Some advocates of a woman’s right to obtain an abortion are acknowledging the prolife impact of a film that depicts a suction abortion.

Called The Silent Scream, the film is “the most powerful thing the right-to-life movement has put out to date,” said Allan Rosenfield, chairman of the board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Assessing the public impact of the film, National Abortion Rights Action League president Nanette Falkenberg said prochoice advocates are “on the defensive. I think we’re in for some hard times.”

Other prochoice advocates are attempting to combat the impact of The Silent Scream. Judy Goldsmith, president of the National Organization for Women, has called the film “a fraud, medical chicanery, and not something for prochoice activists to fear. The National Organization for Women is urging its members to see the film, to demystify it, to refute the misrepresentations with realities, and above all, put women back into the picture.”

The film uses a process known as ultrasound to depict the abortion of a 12-week-old fetus. Ultrasound translates high-frequency sound waves aimed at the uterus into high-resolution images of the fetus.

Bernard Nathanson, an obstetrician and gynecologist who at one time directed the country’s largest abortion clinic, produced and narrated the film. It begins with an overview of the science of fetology. At one time “it was really an article of faith as to whether it [a fetus] was a human being,” Nathanson says. Today, he says, fetology confirms that a fetus is, in fact, “a child.”

After demonstrating the procedure for a suction abortion, Nathanson turns to the ultrasound imaging of the abortion of a 12-week-old fetus. At one point, the film freezes on a picture of “the ...

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