Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
A movie has just been finished based on the true story reported by WND of a woman trapped in the bathroom of an abortion clinic who watched helplessly as her baby, who was born alive, died.
The film, “22weeks,” made by a young, Puerto Rican filmmaker, Ángel Manuel Soto Vázquez, will soon be released in private screenings in select cities as it ramps up for hopeful showings at the Toronto and Cannes Film Festivals.
A young woman is locked in the bathroom of an abortion clinic after her aborted baby was born alive.
A film about decisions, their effects and the echos [sic] they leave behind. Based on the shocking WorldNetDaily article by Ron Strom, on victim’s testimonies, and real 911 calls about one of the most controversial subjects of our time, “22weeks” achieves to confront both sides of the spectrum and their perspective to the on going [sic] question: “what would you do?”
The film’s MySpace page adds, “This is the shocking true story about the reality behind abortion and the heroic struggle of a mother willing to do anything to save her child.”
A trailer for the film can be seen below, but viewers should be aware it contains graphic images and disturbing content:
The mother in the true story, identified only as Angele, since she has asked her last name not be used, was scheduled to have her 22-week pregnancy ended at the EPOC Clinic of Orlando Women’s Center in Orlando, Fla. Instead, Angele told WND, she delivered the baby alive in a restroom at the clinic and said her cries for help went unheeded by the medical staff, even when an employee saw that the tiny boy was moving.
Angele said she ran to a phone outside the clinic to call a friend for help, then curled up with her son for the full 11 minutes of his short life after birth. She bathed the baby, whom she named Rowan, and cut his umbilical cord. After medical staff demanded she surrender her son’s body, she blocked the door to keep them away and stayed trapped in the bathroom, praying and weeping, until the police arrived, she said.
Angele described her son:
He was perfect, slightly pale and a little translucent. His eyebrows were pale but wide and well-defined. You could see little hairs on his face and head. He had the tiniest little fingernails and toenails. I noticed they already had a little bit of growth. His mouth was lovely. He was this perfectly formed one pound, one ounce human being. He was beautiful. He had been so strong.
I wrapped him in [a] blue pad instead of one of the wet blankets. I just kept kissing him and telling him I loved him so much. I told him I was sorry I couldn’t get anyone to help us and I was so sorry for ever coming here.
Now, with the help of supportive movie industry artists and the makers of the award-winning movie “Bella,” a film about a single mother’s struggle with choosing between abortion and adoption, Soto Vázquez is bringing Angele’s story to the big screen.
Soto Vázquez told WND the film isn’t a pro-choice or pro-life agenda film, but rather the telling of a true story that allows audiences to reach their own conclusions.
“Even though the movie doesn’t take any side, the way I show it, I show both sides of the spectrum on the issue of abortion,” Soto Vázquez said. “I just let the spectator decide which side he’s going to take from the story, because it’s based on a true story.”
He said it’s a movie “about a woman who decides to get an abortion, and she gets an abortion. But it’s also the story of a woman who, after she gets the abortion, realizes what she has done when she has that mother-son connection.”
The movie is scheduled to premiere at a private screening in Puerto Rico in early October, with invitations sent to the press and to the artists who have supported it, including the makers of “Bella” and actor George Clooney.
After the premiere, screenings are planned in Kansas City, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
“We want to do private screenings for our target audience, then branch out from there so viewers can recommend the movie to more people,” Soto Vázquez said. “We’re doing it that way because we don’t have the money to distribute it nationwide yet, but we do have access to viral marketing so we can get our main niche to follow the movie and recommend it and create enough noise to get media attention. Eventually, we’d like it to go all over the country.”
WND asked Soto Vázquez how people who want to see the film can get access to it.
“I know a lot of people who support the pro-life movement would like to see this film excel,” he said. “The main ways to do that are to help us make connections with media, help us find places to do screenings and help us financially make those screenings happen.
“If we found a spot do a private screening, I’m more than willing to try to make it happen. Right now, our connections are in those cities where we have screenings planned. But, for example, I don’t know people in, say, Chicago.”
WND asked Soto Vázquez if private theater owners who wanted to invite the movie to be shown at their facility should contact him.
“Oh, totally,” Soto Vázquez answered, “that would be a blessing.”
The movie’s official website, 22weeksthemovie.com, has both contact information and an address for donations to increase the movie’s potential distribution.
Following the death of baby Rowan three years ago, Angele told WND she chose to go public with her story and take legal action “so this doesn’t happen to anybody else.” As WND reported, a pro-life law organization called Liberty Counsel filed complaints on Angele’s behalf against the clinic that performed the abortion.
Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, has since told WND Florida authorities chose not to act on the complaints but that the lead doctor at the clinic, Dr. James S. Pendergraft, just last year had his medical license revoked for violating the state’s late-term abortion laws and prescribing medication without a license.
Pendergraft, as WND reported, is known in pro-life communities as the “Tiller of Florida,” after George Tiller, a well-known late-term abortion doctor in Wichita, Kan., referred to by some activists as “Tiller the Killer.”
Staver suggested the attention Pendergraft received after baby Rowan’s death couldn’t have helped the doctor’s reputation and confirmed that though Pendergraft has applied for reinstatement, it has not yet been granted.
Angele’s story is a case that would likely fall under the 2002 federal Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which requires doctors to attempt to keep alive a baby that survives an abortion. The act has been thrust into the national spotlight recently as Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been steeped in controversy for allegedly lying to cover up his opposition to a similar bill that would have protected babies like Rowan.