HOLLYWOOD— When movie stars exited their limos to attend the Academy Awards, they expected to see photographers, reporters and adoring fans. At this year's ceremony on March 26, they also saw a group of young people protesting the movie The The Cider House Rules.
Carrying signs as shown in the photo at right, the protesters were members of a group called Survivors, which is the name they give to people born after abortion was legalized in 1973.
And they had a message for the actors and actresses of Hollywood.
“They can't hide behind their limousine tinted-windows and pretend that this doesn't happen in America,” said Danielle White, 16, spokeswoman for Survivors.
The problem with The Cider House Rules, White said, is that “an abortionist is treated just like a foot doctor. But knee surgery is not the same thing as having a child removed from the womb.”
In addition to their Oscar protest outside the Shrine Auditorium, the young activists protested at the home of Michael Caine, who played an abortionist in The Cider House Rules. They also stood outside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where Miramax held a pre-Oscar party for its movie.
“We saw Michael Caine, Toby McGuire and Charlize Theron. We saw all the actors and actresses” who starred in the movie, said White. “I'm sure they were quite angry.”
Votes for the Oscars were cast long before the award ceremony, so the protest could not affect the vote. The Cider House Rules won two awards: Best Supporting Actor went to Caine for his portrayal of an abortionist and Best Adapted Screenplay went to John Irving who also wrote the 1994 novel of the same name.
In accepting the award, Irving said, “I want to thank the academy for this honor to a film on the abortion subject and Miramax for having the courage to make this movie in the first place.” He also thanked Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League, who have been promoting the movie.
“We're always happy to see someone standing out and speaking out for a woman's right to choose,” said Colleen McCabe, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood.
McCabe didn't have kind words for the protesters, though.
“We understand that they weren't very effective,” McCabe told the Register. “They didn't get much of a rise” out of anybody, she said.
White disagreed. “Not from the reaction we got from people,” she countered. “Many people got very angry. They said some choice words.”
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Michael Caine had only kind words to describe the role of the abortionist in the movie: “This man was, to me, the most compassionate creature I'd ever played.”
Jim Sedlak, director of Stop Planned Parenthood, a division of American Life League, took issue with Caine's words.
“Compassion is killing babies?” Sedlak told the Register. “It's absolutely outrageous. It really shows the devaluation of human life in the entertainment industry.”
John Leo, social commentator for U.S. News & World Report, said that The Cider House Rules was dangerous because it advanced the abortion agenda in such a subtle manner. “It was a stealth movie. No one really figured it out until the end of the movie,” Leo told the Register.
White agreed that people could accept certain wrongs after watching movies like The Cider House Rules. “Even me, with my huge convictions, I almost start to think that this is OK. It's easy to get influenced.”
“All these great powers that be,” said White about the movie industry, “are trying to get teen-agers to think abortion is OK.”