By Jonathon Van Maren
Benjamin Watson is known primarily for his long career in the NFL, during which he played for the Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens, the New Orleans Saints, and won Super Bowl XXIX with the New England Patriots. But this May, Watson embarked on a completely different project: a feature documentary about the American abortion debate titled Divided Hearts of America. With a budget of less than $1 million (Watson is a partial financier of the project as well as executive director), the film features interviews with some thirty Americans from all sides of the abortion divide.
For anyone involved in the pro-life movement, there are a lot of familiar faces. There is Dr. Kathi Aultman, a former abortionist, describing the procedure she performed so many times in jarring terms: “Deflate the head by removing the brains.” Deflate the head? We meet Melissa Ohden, who survived soaking in saline for days in her mother’s womb and then was born alive, making up that small percentage of abortion survivors referred to in the industry as “the dreaded complication.” We hear from Ryan Bomberger, a pro-life activist who was conceived through rape and adopted into a multi-racial family. Each interview puts human faces and stories to the shouted slogans of the abortion debate.
Most of the pro-lifers Watson speaks to are African American, and unsurprisingly, he scores some big names. Former neurosurgeon and current U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson explains his evolution on the issue: “Initially with abortion, I just said live and let live. But the thing that really changed my mind on that is I was thinking about slavery. Slave owners thought that they owned people and that they had the right to do anything they wanted to them, including kill them. What if the abolitionists had said I don’t believe in it, but you can do anything you want?”
That, and discovering the brutality of abortion, which Carson described for Watson: “You push in a little device and it sucks the baby in and grinds the baby up and you see the blood and everything going through the tube.” Strong words for a sitting member of the president’s cabinet.