link, WILL believe that a fetus has an opinion about his own fate, much like a grown man does.

    Now, how would a pro-choice person view this "film"? Let's see, why don't you ask students at Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale, Stanford etc., you know, where most of the student body is pro-choice, what they think of this "artistic licenese"? Most likely they'll turn it off 1 minute into it, after they've realized that it contains almost nothing of factual value in it, and is quite frankly a waste of time.

    On the other hand, I think this "film" will appeal to people who think "God's not dead" and "Kirk Cameron saves Christmas" are educational family films.

  6. es, it was heart-warming to think that such pro-choicers might not be getting away with such trickery after all"

    How is it trickery? Unless of course you want to lie to women by pretending that pregnancy is nonzero risk, and by infantlizing them by forcing them to look at an ultrasound?

  7. Yeah, where would prolifery be if women were allowed to decide for themselves if they wanted to see the ultrasound image?

  8. No matter what you do with the screen, the woman will ask to see it if she wants to see it. And she will not look at it if she doesn't want to. I see nothing wrong with asking her if she wants to see it. What are you going to do? Tape her eyelids open? If the screen faces her she just turns away, or closes her eyes. Sort of like a rapist would tell his victim "Just close your eyes."

  9. How common is it to fall asleep while waiting for your abortion appointment anyway? (I wouldn't know) And where are the ranting (mainly old white male) protesters outside? Why was she waiting to have an abortion until the fetal kick was palpable? Why does the fetusman look like a serial killer? This is too much artistic license.

    Well, I guess if they didn't take artistic license, the scenes where the fetus is talking would just be silence. Not much drama to draw in the gullible or the homeschooled, I guess.

  10. Kelsey had written, "The question is whether the abortion center will be permitted to turn the screen away from the woman to hide the ultrasound image." If I understand correctly, she is referring to clinics that are permitted to refuse to let the woman see it even if she wants to see it.

  11. I bet they have saved some lives.

    You hope people were inspired not to kill themselves before they tracked down the god-awful creators of these go-awful "art-works" and explained to them why bad art created for ideological purposes is the worst creative act of all?

    Or were you fantasising that some woman who's decided to have an abortion read a crappily-awful poem supposedly written by a fetus and thought "OMG! Such dreadful poetry! I mustn't have an abortion now!"

  12. The infogram you posted from the "Feminists for Forced Pregnancy" group is a reminder that while prolifery is, all over the world, a fundamentally misogynistic ideology, the American prolife movement is also fundamentally racist, historically and ideologically closely linked to the white slaveowners who were accustomed to having black women bred as they wished and punishing them for having abortions: similiarly, modern prolifers present black women as the enemies of their own children, using images of black children as if to represent a black woman's fetus.

    Martin Luther King was one of the first recipients of the Margaret Sanger award: he praised her for her work providing birth control to the black communities of America.

  13. I have NO IDEA what you're talking about. If the patient wants to see the image, that is her RIGHT as a patient. I simply don't believe you. Patients have rights. She is paying for the exam. I don't believe any medical personnel do things like that. That's a serious ethics violation.

  14. Woops.

    A woman like this is not going to know artistic license when she sees it. Taking artistic license is inappropriate when your target audience will believe absolute rubbish. Something tells me though that the filmmakers were not taking artistic license, rather they also believe absolute rubbish.

  15. "The question is whether the abortion center will be permitted to turn the screen away from the woman to hide the ultrasound image."

    EdinboroughEye (below) thinks that an abortion center permitted to refuse to let the woman see an existing ultrasound image (apparently even after the woman has signed whatever is in the forms she completes) exists only in the minds of pro-lifers. lady_black believes that to refuse if the woman wants to see it would be a serious ethics violation. Can you help?

  16. Do you mean there is no abortion center anywhere (in the US? in the world?) that is legally permitted, once a woman has signed her forms, to refuse to let the woman see an ultrasound?
    See also my reply to Kelsey's comment.

  17. ** The question is whether the abortion center will be permitted to turn the screen away from the woman to hide the ultrasound image.**

    Actually, I'd say this is arguably a first amendment issue, it is just as much a violation of the first amendment to FORCE someone to see or view things they do not wish to, as it is to PREVENT them from seeing or viewing things that they DO wish to. That being the case, the question of whether or not the abortion center 'will be permitted to turn the screen away from the woman to hide the ultrasound image' should be up to the individual woman in question.

  18. ** The last-minute emotional appeal is just like the rows of candy at the checkout aisle of a grocery store**

    How about a last minute non-emotional appeal, if forced gestationers claim the right to violate a woman's first amendment rights by forcing her to look at ultrasounds, then by what logic should she also not be required to look at images of brain activity (or lack of brain activity) in the embryo?

  19. So.. let me see. Since myintx says the widdle brainless embwyo gets a pass based on 'can't help it', but a grown man who has the misfortune to be a mind controlled rapist is evil and should be killed, despite 'can't help it', then the forced gestationer position is that the brainless embryo, despite no brain function, feels all sorts of real pain and fear for it's 'very life', and the adult man, despite having a functional brain, is what? Doesn't feel any pain or fear and is simply ugly garbage to be tossed out, because he's violated the sanctity of myintx's precious genitals?

    What's wrong with this picture?

  20. Well, the acting was pretty decent. I can give it that much. Otherwise, I find the whole thing very deceptive.

    Let's start with The Woman herself. She is far enough along that she is showing, that she can feel the fetus' movement, and that she knows it's sex. Taken together, these factors suggest that she is somewhere around eighteen weeks of gestation. The typical abortion is done well before that time. Yet, despite being that far along, she is apparently still uncertain about her course of action. The Man's question, which went unanswered, is very relevant: Why is she there if she still undecided about her course of action?

    Using a grown man to represent the fetus is not artistic license, it is part and parcel with the deception going on here. Purple Slurpy pointed out some reasons why this is so–prenates are incapable of having desires, let alone expressing them. Moreover, this is not something we grant even to born children. No, they don't get to choose whether or not to go to school. No, they don't get to choose whether or not to get that shot. Yes, they damn well better get their asses home by the time specified. Sure, we grant more freedom and consult them about what they want as they get older, but only when they've demonstrated capability and responsibility. This film would have us treat the prenate as if it were an adult male(!).

    The Man's role is difficult to interpret. Is his role simply to represent the pro-choice position? Is he trying to convince The Woman to have an abortion? Is he merely supposed to be a counselor informing her of her options? What are we supposed to make of the look on his face after The Woman decided not to have it? The producers clearly have no idea what his role is supposed to be.

    Insofar as The Man is supposed to represent the pro-choice position, then the best we can say is that the producers have no idea what the pro-choice position is about. The pro-choice position is that abortion is permissible in typical cases. That's it. It does not advocate that women have abortions. It doesn't even say whether a specific woman should or should not have an abortion. It simply leaves her free to assess her situation for herself and act accordingly. If the producer's thinking is not muddled, then it is clearly deceptive when it comes to the pro-choice position.

  21. Cannot speak for the *whole world*, Acyutananda, and nor can you.

    But, as LadyBlack notes, the woman is the patient and (in the US) she has paid for the ultrasound: if she says "I want to see it", the notion that a clinic would "not allow" it is absurd: a fantasy of prolifers who think woman exist to be used, and do not imagine that a woman has a will of her own.

    In the UK, ultrasounds are routine at 18-20 weeks and occasionally at 13 weeks. Ultrasounds are occasionally used for abortion if there's doubt about how far along the woman is. If the woman wants to see the ultrasound screen of course she can: it can be tilted either towards or away from the patient.

  22. Oh, now you're moving goalposts!

    I pointed out, and so did LadyBlack, that it is absurd to suppose that if a woman wants to see her ultrasound scan she would be denied that. This is certainly so in the UK, and LadyBlack confirms it is the same in the US.

    This is a world of difference between her choice to see her ultrasound scan – normal medical practice – and forcing her to see her ultrasound scan.

    You're trying to argue, it seems, that unless a woman is legally forced to see her ultrasound scan she will not be allowed to.

  23. Thanks for the factual information about the UK. But as regards the rest of the world or the US, I'm not asking about notions and whether they seem absurd to you or seem logical. I'm asking if you can back up what you're saying about all the abortion-clinic policies that women agree to and the possible fine print therein.

  24. "You're trying to argue, it seems, that unless a woman is legally forced to see her ultrasound scan she will not be allowed to."
    Please point out to me where I tried to argue that.

  25. See, here's the thing. An actual real 'right' possessed by person A, can only exist because of qualities inherent in person A. The existence of that right cannot be dependent on the action of other people, such as B and C. For instance, my right to life and right to freedom of speech exist because of certain qualities that *I* have, not because of anything done or not done by anyone else. For instance, I have the right to life, regardless of whether anyone else has sex or not.

    Something that I might be granted, that IS dependent on something that other people, B and C do, is NOT a 'right'. It can only be punishment for a crime that B and C committed against me. This being the case, claiming that fetus A has a 'right' to the organs of woman B, because woman B 'had sex', means that the forced gestationers consider sex to be a crime, and that having to give your organs to someone else is the punishment for that crime.

    But here's the thing, since the fetus did not exist at the time woman B had sex, the sex cannot be considered a crime against the fetus. If it is a crime, it must be inherently criminal. This is where things get absurd, because when we know that someone has committed a crime, our society always takes steps to punish them. We don't randomly punish them or not punish them based on how lucky they are with regards to what some uncontrolled biological state such as their blood pressure happened to be that day.

    So, if sex is a crime, and the appropriate punishment is to give another person access to your organs, if someone does not get pregnant, then society ought properly to force them to donate blood or bone marrow or something for the next 9 months. Yet the same forced gestationers who constantly simper about 'responsibility' seem to want to get out of this 'responsibility' themselves, they do not want to be forced to donate their organs if they have sex, while also using their fertility strips to get NFP down to a science, and escape pregnancy as well, while those who can't afford fertility strips either must be celibate or take their chances.

  26. Yes, I am saying that no medical clinic in the USA is permitted to deny any patient the right to see any ultrasound scan done for any reason. That is a violation of the patient's rights. So is forcing them to watch the scan against their will if they do not wish to view it.

  27. Well, now you're just babbling. If I were to present myself for an ultrasound and was refused the right to view the image, I wouldn't have it done there. I simply don't believe it happens. Not in abortion clinics, and not anywhere.

  28. Now that you've raised the question, it is time to back it up. Where are clinics permitted to turn the screen away and prevent her from seeing it at her request? What clinics actually do so? And where is the proof?

  29. Ok, I'll give my critique. I liked the film, but not for the reasons anti-choicers might give. The artistic license taken by portraying the woman's fetus as a grown man capable of having and expressing an opinion, and angry that no one is 'listening to him is demonstrative of the way fetus fetishists wish us to view the fetus. Which is to say, not in line with reality. They all know very well that outside of their imaginations, fetuses don't have, or express opinions. The problem is that they spend too much time living in their fantasy world, and are angry that the rest of us don't participate. That fantasy world includes the notion of women not having made up their minds by the time they are clearly showing, and can feel the fetus moving, and know the sex of the fetus. This is also not reality. Such a woman would be aborting a pregnancy she clearly wanted, and knowing that her fetus would never become a grown man, but is doomed to die within her or shortly after birth, endangering her life and health for a futile exercise. This is how an intelligent and educated person views such a film, You've all seen it. The piece of art that is so inherently bad that it becomes a sensational and perversely popular example of badness. The William Hung of films. That's how I see this film.

  30. I know. But like you told Acyutananda, Kelsey needs to put up or shut up. Kelsey made the original assertion, and even Acyutananda made the same request for information.

  31. If you could be polite, I'd be happy to reply.

    If you decide to continue on that basis, it would help if you would re-read the discussion from the start.

  32. Yeah. He put Purple Slurpy on ignore after PS stated that Clinton = an arsehole for arguing that women should be forced to gestate even if it permanently paralyzes them. He refuses to engage me because I change my nym too often, and this offends him.

    What's funny is, he wants his ideas – that women are subhuman baby making machines – to be treated with respect – yet he is insulted when people are offended by his deeply felt "intuition" that women are less valuable than zygotes.

  33. **If you could be polite, I'd be happy to reply.**

    Just offhand, this statement on your part sounds pretty much like the usual forced gestationer ad hominem fallacies, coupled with the usual forced gestationer evasions.

    Ad hominem fallacy: Insulting the other person by claiming they are impolite, rather than replying.

    Evasions: Not replying to the question at hand.

  34. More sad feelie nonsense: youtube.com/watch?v=CJ-oxbKBNZk

    Among other things, this claims the embryo is 8 inches long after only 1 month, and can hear things and feel sad after 3 months, despite having no brain function.

  35. Sorry, no. If you pass a law forcing a woman to look at something she does not want to look at, that law is enforced by the government, so your theory of 'private individuals' goes right out the window.

  36. Yes, that video is a total lie. Eight inches? Maybe eight millimeters. And no, 12 week fetuses do not hear things, or feel sad.

  37. No, there is certainly a first amendment issue here. Namely state laws that force women to view the ultrasound, or listen to a description of the fetus's "features," a state mandated shaming script, or information about adoption when she hasn't the slightest interest in giving birth and relinquishing the child for adoption, or mandatory visits to a CPC. Compelled speech and/or compelled attention to speech violates the rights of women and their doctors. Now, medical ethics demand that a patient be informed about what a procedure consists of, what the expected outcome will be, and any known risks involved so that the patient is informed when giving consent. That is reasonable. The patient is in a dependent state related to medical professionals, and should be informed about what is being done to them, to reduce feelings of apprehension.

  38. How about we pass a law requiring graphs and images of the complete lack of brain function in the embryo and fetus be shown 4 times a year in churches and posted prominently on their bulletin board? Does that sound good to you? Or is your side a special snowflake that should not be forced to see and view things they don't want to?

  39. If she can't pronounce eukaryotes, she's not qualified to talk about them. I feel sorry for the children she's 'educating'.

  40. Why would it be a "tough choice "? If you just "don't want a child", and a Z/E/F is some dirty, body-invading, clump of parasitic cells, why would you even think twice about it?

  41. I wouldn't necessarily go that far. I remember a time where I really mangled the pronunciation of Aristotle and Augustine. The problem is that I read far in advance of my peers and family, and would come across new terms. I would simply assign a pronunciation and keep going. I would be years before I learned to properly pronounce some of those terms.

  42. Why would it matter though, if a woman was made to hear about the state of her fetus? It's just a non-human being mass in the uterus, right? Should she not be informed of what she is choosing to "rid herself of"? As a pro "choice" person, I would think that you would want the woman to be fully informed.

  43. Wow, that was a great film. I was pro life for over thirty years and because of films like that, I became pro choice.

    The film affirms the right to choice and then shows how that right is perverted by the careful use of lies and deceit. I don't need to go into the lies, they are obvious. But the dramatic setting, the talking fetus and the practiced false concern are very effective.

    It was a true propaganda masterpiece.

  44. Let me explain what fully informed means, in terms of a medical procedure, because you clearly are confused. Any person contemplating a medical procedure needs to be informed 1) what the procedure is, 2) the intended benefit expected and the odds of success, and 3) the risks involved in the procedure. Nobody is made to view their gangrenous gall bladder before a cholecystectomy will be done. EVER. I have no reason to believe women are not fully informed prior to abortion. You are just attempting to make them feel worse than they already feel. And you are infantilizing women. Just stop it.

  45. You lied and said that I changed the wording on my page. I forgave your lie and laid down rules for you to follow if you want an answer from me. I agreed to forgive your lie and allow you to ask questions. But I laid out the rules that must be followed. If you want your questions answered then you must follow those rules so that I can keep you from lying and using fallacies, again. Please remove your post and I will answer it in due course. It will be answered in what ever order you choose at the rate of one post per day. If it remains up, then I will not answer any of your posts. Once I feel I can trust you we can resume our prior relationship. 8

  46. I think you invoke the responsability objection.But the child was not made worse off by being conceveid so the child can not be compensated.

  47. I do have to disagree with you about ultrasounds, though. They don't cost extra, and certainly not an extra $400.

    As I understand it, the problem with pro-life ultrasound laws is that they require ultrasounds to be performed by a physician (rather than a nurse or technician) and often require a waiting period after the ultrasound (meaning that the pregnant person must go to the clinic twice—a significant problem if the nearest clinic is three hours' drive away). It is those additional requirements, not the ultrasound requirement per se, that needlessly drive up the cost of an abortion.

  48. I note that nobody gets up in arms about, say, talking infants in eTrade commercials.

    You've clearly never been in our home, where a "talking infant" ad is a clear invitation to change the channel. They're asinine.

  49. Yes, pro-choicers: this is how we pro-lifers hear you.

    Thanks for demonstrating, once again, that the anti-choice can't stand it when pregnancy is discussed in any other terms than fairy farts and chocolate ice cream.

    No love, someone whose wanted pregnancy nearly killed her.

  50. You do know that ultrasound doesn't change anyone's mind, right? rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/01/12/study-viewing-an-ultrasound-does-not-dissuade-women-from-abortion/

  51. "What's funny is, he wants his ideas – that women are subhuman baby making machines – to be treated with respect – yet he is insulted when people are offended by his deeply felt "intuition" that women are less valuable than zygotes."

    And where exactly did he say that?

  52. He has admitted to Plum that he isn't all that bothers by infanticide (he is from India BTW), and he told Tim Griffy that he loses no sleep over little kids dying because someone was too selfish to donate bone marrow

    Yet he suffers great emotional distress thinking about the tragedy of a zygote being prevented from implanting.

    Why is that? Why the concern for human life ONLY when it is inside a woman?

    BTW, in pro life Texas, you can shoot someone dead if they are stealing your TV…

    If life, the preciousness of life is paramount to pro lifers, so important that women must lose their bodily autonomy, and potentially their lives and health, then why isn't life treated with the same sanctity in any other situation? Why should you buy a new TV if a life can be saved with a *forcible* donation of 600$?

    Pro lifers try to argue against this by talking about negative and positive rights, but that is a bunch of bull, because if we truly truly care about life, and allowing each and every precious snowflake to live a full and productive life, then EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US should be inconvenienced equally to sustain those lives. Property, our bodies, should all come second to LIFE.

    So, I ask, again, why is the only concern for life demonstrated as a wish to ban abortion ?

  53. "Yes, pregnancy is physically and emotionally draining, especially if you do not want to be pregnant."

    Isn't this a strong reason why we should try to develop artificial wombs and to commercialize them to such an extent that they become affordable to everyone or to almost everyone?

  54. In regards to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I honestly don't know whether or not He or She exists. Frankly, I don't think that anyone else knows this for sure either.

  55. Yep.

    Though one particular libertarian asshat told me that 1) women should be forced to birth 2) if they are too poor to afford an artificial womb, then too bad, they don't get one

    Yeah, sorry bro, you want to force women to give birth, and then offer an alternative and make it so that it's ONLY available to the rich…that's not pro-life, not by a long shot.

  56. "Yeah, sorry bro,"

    I seriously hope that this is a reference to that libertarian asshat and not to myself.

    And Yes, is possible, artificial wombs should be made cheap enough for everyone (or at least almost everyone) to afford.

  57. Yes, it's a reference to him.

    Yep, true pro-life = making sacrifices. You just can't force women to sacrifice their lives, careers, hopes dreams and health while you count your pennies in glee.


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