The Matter of Life is a 2022 documentary that is incredibly prescient and timely. In light of the pending Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and the recent leak of the draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito signaling that the Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, The Matter of Life is a wakeup call and a roadmap on the way forward for pro-life advocacy.
This is Director Tracy Robinson’s first time out the gate as a documentary filmmaker. Robinson has spent her years since graduating Brooks Institute as a video editor and producer. However, some of those years were spent moonlighting and creating compelling video stories and testimonials for pro-life organizations. This experience gave her the abilities and the empathy to polish this documentary to a professional shine.
I had the opportunity to interview Robinson about the documentary, and she talked about how the film mirrors her own, “discovery journey” about the Matter of Life. As mentioned above, while pursuing her video editor career, Robinson would from time to time do work for pregnancy resource centers.
“At that point I had never heard of a pregnancy center, but I was inspired by the way they helped women,” she said.
Through contacts from the resource center, Robinson was invited to an apologetics conference. Alan Shlemon of Stand to Reason spoke about, “The Case Against Abortion.” Robinson was marginal on the issue of life; while she considered herself pro-life, she saw abortion as a societal necessity, and wasn’t inclined to force her views upon others. That all changed after the conference.
“I was struck by the truth. I was struck by how simple the message was of science and embryology. I was so inspired, and I was pretty much immediately “downloaded” as I like to say with this vision for this film.
“I had no idea about Roe v. Wade or the truth behind Planned Parenthood. I didn’t know any of that. I was so curious about how we got to this point in our society. I was really compelled to make a film, because I knew there were so many people in my shoes who had never heard this message before. Some went to public school, and were even raised in church, but the topic had never been confronted. And even their family never broached the topic. So I just knew that I wanted to tell this story and do it in a compelling way.”
The film is well weaved, and appropriately paced, allowing the audience to be caught up from beginning to end, not just with the topic at hand, but with the manner in which Robinson engages the discussion. At some point, one might even find themselves in tears: of frustration, of grief, of repentance, and of joy.
Robinson was also struck by the pro-life community she encountered as she researched and unpacked the new information in her journey.
“I discovered all these amazing people, powerful, redeeming stories, and I discovered how we got to this point in society, the people pushing the abortion agenda. So, I just wanted to replicate my discovery journey.”
Along with the multitudinous news clips and interviews representing the abortion agenda and its true face, Robinson interviewed individuals representative of the pro-life movement, abortion survivors, and pro-life organizations and advocates. It was refreshing to see the real stories and the real people doing the leg work, rather than the usual faces and talking heads often seen on right-of-center news and television. Robinson sought out and spoke with the grassroots activists who represent the unvarnished and unafraid pro-life movement, and give the movement its most honest, and unfiltered, voice.
Speakers like Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute, Terrisa Bukovinac, a progressive and atheist pro-life activist, Roland Warren of Care Net, pro-life speaker Christina Bennett, and Save the Storks CEO Diane Ferraro go beyond the talking points and the pro-life mantra of “it’s a child, not a choice.” These and many other speakers and organizations also go beyond pro-birth advocacy to pro-woman, pro-dignity, pro-abundance, and pro-child.
Robinson and her team are premiering the film nationwide for two days only: Monday, May 16 and Tuesday, May 17. Amazingly enough, the SCOTUS leak of Alito’s draft opinion created renewed interest in the subject matter, and forged a bigger path for the film to be seen nationally.