Representative Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids) was not one of the Iowa legislators Wednesday who attended the showing of “Unplanned.” Senator Ken Rozenboom (R-Oskaloosa) organized the showing for legislators and others.
Representative Shannon Lundgren (R-Peosta) announced on Tuesday the movie would be showing to members in the House while Rozenboom extended the invitation in the Senate.
Staed took to Facebook on Tuesday afternoon to express his thoughts.
“The movie is based on a ‘true story’ about a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who converts to the pro-life cause after witnessing an abortion,” Staed wrote. “The movie is rated R for an intense, gory scene.
“The problem is — it’s not a true story.”
Staed refers to a story from the Texas Monthly, which Staed said conducted extensive investigative reporting that reveals many holes and mistruths in the writing of Abby Johnson, the subject of the movie.
Staed asked a few questions.
“Is the Capitol the appropriate place to show a widely discredited, questionable and provoking movie on such a serious topic? Should those opposed to the narrative presented in the movie protest its airing here in the Capitol? Should legislators take 1 hour and 50 minutes out of a session day to watch ANY movie?”
Facebook commenters weighed in, of course. One asked Staed if there was an update on how many legislators were in attendance and who attended.
“I walked by and didn’t see many in attendance,” Staed replied. “You could count them on two hands.”
The Iowa Standard was in the room for the last 20 minutes of the showing. While our two hands have the typical amount of fingers on them, we would’ve needed more than two hands to count up those in attendance.
Perhaps Staed walked by. Considering the layout of the room, Staed would have had to peek into the room in order to get any sort of accurate idea for how many folks were in attendance. Walking by certainly would not have provided him with an accurate picture.
Another commenter asked why experts with live footage of real information aren’t being called in.
We’re not sure if this is the footage that commenter is advocating be shown at the Capitol, but there is some live footage that was recorded by undercover journalists. Unfortunately judges have made it difficult for that footage to be released.
Staed was encouraged not to watch the video by another commenter who called the movie “alt-right pornography.”
When encouraged to watch the film by someone else, Staed said he didn’t think spending a couple hours during a session day was a good use of his time. Especially since the movie has been “highly discredited.”
“I have done a lot of research on this issue,” Staed said. “The body of this research was conducted in 2007 when we passed stem cell research legislation, and pro-life Iowans were in opposition.”
Staed said he was unaware of something like this happening before. He speculated half of the legislators would fit in the room.
“However, pretty safe bet that a lot of us will be absent from this political stunt,” he said.