I was one of the many people in the United States who were filled with rage when Roe v. Wade was overturned. But even before then, many states propagated an oppressive regime on women’s bodies. Unpregnant was inspired by this regime, and would no doubt piss off a lot of FOX News watchers.
In the film’s opening scene, Veronica’s pregnancy test reads Positive. Her mother’s a staunch conservative, her friends are gossipy mean girls, and in her home state of Missouri, one needs to get parental consent to abort a baby. To make matters worse, her dullard boyfriend Kevin, upon hearing the news of said pregnancy, proposes to her. She’s definitely not feeling that.
Her only recourse is her former best friend, Bailey, with whom she had a falling out prior to joining the popular clique while Bailey become more of my kind of person, the green-haired, gothish loner. She begs Bailey to drive her to New Mexico, the closest state that treats women like people. On the trip, they have some wacky adventures. One includes being “kidnapped” by a pro-life couple in Texas; they lure the two girls into their car by promising them a ride to Albuquerque.
This encounter intersects with a brief romantic interlude, as Bailey, a closeted lesbian, finds herself attracted to Kira, a female race car driver, and they share a tender moment. The filmmakers wisely decide not to have the two pursue a relationship, as it wouldn’t fit the story. Rather, their brief encounter feels true to life. They’re attracted to other, enjoy a moment, and then part ways amicably.
The girls have a choice between Kira and this couple, and upon spotting the couple’s baby carriage, Veronica instinctively chooses the latter. This made me think of the story of Colleen Stan, a hitchhiker who, in 1977, was kidnapped by a couple who looked “safe” because they were traveling as a family, baby and all. These social norms can be dangerous.
At any rate, they do escape them and encounter a conspiracy theorist, who drives them to Albuquerque (he’s played by Gioncarlo Esposito, who I’ll always know as Gus Fring from Breaking Bad). And they bond.
So how does this qualify as a pro-single movie? First, it’s supportive of those who are Childfree by Choice. Bailey was raised by a single mother; Dad walked out because he didn’t want kids yet made that compromise. Rotten move, dude! If you don’t want kids, don’t be involved with someone who does! There’s a subtext of “if you’re Childfree by Choice, be Childfree by Choice.”
Additionally, Kevin, the boyfriend, is painted as a nitwit and a Stage Five Clinger. There are two occasions in which he finds the girls during the trip and begs Veronica to go through with the baby and marry him. Wisely, she says no. Her romantic interlude is even more subtle than Bailey’s; she makes flirty eyes with a young Black cowboy in Oklahoma who gives them a ride, but nothing comes from it. Again, true to life.
I found the DVD of Unpregnant at the Tenley-Friendship Library, where I had gone to write before a meetup I was hosting with a Childfree group. I had read about the movie, but it never appeared on any of my streaming platforms, so you can imagine the ecstasy I felt upon seeing it. I later showed them the DVD and explained the plot, which had them intrigued. I love synchronicity!