“I’d never heard of abortion survivors” before I read the script for October Baby, actor John Schneider told me in a recent interview about his new film. But on page ten, he said he came across the term and had to reread it several times. The new film revolves around an abortion survivor who struggles with her own identity as a college freshman.
The student named Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) learns—early on—that her health problems are being caused because she was born twenty-four weeks premature. The timing of that birth was caused partially by a botched abortion that occurred days earlier.
Schneider, who previously starred in The Dukes of Hazard and Smallville, portrays her overprotective father who has never told Hannah the truth about her past. And as Hannah takes a road trip to find her biological mother and discover the truth about her own beginning, her father tries to protect her from the complete story.
Schneider himself is extremely pleased with the final product. I spoke to him over the phone on Friday, the day of the film’s release and he was already seeing the grassroots support that the film has received. “I’ve actually never been involved in something that is it’s hard to say ‘taking off’ cause it’s only opening today but it seems like it’s gonna to take off,” he said. He later added how elated he was when he watched the completed film. He said that he’s “never been so impressed with a final product as I have been when I first sat down and saw October Baby.”
For some critics who hear about the story and see the trailer, October Baby might sound like a propagandistic film with its focus on a girl who survives an abortion. But Schneider said that the film isn’t that. “I don’t think there are any personal values depicted in the movie,” he said. If people hear about the premise and are alienated from it, he urges them to keep an open mind. When I asked him about critics hearing a synopsis of the story and rejecting it, he said, “I hope I’m not that narrow-minded and I’d like to beg people not to be that narrow-minded.”
Schneider also noted that October Baby shouldn’t be perceived as pro-choice or pro-life. He said that films with such a perspective often offer up a villain but “October Baby doesn’t offer up a good guy or a bad guy.”
But in talking about the political debate that surrounds contentious issues like abortion, Schneider said that people should be free to engage in a free exchange of ideas about politics. “I don’t think that people should be afraid of something that might challenge what they currently believe in,” he said. He wasn’t referring to the movie itself but to the idea that people are often closed-minded about listening to and engaging in debates with people of other political persuasions. He added that he used to love going on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher to engage in such a debate.
Regardless of your feelings about the issue of abortion, October Baby does offer up a unique perspective. The film does offer up its share of values but it’s accessible to believers and nonbelievers alike. And Schneider, who was a co-founder of the Children Miracle Network, is excited for people to watch it and talk about it.
“I would love to be privy to the conversations people have on the way home,” he said.