Abortion, Abortion Rights, anti-abortion, pro-choice

180 Movie Distributed to High Schools

A while back 180, a documentary seeking to vilify abortion, made waves throughout the pro-life and pro-choice communities. The premise of the documentary is pretty simple- the creator of the documentary, Ray Comfort, starts by asking people how they feel about the holocaust then how they feel about abortion and then tried to convince them their support for abortion is wrong because the holocaust and abortion are the same thing. The creator and supporters are now distributing this film to high schools throughout the country.

Before I talk about the documentary I’m going to give a quick lesson in the art of persuasion. There are the three main aspects of trying to convince people of something: one is emotional appeals (pathos) one is logical appeals (logos) and one is appeals based in the credibility of the presenter (ethos). The more balanced between the ethos, pathos and logos columns a piece is the more effective it is. This film was heavy on the pathos/emotional appeals and had a bit of the ethos/credibility thrown in. It had nothing in the logos/logic column. These types are arguments, while likely to be highly effective in the moment, are unlikely to permanently change the opinions of the people who view it.

Pro-life people will love this film because it supports what they already believe; that abortion is murder. Pro-choicers are likely to react the same way I did; by finding the arguments to be overly simplistic and inaccurate representations of the realities of abortion. People in the middle, people who are uncomfortable with the idea of abortion but who don’t feel it is their place to dictate what other people do with their bodies are really the only people this documentary is likely to have any impact on and even then it is likely to be only a temporary impact. This is because the documentary lacks any real logic and fact based support for its premise. Emotional appeals are very effective in the moment; most people don’t want to think they are akin to Nazis. So of course when you show them the horrors of Nazi concentration camps and then tell them that abortion is the same thing, there is a strong probability they will skip critical thinking and agree with you. After the moment has passed and the opportunity arises for them to think about it rational they will likely go back to their original opinion. This is true for any emotional/pathos based argument.

So it is not because I disagree with the pro-life stance the movie takes that I disagree with it being distributed to high school students. Honestly if they had shown this movie at my high school I doubt anyone would have taken it seriously to begin with, so I see no reason to be alarmed that it will convince high schoolers to not be pro-choice. My issue with the film being distributed in public schools is that it goes beyond anti-abortion propaganda and straight into Christian propaganda. The last ten minutes consist of Ray Comfort asking the participants if they believe in God and Jesus and Heaven and Hell and then if they have broken any of the 10 Commandments. Then he tells them all that if Heaven and Hell exist, they will be going to hell because they have broken some of the Commandments and that they should go home and think about repenting to Jesus. If churches want to host showings for their communities then that is absolutely fantastic and they should feel free to do so; but showing it in public schools is absolutely not ok. It alienates anyone who is not Christian and even some who are Christian by implying that they will go to Hell for having “impure thoughts.”  Using the abortion debate as cover for a proselytizing mission really isn’t a new concept, but to hoist it into public schools is ludicrous.


Edited to Add:

                Wow, 39 comments! It’s great to see so many people engaging with our blog! We got a late start today so unfortunately there wasn’t time to go through all the comments. If you don’t see yours posted yet, it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to approve it. We may not have gotten to it yet or we might have felt it deserved a more in depth response than we had time for. We will get to them. However, if your comment seemed more about attacking than engaging or if it makes light of the experiences of others then it is possible we will opt to not approve it. We want this to be an open dialogue but not one that is vitriolic. If you still don’t see your comment posted in the next few days and you think we misinterpreted your intent, please feel free to resubmit. Thanks for reading!


13 thoughts on “180 Movie Distributed to High Schools”

  1. I hate to say it, but I agree with this statement:

    //My issue with the film being distributed in public schools is that it goes beyond anti-abortion propaganda and straight into Christian propaganda. The last ten minutes consist of Ray Comfort asking the participants if they believe in God and Jesus and Heaven and Hell and then if they have broken any of the 10 Commandments.//

    What the video producers SHOULD have done was make 2 editions.
    One that includes this part and one that does not.

    Otherwise we are alienating the not yet Christians from becoming anti-abortionists…

  2. What I learned from the movie: we are not discussing only one body here, there are two. One should not have any more precedence over the other. If you are afraid of unwanted pregnancies then I suggest you start objecting to casual sex.

  3. The 180 movie has been a blessing in my life. My dear husband watched it and his heart was softened towards woman and children in the womb. We both relize that we were brainwashed from a young age to support “choice”. I value human rights over any special interest group or personal gain. Yes, it would be easier to support what is popular but what is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right. Planned parenthood speaks at public schools, after school programs and Girl Scouts. Where is the true “choice” if both sides are not alloweed to be represented.

  4. I found ‘180’ to be a life-changing 30 minutes. One of my thoughts in reading this article is that if you are for accurate “representations of the realities of abortion”, then you should be for abortion clinics showing this video to women to provide such representations of the realities of abortion…http://www.abort73.com/videos/this_is_abortion/

  5. You state that your problem with the movie is that is preaches a Christian message, and it does. If it did not, it would only be a message of condemnation: you are a murderer for being an abortionist, PERIOD, deal with it, how do people reconcile the fact that they are a murderer? They may have committed an abortion, but NOW WHAT? Do we leave them HANGING to feel that shame? If we present a Christian message it gives HOPE, that even a murderer can be forgiven. The Christian message is not preached in order to make a person feel outcast or shame and then leave them in that state, it is meant to bring hope that although their HEARTS are evil (ALL HEARTS are evil) God can cleanse the heart, forgive, and then CHANGE the heart. It MUST address the HEART issue because all sin begins in the heart. The message is not just that abortion is murder but that even the sin of abortion can be forgiven.

  6. The movie had essentially a two-fold purpose:

    1. To change hearts and minds about abortion.
    2. To change hearts and minds about the Gospel

    It’s not a cover-up for proselytizing. It’s designed to address both issues, from, yes, a Christian perspective.

    There was definitely some good logic thrown in there – the points about the heartbeat and brain activity of the baby were intended as logical support for the pro-life position. But the reason that the movie had more of an “emotional” appeal is because Living Waters uses the Biblical principle of speaking more to the conscience than to the intellect. The intellect should not be ignored, but God’s Law is written on our hearts, and because of that solid, straight-up conviction is a powerful agent to bring about moral change in this country and in the world.

  7. This film was handed out to a generation of children who are sadly, sexually active, often before high school. It is a thoughtful, historically accurate comparison of two egregious acts of murder. I am grateful and proud of those who have taken a brave stand against the murder of the innocent and defenseless. I am sorry that you disagree with the message.

  8. I did find the presentation in 180 to be quite logical and convincing. Hopefully people will watch it and decide for themselves whether the claims Mr. Comfort makes are true. Also, I don’t think it’s wrong to give this movie to high school students. It wasn’t shown on campus as I understand merely given to those who were interested to view on their own. If we’re afraid to let kids see opinions that are different from our own, how can we say they’re being well educated?

  9. Abortion is similar to the Holocaust in that it has caused the unjust death of millions of human beings, merely because they are the ‘undesirable element’ in our culture today. Many people ignorantly allude to unborn children as non-persons, just like Jews were dehumanized in Nazi Germany. The 180 film is a truthful portrayal of the modern day mass murder of innocent people by our government via abortion and is realistic. People should be educated and told the truth, especially about spiritual issues concerning the Bible and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

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