Abortion: The Silent Scream


‘The Silent Scream’ (1984) is an influential film about abortion that has been used by pro-life campaigners to argue that the unborn child experiences pain even when abortions are performed during the legal time limit. It describes the termination process in great detail and shows an abortion taking place in ultrasound. The film was produced by American anti-abortionists and, in my view, it is undoubtedly a piece of propganda rather than a fair and objective documentary. However, it does make a case for seeing a foetus as an unborn person capable of suffering, rather than simply a collection of cells.

This film has been criticized as riddled with scientific, medical, and legal inaccuracies, misleading statements, and exaggerations. For the sake of balance you should consult Dorfman, Sally Faith, et al. (1985). The Facts Speak Louder: Planned Parenthood’s Critique of “The Silent Scream.” New York: Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. A summary of the report can be found here. Conversely, many physicians have also defended its main claims.

It might interest you to know that Ronald Regan was so impressed with the film that he sent copies to all members of congress.

WARNING: This film contains graphic depictions of abortion and contains disturbing footage of terminated foetuses. PLEASE DO NOT WATCH IF YOU ARE OF A SENSITIVE DISPOSITION.


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