The Philosophy Society organized a movie screening of “Trapped” that chronicles the struggles of abortion providers against so-called “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers” (TRAP) laws legislated by Southern states.
The documentary by Dawn Porter was screened on Tuesday, Sept. 19, and was followed by a discussion.
The discussion, which was attended by about 25 people, was led by Jay Valentine, an assistant professor of philosophy and religion.
The two-hour documentary was followed by a half-hour discussion in which students actively participated.
“These discussions are not to challenge your thinking, but to challenge the way you think,” said Valentine before the discussion. “You will find that your views are not altered but more contextualized after this, and you will uniquely own your views and ideas.”
The documentary, along with portraying the views of the abortion providers, included opinions of individuals both for and against the legal accessibility of abortion.
It also shed light on the workings of several organizations like Center for Reproductive Rights, Foundation for Moral Law and Americans United for Life that are actively involved in the issue.
Topics of discussion after the movie included whether abortion should be considered murder, whether easy access to birth control helped to curb abortions and whether limiting access to abortion results in women of poor socioeconomic conditions trying unsafe methods of pregnancy termination.
“The basic idea of trying to save lives is a good thing, and nobody would deny that,” Valentine said. “We seem to have a difference in opinion as to how to achieve that goal.”
Responding to a statement in the documentary from former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore about America being one nation under God, Jacob Scott, a freshman computer science major from Panama City, Florida, said: “The United States was not founded based on any particular religion. The U.S. was based on secular principles, and most of the founding fathers themselves were deists.”
“Abortion is a contentious topic, but I have found that the student responses are very mature and reasonable,” Valentine said. “We discuss many controversial topics in the classes I teach, and I have never had a student belligerently bash someone else’s opinion.”
The Philosophy Society organizes two movie screenings each semester in addition to putting together podcasts on various philosophical topics. It arranges discussions on every alternate Thursday involving a guest speaker.