The Order of Rights is a pro-life film released in 2020. It centers around Emma and Ethan, two teenagers who end up in the midst of a legal battle over the life of their baby. Emma’s mom is pushing her to abort while Ethan’s family wants her to keep the baby. The jury has to decide whether the baby has the inalienable rights guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence and so, whether she can be born.
This film does not have a Hollywood-level budget. This means parts of it are not necessarily Oscar-worthy. However, if you can look past the occasional cheesy acting and writing, you will find a rich treasure-trove of themes and ideas that are being explored. The rest of the review will explore some of the themes and ideas.
If you have not watched the film yet here is your spoiler warning and your sign that you should watch it!
Emma and Ethan, if you have not realized, create a baby. These seniors, who are at the prime of their lives and looking forward to college and careers, make the mistake of sleeping with one another. This comes after the natural development of a relationship over several weeks and months. It is one of the many realistic aspects of the film, especially given that most abortions are completely elective, not as a result of the “hard cases.”
Their mistake leads to an exposition of different parental reactions.
Emma’s mom is divorced and has had different men in her life since. With no hesitation, she takes Emma to the abortion doctor to try to get an abortion for Emma. This sly doctor, however, persuades Emma’s mom, who can see Emma is not 100% set on abortion, to wait a little while so that he can earn more money.
Ethan’s parents, however, are not so quick to react by suggesting abortion. They are a Christian family, and we learn that they faced a similar situation when they were younger which caused a lot of pain. Therefore, they advise against abortion and urge Ethan to have integrity.
The Battle for Life
Ethan’s family takes Emma to court to try to ensure he has a say in the life of his child. This leads to outrage in local and national media.
One scene which shows the distinct cognitive dissonance of the population is at the grocery store. The mothers find each other at the store and there is a showdown during which Ethan’s mom makes two great points. First, the pro-abortion lobby does not have a “monopoly on justice.” They claim to be fighting for reproductive justice but really the goal is to increase the number of abortions. Second, she highlights the forgotten, poor, defenseless baby, their grandchild, who would suffer a gruesome death if the abortion happened.
The Legal Fight
This fight ends up in court, with Emma and Ethan’s lawyers questioning and cross-examining Emma, Ethan, and some expert witnesses to try to persuade the jury to side with them. While the procedural accuracy may not meet the highest mark, the court scenes display both sides of the argument.
In one sense, the viewer is asked to play the part of the jury. The jury ultimately decides in favor of Emma, allowing her to get an abortion.
How Fierce a Mother’s Love Can Be
The most beautiful scene is after the court battle. After seeing some religious artwork depicting the Virgin Mary, Emma and her mother are talking. Her mother is trying to organize the abortion with Emma but is surprised to hear that she actually wants to keep the baby. She asks what message Emma’s choice to keep the baby would send to the world and mentions the burden it would place on others.
However, once Emma reveals how she knew she had to keep the baby, her mother cannot persuade her to abort and supports her decision. Emma mentions the sinking feeling when she was spotting earlier in the film and how her mother has been an example of someone who has protected the poor and defenseless. And, Emma defends her baby by saying that her only responsibility is to her child. This attitude would be wonderful to see in society more and more.
Overall, this film is one that adds to the pro-life debate and can help start conversations. Make sure you watch it when you get a chance!