When director Jon Erwin and his brother Andrew decided to make a film about an abortion survivor, they knew they’d have to handle the topic with incredible tact and sensitivity. They succeeded.
The concept for October Baby had its genesis when the men heard the testimony of Gianna Jessen. “I didn’t even know there was such a thing as an abortion survivor,” Andrew says.
Like most other abortion survivors, Jessen today suffers from cerebral palsy and other health issues but leads a productive life as a Nashville-based singer. Her mother attempted to abort Gianna in the late second trimester, but the procedure failed. Gianna was rescued and later was adopted.
Rachel Hendrix stars as Hannah, a 19-year-old college student whose story is modeled after Jessen’s. When she confronts her adoptive parents about her health problems and nightmares, they tell her the truth and she sets out in a Volkswagen van with three friends to find her birth mother.
“I want discussion to happen from this film, and I want people to really start talking about what abortion is,” says Shari Rigby, who plays Cindy, the birth mother in the film. “I want to see women—and men—healed, to know they are forgiven and to be released from that secret that has been holding many of them captive for years.”
October Baby opened in theaters in late March and also features Jasmine Guy (A Different World) and John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard TV Series); the soundtrack includes Francesca Battistelli.