Movie Highlighting Illegal Abortions Wins Venice Film Festival Award

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 12, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Movie Highlighting Illegal Abortions Wins Venice Film Festival Award Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 12, 2004

Venice, Italy ( — Competing against movies promoting euthanasia and forced abortions, a film that highlights illegal abortions in England won top honors last week at the Venice Film Festival. The award dismays pro-life groups that are concerned by the increasing "pro-death" nature of the featured films.

"Vera Drake," a low-budget British picture, took home the top award after being snubbed by the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The film is set in London in the 1950s and the main character performs illegal abortions for poor women.

After one of the women dies from an abortion, Drake is forced to face the British legal system to account for her actions.

The film bested 21 others to win the 61st Venice Film Festival’s coveted Golden Lion. British stage and film actress Imelda Staunton, who played Drake, also won the award for Best Actress.

Staunton said she was proud of the film "because it deals with a complex subject with such compassion."

"The audience must walk away with a debate and struggle with it. These things are not black and white," film director Mike Leigh added.

"Vera Drake" also competed against "Palindromes," a film starring Ellen Barkin, who plays the mother of a teenager girl who is forced by her parents to have an abortion.

Barkin came under fire last week by saying she would force her daughter to have an abortion.

"I am the mother of a 12-year-old girl and I can tell you unequivocally that if my daughter was pregnant, I would take her kicking and screaming to have an abortion," Barkin said at a press conference Tuesday to publicize the movie.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Amenabar’s "Mar Adentro" (Out to Sea), a true story about a Spanish sailor who fights for a legal euthanasia after he is paralyzed in an accident, also won some awards.

Pro-life groups have long accused abortion advocates of relying on a few horrible stories regarding illegal abortions to try to make abortion legal in countries across the world.

However, David Reardon, Ph.D., director of the Elliot Institute and one of the leading researchers into physical and emotional damage caused by abortions, says pro-abortion groups fail to acknowledge that legalizing abortion doesn’t make it safer.

"Legal abortion is inherently unsafe," Reardon explains.

Reardon says abortion is known to be linked to higher rates of maternal death, reproductive problems including subsequent premature deliveries and related handicaps among newborns, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and a host of other negative problems impacting women and their families.

In Mississippi, earlier this month, an abortion practitioner lost his medical license in part due to a death caused by a legal abortion there.