Actor, playwright and reproductive-rights activist Madeline Burrows went undercover, CIA style, in the pro-life movement for her one-woman political theater piece MOM BABY GOD. It's first worth noting that this play received the green light from Kickstarter, while the pro-life based films Gosnell the Movie and Stolen Moments were initially rejected by the crowd funding website. No agenda, huh?Ms. Magazine, the brainchild of radical feminist Gloria Steinem, recently jumped at the chance to interview the covert agent. Here's what she had to say about her pet project:
MOM BABY GOD throws you into the world of the right-wing anti-abortion movement through the eyes of a teenage girl who is trying super hard to achieve the impossible “be sexy/don’t have sex” sexual culture available to young women in the U.S. It’s an immersive look into the anti-abortion movement, but it’s equally about the sexual culture and abstinence-only politics that go hand-in-hand with the politics of the anti-abortion movement. It’s very funny, very scary and very real.
Burrows reveals that she attended a number of pro-life conferences over the past two years for research, fully immersing herself in the anti-choice world. But don’t worry, that only strengthened her own pro-abortion beliefs:
The more time I spent with them, the more fully I saw the tragedy on a human level of these politics—the way they affect young women, the shame-based understanding of sexuality they offer for young people. If anything it made me more committed to building the movement for reproductive justice.
Nevertheless, she kept with her act, wanting people to get to know these “characters,” as she so affectionately calls the pro-lifers she encountered.
Barring the content of her play, the title itself is insulting. By using all caps, Burrows oversimplifies the pro-life argument, suggesting anti-choice activists are robots in a homogenous movement. The loud title succeeds in distracting from the beauty in each word. If I were to make a play to expose her side's cause, I'd only need three words as well: WAR ON WOMEN.
Then there’s her actual performance. In the trailer posted on her website, we get a glimpse of her one-hour play. Burrows mocks pro-life activists by acting as a naive, obnoxious and overly excited conference attendee, a misogynistic sounding male speaker, and at one point even pretending to be pro-life champion Lila Rose, who she portrays as narcissistic. In reality, Rose rarely puts herself first, instead championing the rights of unborn babies, such as when she bravely debated NARAL President Ilyse Hogue on CNN. But, that's not how Rose, nor any of her pro-life colleagues, are depicted in Burrows' play.
Speaking of Lila Rose, she's someone who went undercover herself - in a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. But, unlike Burrows, Rose found actual injustice. Her team at Live Action have only discovered more tragedy since, particularly in their project called Inhuman, exposing the horrors of the late-term abortion industry. Also missing from Rose's videos are offensive language and mocking gestures toward those she disagrees with, for the horrors she found speak for themselves. Vulgarity and cheap insults, on the other hand, is what we’ve come to expect from the pro-choice crowd.
While Burrows gives an A-plus performance of imaginary, squealing young activists, she inevitably leaves out performance of the mothers who had abortions and are now living with tragic regret, as well as the adults who are thanking God their moms didn’t go through with ending their lives when considering what to do with their unplanned pregnancies.
One of the conferences Burrows mocked in her play was the Students for Life of America. I attended this year's event in Maryland. At that conference, I met some of the sweetest people I've ever met, including the loving Duggar family - who were nothing but gracious during our interview. At no point did I feel brainwashed during a speech or while speaking to activists at their booths. Everyone there was excited to share their baby saving efforts - that is, unless Burrows was sneaking around stealing all the pro-life pamphlets as material for her play.
To Burrows’ credit, her play has received some stellar reviews…from the quality BITCH magazine.