A few weeks ago, the Pro-Life Action League was alerted to a play in Chicago with an abortion theme. Keely and Du is a drama about a group of fanatic pro-lifers who kidnap a pregnant woman to prevent her from having an abortion.
I acquired a copy of the script and read it. The play was fraught will the usual stereotypes about pro-lifers as religious fanatics who will do anything to further their cause, and I found the style rather hackneyed.
One of the actors, who portrays an evangelical minister in Keely and Du came to our office to pick up some literature and get a sense of the attitudes of pro-life activists. He bought and read Joe Scheidler’s book CLOSED:99 Ways to Stop Abortion, then came back and spent an hour-and-a-half talking with Pro-Life Action League staff about our mission and our tactics.
Pro-Life Group Attends Keely and Du
Some of us went to see the play March 8 when a post-program discussion was planned. To our surprise it was very good. The actors were convincing in their portrayals and the young man playing the minister did a great job of representing a Christian point of view on abortion.
Although it seems the playwright intended her work to be a slam against pro-life activists, as the play unfolded it actually unmasked the real tragedy of abortion. Keely, the young pregnant woman, was a victim of an abusive husband, of an unfortunate childhood and of the excessive zeal of the pro-lifers. In her frustration and bitterness she lashed out at the only person in her life over whom she had control—her unborn baby.
Only Compassion Can Save a Life
The pro-lifers resorted to the illegal and desperate act of kidnapping the pregnant woman, in hopes of forcing her to see that abortion was wrong. But she had already had enough of being forced. She had been raped by her husband. She felt her life was completely out of control. Instead of helping her in her crisis, the pro-lifers made matters worse.
Ultimately, Keely committed the abortion on herself, which, although it was a stereotypical reaction from an advocate of abortion, nonetheless highlighted the reality that women cannot be forced to make the choice for life. They can only be shown the way with love and compassion. Kindness in the context of kidnapping and handcuffing doesn’t work.
It was clear that neither abortion nor kidnapping had a positive outcome. All of the characters ultimately suffered from their bad choices.
Keely and Du is running Thursdays to Sundays through March 23 at the Raven Theater, 6157 N. Clark Street, Chicago. For tickets call 312-458-9780, and mention the code LIFE for a $5 discount.