Tracy Robinson’s journey to becoming a director was not a straight road. The “vision” for her first foray into filmmaking was a part of her forged trail, and something she wanted to document for others who have walked a similar path.
Robinson’s documentary film, The Matter of Life, premieres nationwide on Monday, May 16, and Tuesday, May 17. The film is a compelling journey about how our country has become so divided on the hows and the whys surrounding, “the matter of life.” With the potential reversal of Roe v. Wade on the horizon, how can we as a people return to protecting life and upholding the humanity of the child in the womb?
Raised in a Christian home, Robinson did not come to faith in Christ until she completed film school at The Brooks Institute.
“I always wondered if God was going to use my degree and my growing experience in order to do something that he wanted me to do. But I never—it never occurred to me in my wildest dreams that I would be doing—embracing the topic of abortion, let alone making a film about it.”
Robinson discussed her transformation from being agnostic on abortion, to her commitment to telling the truth about not only the abortion industry, but the pro-life cause.
“What I wanted to put in the film was that we always need to bring it back to the humanity of the child. And we can go off on all these tangents about the woman, the woman’s rights, and her circumstances, but it really goes back to her son or daughter. Let’s focus on her pride and joy here. So, it’s a life and it’s worthy of protection. So, that’s what I wanted to come across.”
Robinson succeeds in that regard, as I explained in the film’s review. Take away all the religious arguments, and purely focus on the medical aspects of abortion, and the life argument always wins. With the daily advancement of medical science, it deepens the support for life in the womb as opposed to its destruction. Why does this industry never want the pregnant mother to view their ultrasound? And if it is not a life, then why are they harvesting the aborted child’s body parts and organs?
I was struck by Robinson’s description of herself as having grown up in a post-Roe world. I was probably seven-years old when Roe v. Wade was decided, so just like the Watergate scandal, it was a branding experience. My reasons for being pro-life were always religious—life begins at conception, and any deliberate destruction of that life was wrong. However, Robinson was born probably a full decade after the 1973 decision, when the PR and narrative on abortion had been falsified and normalized. So, even from the basis of faith, but with little knowledge of the science of embryology, it is easy to see how several generations of women have digested this lie and committed themselves to destroying life on the altar of choice.
In The Matter of Life, Dr. Anthony Levatino was pivotal to reinforcing the humanity of the child from a medical perspective. As a pro-choice OB-GYN, Dr. Levatino spent his decades-long career performing abortions, until personal tragedy, and scientific record, caused him to see the truth. Robinson talks about his story, and the weight it gave to the documentary.
In discussing the SCOTUS leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion, and its intended and unintended consequences, it was great to discover that the leak worked in The Matter of Life‘s favor. Robinson expounds on how this occurred.
What compelled Robinson to create this documentary was she wanted to educate people who had been like her. Those who were on the fence about abortion, and had swallowed the lies of the abortion industry, until they were seared by the truth. Robinson also expressed that her audience is also the Evangelical church, who in a multitude of ways, have been silent, ignorant, or on the fence concerning the matter of life.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion and the abortion industry worldwide, of the 862,000 abortions performed in the United States (2017 data), 400,000 of those abortions were women who proclaimed to be Christians and regularly attended church.
The documentary explores this disconnect, and where the church has failed. There are pro-choice churches, but a good majority of Catholics and Evangelical Christian churches proclaim they are pro-life. But when the rubber meets the road, the churches have failed at not only pointing their congregants to resources, but at helping these women make the choice for life and all its options. This reflects a stance that is not pro-woman or pro-child.
Robinson and I discussed how that can change. Whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court decision on Dobbs, how can the church become a safe place for women struggling with carrying a pregnancy and their unborn child. And how can the church become a resource for information and education that encourages the mother to choose life at all stages, as well as be a willing ally and partner as the woman walks through pregnancy, birth, and life alongside her child.
We had a weighty and fruitful discussion on this critical topic that has been rendered to sound bites, anger, and false assumptions. On the history of Planned Parenthood alone, the documentary is worth your time; but it is packed with so much more, and so much hope for the future of life.