Roe v. Wade remains one of the most contentious U.S. Supreme Court decisions ever, but how did it come about?
It’s a topic that intrigued movie producer Nick Loeb, who was pitched the idea of creating a film about the circumstances surrounding the decision. Eventually, Loeb took on the task of writing, producing, directing and starring in a new film entitled, Roe v. Wade (see Plugged In’s review here.)
According to the movie’s website, Roe v. Wade is the true untold story of Dr. Bernard Nathanson (Loeb) and Dr. Mildred Jefferson (Stacey Dash), who “square off in a national battle in this untold conspiracy that led to the most famous and controversial court case in history.”
Recently, The Daily Citizen had an opportunity to interview Loeb and learn more about the film and its potential impact on how the public sees both the court decision and abortion itself.
“I would say about three to four years ago, I was presented with the idea and we [co-writer Cathy Allyn] started writing the script,” Loeb explained. “It took me about a year to write the script and do the research. I read over 40 books, along with interviews and letters, all the court transcripts and all sorts of historical research we could find, which took a long time.”
Throughout the film, the meticulous research shows, with an incredible level of detail and focus on the various real-life characters involved in both sides of the debate.
“I starting to read books on the topic, and one led to another,” Loeb said. “It was really important for us to do this because obviously we knew we would be criticized. If you go to our website, there is actually a link available for fact checking.”
As a film that has a subtle pro-life message and wasn’t purely pro-abortion, Loeb and the film team knew that it would immediately face extreme criticism for not following the media’s pro-abortion narrative. Loeb also shared some of his research and citations at the end of the film, and audience members can find additional resources at roevwaaddemovie.com.
One of the more interesting aspects of the film is the focus on Dr. Bernard Nathanson as the narrator and star. It was an interesting choice, which highlighted not only how perspectives on abortion can change, but how men were really the driving force behind the abortion fight.
“Well, Bernard was the most interesting character. Not only was he really influential and one of the founders of [pro-abortion organization] NARAL, but when you write a movie you try to connect with the characters. You need to find a character that’s got an arc. And there was no better arc to the story then Bernard, who goes from being pro-choice to pro-life,” Loeb said.
“It was a challenging role and one of the reasons, I think, is that Bernie goes through a whole host of emotions. So, it was an incredible acting opportunity.”
The role of Nathanson is one that strongly resonated with Loeb, who at one point considered himself pro-choice before becoming pro-life.
“I was able to utilize some of what I’ve gone through in my past and bring it to the character. We follow sort of a similar journey, both going pro-choice to pro-life. Specifically, in the scene where he finally comes to realization that he aborted his own daughter. I was able to bring my own personal experience to that moment.”
Loeb was involved in two abortions in his 20s, and it’s something he’s come to deeply regret.
“After them, I would continually have dreams of the child, which I still do from time to time,” Loeb shared. “It always sort of weighed on me. As I got older, and learned more about the issue, I realized, ‘Wow, there’s a baby.’ A baby has a heartbeat in the first couple of weeks. A baby is not a clump of cells.”
But the process didn’t happen overnight—Loeb stated that he went through different phases. For example, he went through a phase where he was not personally for abortion, but he wouldn’t interfere with someone interested in having one.
Loeb and his team tried to demonstrate this process in the film as well. Dr. Nathanson didn’t become a pro-life advocate overnight, the process took about 10 years. In a particularly moving scene, Nathanson goes into a church where he has a monologue asking some serious questions about abortion and his role in the practice. One question he asks is why did God take the time to create life, when abortionists just destroy the child before he or she is even born? It’s incredibly thought-provoking question, and one that will likely impact audiences.
“I think the church scene is a question that a lot of people ask about God, right?” Loeb said. “‘Why did you do this? Why are you letting people die like? How do you let all these wars happen? I’m trying to do the right thing if you really exist.’ You know, there’s a lot of people that question if God really exists, and I think that the scene really resonates with a lot of people who’ve got questions.”
In order to try and answer some of those age-old issues, Loeb and his team wanted to make sure that the film did show life inside the womb. This is a subtle way to demonstrate to the audience that a preborn baby is not a clump of cells, and it is how pro-life pregnancy resource centers engage women and change hearts and minds every day across the country.
“It was the most important things for us,” Loeb said. “Because I grew up in a period of time where we were taught that when a woman gets pregnant, it’s just a clump of cells. I couldn’t go and Google it back in the 1980s and 1990s to know the difference.”
This changed when ultrasound machines were introduced, with clearer pictures of life inside the womb, and put in use throughout the world. Abortion is much more difficult, when a physician or other medical professional can see the baby they’re aborting.
“Ultrasounds sort of helped Nathanson with his conversion. I think that was one of the most important things, impactful things in our film, is having people understand that there is a human being, there as a life, as a baby. I think still my generation still struggles with that concept.”
The film tackles a difficult topic, and one that many actors could shy away from or could potentially cause some to drop out of the project. There were even rumors of location denials and some cast and crew walking off the film, but Loeb said that those situations were mostly exaggerated by the press.
“I think the majority of the cast didn’t have any concerns about [how the film might impact their careers],” Loeb shared. “Most of the actors who played justices on the Supreme Court have been in the business for a long time and are really professional. They came in to play a role. I don’t think any of them had hesitations, or they just would not have done it.” Some of the actors who played Supreme Court Justices include Jon Voight, Corbin Bernsen and Steve Guttenberg.
Hollywood film critics are already weighing in, with the expected criticism and distain from an industry much more interested in highlighting the abortion agenda than the realities of the procedure. The New York Times calls it “hammy,” The Washington Post says it “plays like catnip to confirmed abortion opponents,” and Variety states that it’s “dreadful anti-abortion drama (that) has no use for facts or filmmaking basics.” The rest of the review is even worse.
But the real message of this film isn’t as much about the controversial Roe v. Wade decision or how the abortion industry manipulated the public and the court into supporting abortion on a national scale, it’s about the life of a preborn baby.
“The real takeaway is on the emotional side and to emotionally see that there’s a baby there,” Loeb explained. “So, the message that I want to really get through is that life begins at conception.”
Photo from YouTube