“40” at St. Giles viewed by 150

That’s the documentary “40,” which “investigates the Aftermath of Legalized Abortion [whose 40th
anniversary is next week] in America, the most important human rights issue of our time.”

The 150 — my estimate, confirmed by a young man who worked with the St. Giles Respect Life committee chairman — had come from the area last night, Jan. 15, drawn by Respect Lifers from five parishes — St. Giles, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Luke’s, Ascension, and St. Edmund’s.

The film’s producer and director, John E. Morales, was on hand to introduce the showing briefly, then answer questions afterwards. He’s a onetime sports reporter — for Fox Sports Net Chicago and stations in Detroit and Houston — and has contributed to ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Radio Sports and other outlets.

For the award winning “Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition,” he was co-producer, writer, and narrator, conducting interviews with over two dozen Major League players.

“40” is a winner. It moves along at a good pace and has no uninteresting people on camera. Two interviewees represented two explicitly non-religious pro-life organizations, one “humanist,” the other “secular.” Many interviewees recounted the pain and regret they experienced after having abortions. Several men who fathered aborted babies said the same thing.

Morales is one of these. He told last night of his experience years earlier when the woman with whom he had “a relationship” told him she was pregnant but that he was not to worry about it, she would take care of that. Now he and his wife are adoptive parents of a six-year-old boy whose single mother gave him up days after delivery.

Morales also told of his prayer to Blessed (soon to be saint) Pope John Paul II in Rome, when he determined to do a film about abortion, and a similar experience in the chapel of a Catholic book store.

He said he tried to get Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice leaders on camera, but they declined. So he and his associates settled for people they encountered at pro-choice demonstrations. These included a major figure in the pro-choice movement. His pro-life interviewees included several women who had worked in abortion clinics.

This is an absorbing but not excited film. It’s not bloody either, as at least one powerful pro-life film is with its depictions of aborted infants. Rather, it’s what he hear called a “positive” film, gently arguing against abortion and the bad law — admitted by some pro-choice experts — behind the Roe v. Wade decision while firmly stating the enormity of abortion, with its 56 million victims in the 40 years of its legalization in the U.S.

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