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Let’s Talk About the Most Horrific Moment of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (That Didn’t Involve Rudy Giuliani)

Borat and Tutar speak with a pastor at a crisis pregnancy center.

There were a lot of horrifying moments in Borat Subsequent Movie Film. That’s kind of the whole point of the movie, after all—to put these characters in situations of extreme conflict and see what they reveal about the real-life unwitting participants.

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Occasionally, those moments reveal some genuine human kindness. More often, though, that conflict brings out the awfulness in people. Like when some pro-gun protesters were tricked into gleefully participating in a racist singalong, and also when some of them started to catch on:

And of course, a lot of attention has rightfully been paid to what Rudy Giuliani revealed about himself when he was left alone in a hotel room with Maria Bakalova, the actress playing Tutar, Borat’s (Sacha Baron Cohen) daughter, whom Giuliani believes is 15. (Baklova is 24.)

It’s obvious why this scene, featuring one of Donald Trump’s top attorneys and advisors apparently fondling himself in the presence of someone he believes to be a teenager, was the one to make headlines. But it wasn’t the scene that had me yelling the loudest at my television. For me, that scene involved one of the most insidious institutions in America today: the crisis pregnancy center.

In the movie, Borat buys his daughter a cupcake with a small toy baby on top of the frosting, the kind of thing you’d see at a baby shower. Tutar is so excited that she accidentally eats the toy and her father takes her to find a doctor who can “take it out.”

But the two don’t end up seeing a doctor. They end up at the Carolina Women’s Health Center, which is not a clinic where abortions are performed or where any reproductive medical counseling is offering. It’s a crisis pregnancy center, which has one singular function, and that is to convince women not to have abortions, by any means necessary.

These centers often have names designed to trick people into thinking they provide abortion services, and they’re often set up very close to actual abortion clinics. Sometimes they set up vans outside actual clinics and try to lure women in with promises of convenient service, only to do everything they can to talk (and scare) those women out of having an abortion. They use scripts that are full of misinformation designed to scare women and they are not staffed with medical professionals, but usually religious personnel.

In Tutar’s case, she meets with Pastor Jonathan Bright, who tells her that she absolutely cannot have the “baby”—which he understands to be an actual fetus—taken out. Not even when Borat admits that he, her father, “was the one who put the baby in her.”

“You don’t need to feel bad,” Bright tells this man who he believes has impregnated his own teenage daughter.

That clip ends with Bright really having it sink in that he’s hearing about a case of incest but where the scene goes from there is so much worse.

“I wanted to give my daughter a treat—” Borat says in his defense.

Bright cuts him off, trying to get him to stop talking. “I understand,” he says. “I don’t need to hear any more of that, I understand.”

“Look at that face,” Borat continues as Tutar beams. “How could I not give it to her?”

“I understand,” Bright says, seemingly flustered but still choosing to die on this hill. “Really, that is not important right now. We’re at this moment right now, it really doesn’t matter how we got to this moment.”

Borat and Tutar describe the thing that brought them there–the cupcake, but Bright fully believes they’re talking about incestuous rape resulting in pregnancy—as being their “little secret,” with Borat telling the pastor it took place “behind a dumpster so no one can see.”

All Bright has to say is that “God is the one who creates life and God doesn’t make accidents.”

Right now there are an estimated 2,300 to 3,500 crisis pregnancy centers operating in the US and that number is constantly growing. By contrast, there are only 1,800 abortion clinics, and that number is shrinking. These centers are deceptive, predatory, and totally unqualified to be talking to anyone about reproductive issues, let alone issues of abuse, which they clearly couldn’t care less about.

(image: screengrab)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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