National News

States Considering Bills That Would Require Students to Watch Videos on Development of Life in the Womb

An illustration depicts a human fetus in a womb. (Illustration: CNS/Emily Thompson)

WASHINGTON — A bill on the Tennessee governor’s desk would require public school students to watch a three-minute computer-generated video on fetal development.

The film, “Meet Baby Olivia,” is produced by the pro-life group, Live Action, which conducts undercover investigative reports on Planned Parenthood and abortion facilities. When the group released the movie three years ago, it said the “computer-generated 3D animation uses motion capture technology of real human movement, allowing this video to reveal the undeniable humanity of preborn children.”

In the film, which can be viewed here:, a narrator introduces Olivia and describes the animated figure’s motions and movements. The animated video depicts fetal life from conception through different phases of development. Opponents have criticized it, saying it is medically inaccurate.

Prior to its release three years ago, Live Action founder and president Lila Rose, a Catholic convert, said the organization was “working to making sure” this film would be seen by as many people as possible to illustrate unborn life at stake in the then-upcoming abortion debate at the Supreme Court, Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization.

And since it was released, it has certainly caught the attention of some state legislators who have named legislation requiring public school students to see this film, or something like it, in their sex education curricula, Baby Olivia bills.

Last year, North Dakota’s governor signed a Baby Olivia law, requiring students to see the Baby Oliva film or something similar to it. 

Tennessee lawmakers in the House passed the “Meet Baby Olivia Act” in March and the Senate passed it a month later.

In a statement, Rose applauded the Tennessee state legislature for passing the measure that she called “a crucial step toward educating students about the amazing process of human development in the womb.”

She also said she looks forward to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee “swiftly signing this bill into law, setting a precedent for other states to follow in prioritizing comprehensive education on human development.”

Similar legislation is currently being considered in Iowa, Kentucky, and Missouri. It was introduced in West Virginia this year but failed to pass.

In an April 5 newsletter, the Iowa Catholic Conference urged Catholic Iowans to send a message to their senators in support of the Baby Olivia bill, saying it would “ensure students can see the miracle of life and how it develops in the womb. It will show the humanity of the unborn child.” House lawmakers passed the measure in late February.

The Iowa bill says the video shown to students should be “comparable to the Meet Baby Olivia video developed by Live Action.”

Missouri would require the Baby Olivia video to be shown by the third grade, while Kentucky’s proposal allows any video that meets the standards to be presented as early as sixth grade.

Live Action says their film was made in collaboration with a panel of medical doctors, but critics say the video is misleading in its portrayal of when life begins and when a heartbeat can be heard.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a professional organization with over 60,000 members, has described the video as something “designed to manipulate the emotions of viewers.”

Rose said she believes objection to the film is driven by abortion rights advocates who don’t want imagery of life in the womb shown because it “directly threatens their worldview, which is that this is not a life that is worthy of protection.”