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 based on the true story reported by WND of a woman trapped in the bathroom of an abortion clinic watching helplessly as her baby died after being born alive is being released to an increasing number of audiences, including the U.S. Congress.
The film, as WND reported, is called “22weeks,” made by a young Puerto Rican filmmaker, Ángel Manuel Soto Vázquez. It has been shown to private audiences, screened in Puerto Rico, viewed on Capitol Hill and is now scheduled for two more public screenings this week, in Virginia Beach, Va., and San Diego, Calif.
Soto Vázquez told WND that one of the most important audiences – the actual mother depicted in the film – has already seen it and approves.
“Baby Rowan’s mom saw it and felt like it was accurate, professional, and sensitive to her, her children and women around the world who have suffered and lived through this,” said Soto Vázquez. “That was my biggest joy, knowing that I did justice to her and to the story.”
Pro-life activist and WND columnist Jill Stanek agreed that the short 25-minute film was well acted and professionally produced. She was also stunned.
“I know the mom,” Stanek told WND. “When I saw the movie, I always had empathy for her, but when I saw the mom holding her little baby in the bathroom dying, I had a new sense of understanding. I felt her despair. I was traumatized for her. It’s definitely effective.”
Soto Vázquez told WND U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., also saw the film, “loved it,” and is now hoping to organize a full congressional screening on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which allows abortions through all nine months of pregnancy.
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.
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.”
Jill Stanek warned WND that the movie is so powerful that some people may not believe it could possibly be based on a true story.
“Some people just aren’t going to believe it,” she said, “but this actually did happen, and this is not the only mother that I’m aware of who had a similar experience of aborting her baby and then when the baby was born alive having an instant change of heart, wanting everything done for her baby, and her baby dying. This is not something that doesn’t happen. It’s not isolated.”
Now Stanek hopes the film will educate the public about late-term abortions.
“There’s a segment of the population that I hope comes to grips with what they’ve just tolerated all this time. They don’t realize how far it has come,” Stanek told WND. “I’ve actually held a baby that was shelved to die because he was aborted – now we’re talking about infanticide.”
“22weeks” can be viewed by the public at a 7 p.m. and a 9 p.m. showing at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., on October 28. It will be shown at 3 p.m. at Ken Cinema in San Diego, Calif., on October 31. Future screenings, Soto Vázquez said, are planned in Kansas City, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
The film’s website, www.22weeksthemovie.com, has also added a feature in which people can enter a request that the movie come to their area.