Director Cynthia Lowen On The Underestimation Of The Anti-Abortion Movement - Exclusive

When a leaked opinion draft from the Supreme Court hit Politico's headlines, the world stopped in its tracks. The reality that many pro-abortion advocates had been dreading had come to fruition — Roe v. Wade would likely be overturned by the conservative majority of the court, and by June 24, the pro-abortion fear was confirmed. In the wake of the life-altering news, organizers and protesters took to the streets to express their outrage over the ruling, as the fate of many pregnant people, expecting parents, survivors of sexual abuse, and people simply not ready to become mothers and fathers hung in the balance.

With such a defining ruling being handed down, pro-abortion advocates couldn't help but ask, "How did this happen?" Cynthia Lowen set out to find the answers to that very question, her work culminating in the powerful documentary "Battleground," which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Initially designed to follow the pro-abortion movement, Lowen shifted gears and dove head first into the anti-abortion coalition — a powerful body of organizers, communities, and non-profits that have far more impact on policy, politics, and the judicial system than many pro-abortion organizers may realize. Amid the documentary's release, we sat down with Lowen for an exclusive interview and asked her in what ways the pro-abortion movement underestimates its anti-abortion counterparts.

Pro-abortion advocates may not be aware of the anti-abortion movement's reach

When the masses think of the anti-abortion movement, they may picture older generations of voters and people of strong religious convictions. They may not envision the likes of young people, those who consider themselves Democrats, and voters convinced that abortion should be the single issue by which to determine their chosen candidate. Cynthia Lowen's seminal work, "Battleground," breaks down preconceived ideas about the anti-abortion advocate and further displays to audiences that the movement is far more powerful, influential, and reaching than one might assume.

"People are really surprised by how little they know about the anti-abortion movement. Even for people who are very staunchly pro-choice and who consider themselves to be reasonably engaged in current events and news, a lot of people don't know about these organizations," Lowen said, using organizations such as the Susan B. Anthony List and Students for Life as examples.

"We're seeing the results of the power of the anti-abortion movement trickle down in various ways in state bans and other kinds of bans and legislation that were being passed prior to Roe being overturned," she expanded.

The anti-abortion movement is paying attention to the tactics of the left

If the far-reaching influence of the anti-abortion movement is surprising to viewers of "Battleground," they're not alone. Cynthia Lowen told us that elements of the movement and its organizers also shocked her — namely, that anti-abortion advocates are paying attention to the tactics of the left in a very focused manner.

"I ... was struck in making the film that Marjorie Dannenfelser [the president of the Susan B. Anthony List] has a book on her desk that is called 'Know Thine Enemy: A History of the Left.' It's very clear to me in making the film ... that the anti-abortion movement is certainly watching what the left is doing and what the pro-choice movement is doing," Lowen said. The filmmaker went on to explain that the anti-abortion movement can be seen "appropriating that language" of social movements such as the Women's March, the Black Lives Matter movement, and more progressive platforms.

"This phenomenon is something that is attempting to mainstream the anti-abortion movement as something that is within the contemporary zeitgeist in the United States," Lowen said. "It's also an attempt to reach people who consider themselves to be concerned about social justice, to reach young people through this appeal."

Learn more about the documentary, "Battleground," at Follow the film on Facebook at @BattlegroundTheFilm, on Twitter at @battlegrndfilm, and on Instagram at @battlegroundthefilm.