Vatican Endorses Pro-Life Movie Doonby

Hollywood starts to explore the other side of the abortion controversy.

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The popular culture remains resolute and largely of one mind in its defense of abortion.

On television and in the movies, no one ever seems to die or suffer serious health or emotional consequences after undergoing a legal abortion. Abortion opponents are most often portrayed as kooks, hypocrites, murderers, or worse. No one ever seems to question the morality or the constitutionality of the laws that keep the process legal. Is there any other issue in the legal or medical field that Hollywood treats with such one-sided reverence?

Well, all that is slowly changing. The growth in the audience for Christian-themed films has not escaped the notice of the Hollywood studios, which have finally come to understand that such films can mean big business at the box office.

[ See a collection of political cartoons on the Catholic contraception controversy.]

One such film that is soon to open in limited release is Doonby, a film by Riverhorse Entertainment and MJM Entertainment staring The Dukes of Hazzard's John Schneider, former James Bond villain Robert Davi, The Summer of 42's Jennifer O'Neill and, in a cameo role, Norma McCorvey—who is better known to American history as Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade.

The film, which has an abortion-themed subplot, gently makes the point that each life is worth living and that each person matters—ideas that all too often are lost on contemporary culture. And it's already attracting attention in surprising quarters.

L'Osservatore Romano—which is sometimes referred to as "the semi-official newspaper of the Holy See"—has given it a glowing review. Gianfranco Grieco, office head at the Pontifical Council for the Family, wrote that Doonby is a

moving and thought-provoking psychological thriller on many levels with a haunting finale that will linger in your mind and obsess your consciousness as you tackle a puzzle that will challenge each and every perception or conviction while you experience forlorn feelings of speechlessness and shock, but ultimately of liberation!

[ Read the U.S. News debate: Should Catholic and Other Religious Institutions Have to Cover Birth Control?]

The film is sure to be controversial, with the cultural establishment likely to give it a "thumbs down" because it may lead those who see it to question the validity of legal abortion.

President Barack Obama's decision to place concerns about access to unreproductive health services ahead of the nation's historic respect for religious liberty has everyone talking about the issue once again. Abortion politics have changed dramatically since the U.S. Supreme Court made the practice legal at any time and for any reason in its decision in Roe v. Wade. Most of the recent independent polling data available shows the country to be less tolerant of abortion that it was in the early '70s, at the time the nation's highest court made its ruling. Over the last two decades Congress has passed, presidents have signed, and the courts have upheld restrictions on abortion, most notably the ban on the procedure known as partial birth abortion that many people equate with infanticide.

In this case the political attitudes may be a leading rather than a lagging indicator. With Hollywood starting to explore the other side of the abortion controversy, it is likely that even more hearts and minds are going to change.