Former 'pro-choice' director makes pro-life film ‘The Matter of Life’: ‘The truth struck me’
A formerly "pro-choice Christian" turned pro-life advocate wants others to open their eyes to the truth.
Tracy Robinson, the director and producer of the upcoming documentary “The Matter of Life," never in her “wildest dreams” thought she would be tackling the abortion topic.
Her journey to creating the film to be shown later this month in theaters nationwide began in 2016 after working as a contractor in a pregnancy resource center in California. There, she recalled being “touched" by what the organization was doing to help women.
“When it came to the abortion issue — even as an evangelical Christian — I was still very on-the-fence and apathetic at best," Robinson shared in an interview with The Christian Post.
"I felt that I was personally pro-life, but it seemed wrong to try to enforce my preference onto others."
On the documentary's website, Robinson says that she "was a pro-choice Christian" even though she never gave herself that label at the time.
Her opinion changed drastically after being invited to an apologetics conference in 2016 by a staff member of the pregnancy center. She listened to speaker Alan Shlemon of Stand to Reason talk on the topic "The Case Against Abortion." She said his “clear, concise argument for the full humanity of the unborn child from the moment of conception” changed her heart.
“The truth struck me,” she described. “That evening, I felt the vision to make this message into a feature-length documentary that was downloaded to me. I knew there were so many young adults in my shoes who deserved to be informed but never were — perhaps they attended public school and neither their family nor their church ever broached the topic.”
Robinson was curious to find out how it got to the point where abortion was something accepted and even legislated by society.
“I didn’t know about Roe v. Wade or the truth behind Planned Parenthood. In reading books and watching Youtube, I discovered a multi-faceted pro-life movement and many powerful and redeeming stories therein," she said. "And I wanted to tell that story, too."
So she did. Robinson used her own money and the help of some donors to make the film that will hit theaters nationwide on May 16 and May 17 via Fathom Events.
“The Matter of Life” shares both the pro-choice and pro-life arguments, humanizing the opposing sides. Something Robinson said was “important” to do was to “humanize the person you’re talking to — in other words, validate their concerns and good intentions.”
“I didn’t want ‘The Matter of Life’ to convey the pro-life message while condemning people or ‘leaving bodies behind,’ so to speak,” she said.
“I wanted ‘The Matter of Life’ to unravel the abortion issue rather than preach to the choir or speak to an audience that’s already convinced. And I didn’t want to be abrasive in the messaging ... in a way that would ‘leave bodies behind’ in the process of disseminating truth."
"I wanted the film to address valid concerns that people have regarding the issue while being sympathetic to those concerns," she continued.
The film shares the staggering LifeWay Research statistic that nearly four out of 10 women who’ve had an abortion attended church at least monthly at the time of their abortion. The research firm also found that seven out of 10 women who have had an abortion identify as Christian.
Robinson said it is essential that churches embrace pregnant women who may be considering abortion.
“From the beginning, I knew that my target audience would be Christians because, at the very least, those are the people that would be willing to watch the film,” she said. “In the film, Roland Warren, CEO of Care Net, makes the point that ‘this is an issue for us as Christians, … We need to overturn Roe v. Wade in our own pews.’ It occurred to me that this film was being made in order to be a rallying cry for more Christians to confront the issue of abortion.”
“The Church has a great opportunity to love their congregation 40% more when it comes to the abortion crisis — by serving people in need whether they are facing a pregnancy or a troubling memory of abortion in their past,” Robinson continued. “I’m happy to say that many people who have watched the film at a pre-screening have been inspired and compelled to action.”
“The Matter of Life” features ministries that help support pregnant women, such as Embrace Grace, which equips churches to come alongside pregnant single women with community and support.
Save the Storks is also highlighted for their work in implementing mobile medical units known as “Stork Buses” that turn church parking lots into a place of respite, answers and resources for women in crisis pregnancies.
Heartbeat International, a vast network of Pregnancy Help organizations, is also shown in the film.
Robinson said that OptionLine.org runs a 24/7 pregnancy helpline that she believes every church should know about when a young woman "comes through the doors in need of pregnancy resources in her community.”
“The church has an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in approaching the abortion crisis in our communities,” she said. “When we actively try to rescue people’s children from abortion, we model His grace, in that Christ saved us when we could not save ourselves. And no matter what burden we carry of sin and shame, He is powerful to forgive and carry that weight on the cross forever.”
Recalling her inspiration from the messaging at the pro-life conference she attended with her friend years earlier, Robinson said that she was struck by the fact that Shlemon didn't need the Bible or religious arguments to make the case against abortion.
“He simply used the science of embryology as the basis of pro-life philosophy and logic,” she said. “Even more surprising was learning about several different secular pro-life groups, including Secular Pro-life, Feminists for Life, New Wave Feminists, Pro-life San Francisco and PAAU. They are some of the most bold, outspoken people I’ve ever met."
“Terrisa Bukovinac [of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising] makes a statement in the film: ‘Being pro-life is the most progressive value that we can have. It protects the most innocent, most vulnerable among us,’ Robinson echoed.
“This is my interpretation: many people associate progressivism with being inclusive, especially to segments of the population that have been marginalized or victimized. These pro-life progressives or secularists are unique in that they understand that aborted preborns fit into the category of victim. They see the reality that abortion is the victimization of and violence against a people group based on their size, age and other immutable characteristics.”
Nevertheless, Robinson believes the abortion movement is a spiritual battle.
“Margaret Sanger and her philosophy was grounded in eugenics, the idea that people with less desired characteristics are not worthy of life,” she maintained. “Who I think right now is behind the pro-choice movement are people that love money. Abortion is a profitable business.”
“At the end of the day, I believe abortion is a spiritual battle first. Satan hates humankind and he seeks to steal, kill and destroy it. Abortion is a form of destruction, of course, but also devastation — it has a negative ripple effect on mental health and families,” she continued. “But I am not discouraged because the enemy does not win in the end. God is faithful. He will take what was meant for evil and use it for the saving of many lives.”
“The Matter of Life” features powerful testimonies of former doctors who once performed abortions.
With the recent news of a leaked initial draft opinion suggesting the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe V. Wade, Robinson said it is crucial now more than ever that Christians show their support for the pro-life cause.
The 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling granted women the constitutional right to have an abortion, a highly debated interpretation of privacy rights in the 14th Amendment.
“I believe it was likely a wake-up call for everyone,” Robinson said of the leaked documents, believing it was leaked for "activist purposes on the pro-abortion side."
"But again, what man meant for evil, God will use for good — for the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20). ... Maybe the draft leak was a wake-up call for churches to ready themselves for the growing needs in their community. I believe it’s also sparked people’s attention to this issue to the point that they are willing to learn more about it and be open to the truth."
Robinson urged pro-life supporters to get their tickets to "The Matter of Life" sooner rather than later to ensure theaters won’t cancel showings.
“Activation first starts with education," she said. "People who have been on the fence have been enlightened by this film."
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: email@example.com She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic