All her life Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) has suffered from health problems but she doesn’t understand why until her first year of college. A severe asthma attack and some mildly suicidal remarks discovered in her journal by her parents finally force her family to explain some previously concealed facts about the 19-year-old’s past.
First, the only mother and father she has ever known are not her biological parents. Second, she was adopted after her premature arrival, caused by an unsuccessful abortion.
The news turns the fragile young adult ‘s sheltered life upside down. Feeling betrayed, she demands to see her birth certificate, but the only clue it provides is the location of the hospital where she was born. Turning to life-long friend Jason (Jason Burkey), the one person she thinks she can still trust, the usually obedient Hannah makes the rebellious choice to travel to Mobile, Alabama in search of the woman who wished she didn’t exist.
As Hannah sets out on this journey of self-discovery, she hopes to find answers to her aching questions, address her feelings of abandonment and perhaps even repair her seriously eroded self-worth. Instead the quest leaves her fearing that locating her elusive birth mother may prove easier than restoring peace to her soul.
While sometimes sentimental, the movie does a commendable job of portraying the poignant emotions experienced not just by the unwanted child but also many of the other people who are part of her story, such as the adoptive family and the many professionals associated with the performance of this medical procedure. While the script promotes a definite pro-life message, the writers are still sensitive to the complex reasons why some women contemplate and/or choose to terminate a pregnancy.
Adding credibility to the film is the inclusion of one of the actor’s personal experiences with this issue, which is shared during the closing credits. As well, a song presented in the movie’s musical score is provided by Gianna Jessen, a singer and actual abortion survivor. (She is also part of the inspiration for the screenplay.)
Unique in its approach to the controversy over a woman’s right versus the rights of the unborn fetus, October Baby puts a face on the silent party of this debate. It offers a powerful insight into the worth of every life. And it demonstrates how forgiveness has the power to heal even the deepest sorrows.