Tuesday October 26, 2011, an off-campus group distributed DVDs entitled 180 on the UC Davis campus. The intent of this letter is to provide transparency about the content of the film and empower potential viewers to make an informed decision about watching the film.
Please be aware that we summarize the film and content may be triggering.
The first portion of the film discusses the Holocaust and features several interviews asking individuals on the street what they would do if they had lived in Nazi Germany.
The second part of the film compares legalized abortion to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. From this point on, the film compares a person’s choice about the outcome of their pregnancy to Hitler’s “choice” to commit the atrocities of the Holocaust. Additionally, the film calls abortion “a Holocaust in America that’s sanctioned by the government.” The documentary advises its viewers to actively vote against legalized abortion and provides information on how to further distribute the film.
Our response to 180 is multifaceted, and we want to share both our support for the communities affected and make a statement.
The distribution of the film on our campus took place at the MU, Silo and Wellman lawn. Many students were not informed about the content of the film and were given misleading information when they asked for a summary of the film. Most notably, the distributors and the DVD packaging made no mention of abortion. In fact, the film itself does not discuss abortion until about 15 minutes into the film. When we asked the distributors what group they were representing, who funded the film, who were the producers, or how they learned about how to distribute it, they refused to answer. Overall, the distribution of the films was deceitful and we find their methods problematic.
The Holocaust has a cultural impact that is inextricable from this film. Comparing a person’s legal right to choose the outcome of their pregnancy with the Holocaust evokes that cultural understanding and creates an artificial sense of horror. The comparison is not merited and the use of the Holocaust is offensive, insensitive and triggering.
The use of the word “choice” both in reference to a person’s choice in the outcome of their pregnancy and to Hitler’s “choice” to commit atrocities during WWII is not comparable. We refute the use of the loaded term “choice” in the discussion of Hitler’s behavior.
We stand in solidarity with students identifying as Jewish, Queer, People of Color, Women, Transgender, Romani and folks with disabilities for whom this film invokes histories of oppression, genocide and erasure. Additionally, we stand in solidarity with folks who have personal histories and experience around the topic of pregnancy, abortion and oppression that may have been triggered. We acknowledge the film as offensive, upsetting, insensitive, reprehensible, vilifying and erasing of history.
We would like to express our commitment to supporting students and providing non-judgmental information surrounding pregnancy. A complete list of resources for students who may have been triggered by the film or are looking for accurate information can be found on the online edition. Please stop by the Women’s Center if you are looking for additional information or want to talk about your experience.
Resources & Administrative Intern
On behalf of the Women’s Resources and Research Center