Response to Planned Parenthood Video
Everyone has heard of Planned Parenthood: liberals hail the organization as the epitome of feminism in the healthcare sector, providing mammograms, birth control, abortions, and other care for women, while conservatives disparage it as the leading enemy in the abortion debate. In the video “Moving Beyond Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice Labels, You’re ‘Not In Her Shoes’ — Planned Parenthood,” the organization addresses various concerns raised in the controversial debate.
Rather than having a celebrity simply speak at the camera (as they do in other videos), the creators of this specific piece chose to use animation as their primary method of conveyance. The animations they use allow their message to be more efficiently. 0:33, an image of the world, colored in with the American flag, surrounded by people holding hands is covered by the labels of “Pro-Choice” and “Pro-Life. This intentionally symbolic image implies that these labels divide us unnecessarily, when the question is infinitely more complicated.
At one point in the video, the narrator makes the claim that most people believe that women should have the right to safe and illegal abortions, but would not label themselves necessarily as “pro-choice.” By acknowledging that many people are uncomfortable with the conventional labels, the narrator intentionally reaches out to those on the fence about the issue, rather than those who may already agree with the position. Inn addition, the image of piano keys while asserting that abortion is “not black and white” provides useful imagery for the viewer and keeps them interested.
The narrator’s soothing voice lends a tone of relaxation to the video, as does the soft background music. In addressing such an intense and polarizing topic, the virtual comfort of the audience is essential. Adding to the soft tone of the video are the cartoon characters, with their rounded edges and pastel colors.
The effectiveness of the video, however, is questionable. Personally, I felt that — in terms of content — the video portrayed very well the issue of abortion and many standard pro-choice arguments. It addressed the issue of faith and family (standard conservative arguments), by asserting over and over again that each situation is different. Women do not consult the government for mammograms, they say. So why is abortion any different? Expecting a staunchly pro-life tone to the comments, I scrolled down. Much to my surprise, I found that the three displayed comments criticized the video from an intensely pro-choice standpoint. Chastising the video for compromising the pro-choice standpoint, one of the comments declared that abortion should be available “On Demand and Without Apology(.)” The comments surprised me, as I found the video relatively convincing and helpful in addressing many of the issues raised within the abortion debate.
(This apparently won’t show up on the original post even though it says it’s there! — corresponds to the Planned Parenthood video)