"Crescendo," a prize-winning short film slated to hit U.S. theaters at the end of February, has sparked a cultural debate involving the film's political undertones about abortion, with critics pointing fingers at pop superstar Justin Bieber's mother, one of the movie's executive producers.
"Crescendo" tells the story of an 18th century woman who, while pregnant, tries to take her own life. Her attempt is unsuccessful, though, due to some unexpected events, and her son eventually becomes known to the world as composer Ludwig von Beethoven. Makers of the film, Move to Movement, hope to raise $10 million for crisis pregnancy centers.
Though the film has already collected 11 international awards, critics are condemning its supposed anti-abortion agenda, with Bieber's mom Pattie Mallette taking the brunt of the criticism.
Mallette's involvement with the film is personal. As told in her 2012 memoir, "Nowhere But Up," she was just 17 years old and unmarried when she decided to go through with her unplanned pregnancy with Bieber despite social pressure to get an abortion.
"When I became pregnant, I knew for myself that I had to keep my baby and I want other women in the same situation to know that there is a place for them to go if they find themselves with nowhere to turn," Mallette told Peter Roff, a U.S. News & World Report
Advocates for abortion rights believe the film is intended to be a subliminal anti-abortion message to viewers, but producers say that was never the intention.
"I am involved with this project to tell my story and to encourage young women and to give them hope," Mallette said, "not to make a controversial statement or to promote what I think other women should do."
Mallette is not the first celebrity's mom to become embroiled in abortion controversy. New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother appeared in a 2010 Super Bowl commercial sponsored by a Christian conservative group that told of Pam Tebow's decision to keep her baby even though doctors urged her to terminate the pregnancy. The ad drew criticism from women's groups nationally.
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