Gimme Shelter, a movie inspired by a true story, came out last year in 2013. It revolves around Apple (Vanessa Hudgens), a young girl whose life is going anywhere but up. The movie opens with pregnant Apple running away from her abusive, crack addicted mother (Rosario Dawson). The girl journeys by herself to find her long lost father (Brendan Fraser), who left her and ended up in a nice home with a respectable family. Her father welcomes her into his home, but his wife is more than willing to chase her out. She convinces Apple to abort the baby and abandons her at the clinic. Apple, who decided not to abort her child, is pushed away by yet another parent.
After getting into a car crash and forming a friendship with a hospital chaplain, Father McCarthy (James Earl Jones), she moves into a shelter for young pregnant women. After years of abuse and disappointment, Apple finally finds a place where it’s safe to trust and love again. She gives birth to a daughter, who she names Hope. Apple turns down the luxurious and now welcoming home of her father, and chooses to stay at her new home, the woman’s shelter.
Family goes beyond just mothers and fathers, the ones who should be caring for their children, as sometimes, parents fall short. Does that mean one doesn’t have a family? In Apple’s case, she had three parental figures disappoint her. Her mother was a drug addict who called her own daughter a slut for being pregnant and tried to pry Apple away from the only place that was good for her. Her father abandoned her twice: once in the arms of an incompetent mother and again when his wife demanded it. Her stepmother left Apple on a surgical table, and kicked her out because a pregnant teenager who was dragged through the ghetto her entire life didn’t fit into her picture perfect family. Wouldn’t it better not to bring a baby into this dysfunctional and selfish family, a family where its mother wasn’t even wanted?
Yet, there was a better option for Apple and her baby. Apple refused to give up even after escaping a hellhole, being tossed aside by an already failing father, and nearly being killed in a car crash. However exhausted she was with trying to find a safe haven, she pushed herself to try once more. After that, Kathy, the director of the woman’s home, and all the other young mothers became her family. They were there to protect her from her mother. They were there as she went through all the ups and downs of pregnancy. They were there for the birth of Hope. Though they were not her biological relations, these women were all pulled together by genuine care and love for each other – that’s what family is about.
For Apple, the baby was her second chance. It wasn’t so much about not bringing Hope into the dire life that her mother had, but rather how Apple found a way to a real family. She wouldn’t have had the motivation or fallen into the right circumstances without Hope. The ultrasound photos that hid in her shoe kept her going even when all seemed utterly pointless.
But some mothers aren’t as lucky as Apple. They are beaten so far down before they get close to catching a break. Why is that allowed to happen? Many women say that they get an abortion because they didn’t have an option, or it was the best one available. Why?
Instead of forcing these women to feel like abortion is the only path that will work for them, why don’t we improve the other options so that they have a choice.
One of the ways to do this is to establish more shelters and make sure these places have the support they need to function. How can they actually help women without supplies, information, room, and trained staff? Too many times women feel ashamed for going in or these places have to ration their aid carefully because they don’t have enough donations or volunteers.
In order to support mothers, and give women a better option than abortion, we as a society have to stop supporting the facilities of termination and instead support institutions of adaptation, growth, and succeeding against the odds. It’s these shelters in need of our support that can become much needed families for panicked mothers.
Family is made up of our parents, our siblings, our friends, and our mentors. Family is in more places than we realize. With the semester ending and the holiday season in full swing – it really is time to appreciate our families both here at Georgetown and wherever home might be. Let’s be thankful for the love, the support, and most importantly, the hope they give us. And try to support those who need families right now.
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Years everyone!
Gabby Munoz, COL ’18
Media Co-Chair, GU Right to Life