Planned Parenthood has joined the chorus of voices with nothing much positive to say about Netflix’s new Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde, giving an interview today that blasts the film as “anti-abortion propaganda.”
This is per THR, which reached out to the reproductive rights organization for comment on Andrew Dominik’s new film, which stars Ana De Armas as a version of the legendary Hollywood star, and which depicts two illegal abortions as part of the web of trauma that led to Monroe’s death. (Including CGI talking fetuses that say things like, “You won’t hurt me this time, will you?”)
In response, Caren Spruch, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s national director of arts and entertainment engagement, told THR that, “As film and TV shapes many people’s understanding of sexual and reproductive health, it’s critical these depictions accurately portray women’s real decisions and experiences. While abortion is safe, essential health care, anti-abortion zealots have long contributed to abortion stigma by using medically inaccurate descriptions of fetuses and pregnancy. Andrew Dominik’s new film, Blonde, bolsters their message with a CGI-talking fetus, depicted to look like a fully formed baby.”
Planned Parenthood respects artistic license and freedom. However, false images only serve to reinforce misinformation and perpetuate stigma around sexual and reproductive health care. Every pregnancy outcome — especially abortion — should be portrayed sensitively, authentically and accurately in the media. We still have much work to do to ensure that everyone who has an abortion can see themselves onscreen. It is a shame that the creators of Blonde chose to contribute to anti-abortion propaganda and stigmatize people’s health care decisions instead.
Dominik has come under fire both for the content of the film itself—based on the book by Joyce Carol Oates—and for the press he’s given around it, in which he’s suggested a sort of baseline contempt for Monroe’s various films. Addressing the abortion issue in a recent interview with The Wrap, he suggested that the film is not anti-choice, and that unhappiness at its depiction of abortion was rooted in the Supreme Court’s recent overturn of Roe v. Wade. “No one would have given a shit about that if I’d made the movie in 2008, and probably no one’s going to care about it in four years’ time.”