Films such as Saint Frances and Obvious Child are showing that the subject need not be depicted with guilt and shame

Steve Rose
Mon 6 Jul 2020

There is nothing funny about the pro-choice v anti-abortion culture war that has been intensifying over the past few years, but comedy is proving to be a powerful weapon in it. To the extent that the phrase “abortion comedy” is no longer an oxymoron. You could well apply it to Alex Thompson’s new indie film Saint Frances, whose subject is a 34-year-old underachiever (Kelly O’Sullivan, who also wrote the movie) who hasn’t got her life together.

Becoming a nanny is a step forward; getting pregnant with a man she barely knows is a step back. She has no trouble getting a termination, but the film deals honestly with the aftermath, both physical (never has a film been less ashamed about menstruation) and emotional (even if her boyfriend has more issues about it than she does, which he writes down in his “feelings journal”). It does not treat the matter lightly, nor does it present a termination as something shocking or shaming or freighted with guilt.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/jul/06/saint-frances-how-a-new-wave-of-taboo-busting-comedies-are-tackling-abortion


Europe – Women turn to backstreet abortions during coronavirus

Women turn to backstreet abortions during coronavirus
(7 minute video)

Women across Europe are struggling to get abortions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

June 23, 2020

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/stories-53158162/coronavirus-women-denied-abortions-because-of-the-pandemic


India – Abortion is legal but coloured by prejudice: Malayalam short film ‘Aval’ shows you how

Abortion is legal but coloured by prejudice: Malayalam short film ‘Aval’ shows you how
The film is produced and co-written by a medical professional who says she has seen these violations happening for years.

Flix Cinema Monday, June 15, 2020 - 17:30
Sowmya Rajendran

Although India has fairly liberal laws when it comes to abortion, medical professionals are often hostile to women who approach them to get the procedure done. In cinema, too, abortion has been equated to murder far too many times. With the glorification of pregnancy and motherhood, this important reproductive right which gives women autonomy over their own bodies is demonised repeatedly.

A Malayalam short film called Aval, directed by Adarsh Kumar Aniyal (of Raven fame) and released on YouTube recently, presents the bitter truth about the issue. In the film, a young woman in an abusive marriage who did not want to keep her pregnancy, develops postpartum depression and ends up killing her child. Interestingly, the film has been produced and co-written by a medical professional, Dr Veena JS.

Continued: https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/abortion-legal-coloured-prejudice-malayalam-short-film-aval-shows-you-how-126592


El Salvador – These women say they had miscarriages. Now they’re in jail for abortion.

These women say they had miscarriages. Now they're in jail for abortion.

By Kate Smith, Gilad Thaler
May 28, 2020 / CBS News

Watch the CBS News Digital documentary "Jailed for Abortion in El Salvador" in the video player above. It premieres on CBSN tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Seven months pregnant, Manuela, a mother of two, said she miscarried at her modest home in rural El Salvador. But the police, and a judge, didn't believe her. They charged and convicted her for aggravated homicide, sentencing her to 30 years in prison.

But Manuela only served two of those years. In 2010, she died alone in a hospital of Hodgkin's lymphoma, a disease her lawyers say caused her to miscarry.

Continued: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/miscarriages-abortion-jail-el-salvador/


FX’s Jane Roe deathbed confession reveals the abortion lie at the heart of the religious right

FX's Jane Roe deathbed confession reveals the abortion lie at the heart of the religious right
The religious right worked to convince McCorvey that abortion was the great defining evil of our time. Then they used her story to push the same line on vulnerable Americans.

May 26, 2020
By Katherine Stewart

Since it has already made the news, let’s go ahead and spoil the film. Toward the end of FX’s “AKA Jane Roe,” we learn that anti-abortion activists used a pile of money and heavy doses of psychological manipulation to convert Norma McCorvey — the actual plaintiff in Roe v. Wade — into a trophy for their cause. The documentary makes for compelling viewing, especially in its final moments, when, McCorvey tells us that, to paraphrase Bob Seger, they used her, she used them, and neither one cared.

Continued: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/fx-s-jane-roe-deathbed-confession-reveals-abortion-lie-heart-ncna1214381


USA – The long fight for reproductive rights is only getting harder

The long fight for reproductive rights is only getting harder

Book review, By Katha Pollitt
May 13, 2020

Fifteen-year-old Talia didn’t realize she was pregnant until well into her second trimester. Ending the pregnancy meant she had to get a judge’s approval. Neither parent could fulfill her state’s consent requirement because one was missing and the other was involved in her life only now and then. When she arranged a clinic visit 24 hours before the abortion, per the state law for minors, she wound up at a “fake women’s health center” next door to the real abortion clinic. The people there did everything they could to dissuade her from ending her pregnancy, including falsely telling her that they would do it later (past her state’s deadline), but Talia remained firm in her decision. Lacking health insurance that covered abortion, she had to come up with $4,000 for the procedure.

Continued: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-long-fight-for-reproductive-rights-is-only-getting-harder/2020/05/12/2fda9f2a-8326-11ea-878a-86477a724bdb_story.html


Never Rarely Sometimes Always review – profoundly moving abortion drama

Never Rarely Sometimes Always review - profoundly moving abortion drama
Eliza Hittman’s coming-of-age story about a US teenager seeking a termination is heartbreaking and painfully authentic

Mark Kermode
Sun 10 May 2020

From Eliza Hittman, the remarkable writer-director of It Felt Like Love and Beach Rats, comes another drama that manages to blend the gritty authenticity of a documentary with the poetic sensibility of pure cinema. In her impressively measured and beautifully understated third feature, Hittman tells an oft-hidden story of reproductive rights – an age-old issue that has urgent contemporary relevance. Yet Never Rarely Sometimes Always never feels polemical. On the contrary, it is perhaps best described as a perfectly observed portrait of female friendship; a coming-of-age story with road-movie inflections, piercingly honest and deeply affecting.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/may/10/never-rarely-sometimes-always-review-profoundly-moving-abortion-drama-eliza-hittman-sidney-flanigan


Canada – 50 years after the Abortion Caravan protests, Karin Wells retraces their steps on virtual book tour

50 years after the Abortion Caravan protests, Karin Wells retraces their steps on virtual book tour

By: Ryan Porter
May 8th, 2020

The timing was perfect – until it wasn’t. Journalist Karin Wells planned to mark the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Caravan, a group of activists who drove across Canada from Vancouver to Ottawa protesting anti-abortion laws, with a book tour that mirrored the stops made by the caravan in 1970. Her history of the protest, The Abortion Caravan: When Women Shut Down the Government in the Battle for the Right to Choose (Second Story Press), was published April 21.

When COVID-19 made travel impossible, Wells and Second Story put together a plan to salvage the tour. Wells recorded six videos of herself in her home in Port Hope, Ontario, speaking about the Caravan. Each video was tailored to the challenges the women encountered in six specific cities. Those videos were then released in partnership with the independent bookstore which was originally slated to host Wells’s reading.

Continued: https://quillandquire.com/omni/50-years-after-the-abortion-caravan-protests-karin-wells-retraces-their-steps-on-virtual-book-tour/


USA – How two recent films are changing the conversation around abortion

How two recent films are changing the conversation around abortion

By Angie Han
May 6, 2020

For Bridget, the heroine of Saint Frances, abortion was never a question.

"I'm for sure getting rid of it," she tells her not-quite-boyfriend, Jace, shutting down his tentative suggestion they discuss their options. To Bridget, the answer is obvious. Indeed, it may be the only obvious answer she encounters over the course of the movie, which sees her stumbling almost by accident into a romance, a nannying gig, and a life-changing bond with her employers over the course of a summer.

In and of itself, Bridget's decision isn't so unusual — about one in four women will have an abortion by age 45, according to the Guttmacher Institute. What is notable, about both Saint Frances and another recent film, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, is how the choice to have an abortion is portrayed.

Continued: https://mashable.com/article/never-rarely-sometimes-always-saint-frances-abortion-movies/


Why We Need Literature on Abortion

Why We Need Literature on Abortion
In this excerpt from Choice Words, Annie Finch's anthology of abortion poems, stories, and essays, she reflects on how literature on abortion is necessary on both a personal level and a larger societal one.

May 1, 2020
Annie Finch

I had an abortion in 1999.

Searching for literature to help me absorb my experience, I realized that I had rarely read anything about abortion (and I have a Ph.D. in literature). I was astounded to discover that there was no major literary anthology about one of the most profound experiences in my life and that of millions of others. A physical, psychological, moral, spiritual, political, and cultural reality that navigates questions of life and death, abortion should be one of the great themes of literature.

My anthology, Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, which was published recently, was the result of the 20-year search that grew out of this initial sense of shock and loss.

continued: https://rewire.news/article/2020/05/01/why-we-need-literature-on-abortion/