Breaking the Silence Around Abortion
August 12, 2019
American discourse has changed radically in the past decade around a number of social issues.
And yet, there is one topic that, while high on the list of divisive issues that get people riled up, remains shrouded in shame and secrecy. When it comes to reproductive rights, and specifically abortion, conversations, when they happen, typically exist on a theoretical plane. The reasons women (and other people capable of getting pregnant) don't disclose their abortions are in many ways obvious: it's a highly personal medical decision loaded with cultural baggage, and sharing that you had one can lead to dire consequences. It's relatively rare for women to tell even each other about their abortions. This of course isn't true for everyone — some people are more open than others. But the social stigma remains, and whether in deeply conservative communities or supposedly woke circles, talking about your abortion is taboo.
What You Need To Know About The Controversial Abortion Method Featured In OITNB
July 27, 2019
The seventh and final season of Orange Is The New Black is live on Netflix, and considering many people will be binge-watching it this weekend, we need to talk about the abortion plot in episode 11. (Spoilers ahead.)
In that episode towards the end of the season, Chaj, a Guatemalan woman in Litchfield's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holding pen, is desperately trying to communicate, but no one understands Ki'che, the indigenous language she speaks. She eventually ends up in the medical unit sobbing, with severe abdominal pain and period spotting, where she's finally granted a translator. It's revealed then that she was raped, so she drank an herbal tea made with parsley in an attempt to have an abortion.
Panorama, America’s Abortion War: A nuanced look at both sides of the debate
Review: A documentary on the fights to keep and outlaw abortion in the US south
July 23, 2019
It’s just over a year since the Eighth Amendment was repealed and the Republic began catching up with most of the rest of the world in terms of access to abortion. Panorama, America’s Abortion War (BBC One) is a reminder of the tumult we have left behind.
Hilary Andersson’s documentary avoids the obvious pitfall of smug Europeans lecturing Bible-thumping Americans on how to run their affairs. Instead, this is a nuanced overview of an issue that serves as a prism for the US’s culture wars. Campaigners on both sides obviously regard abortion as a matter of black and white. Andersson’s mission is to interrogate the myriad of greys she discerns in the middle.
TV Has Shifted Our Cultural Perception of Who Has Abortions
by Rachel Charlene Lewis
Published on July 2, 2019
Television has often afforded abortion a nuance that politicians miss, allowing viewers to better understand the procedure and empathize with characters who terminate their pregnancies. In 2015, the Advancing New Standards In Reproductive Health (ANSIRH)’s Abortion Onscreen Project found 78 storylines on American TV between 2005 and 2014 where a character considered having an abortion. (Fifty-one percent of those characters decided to have an abortion.) While an increase in abortion storylines might feel like a positive shift, ANSIRH also found that 87 percent of onscreen characters who get abortions were white compared to 36 percent in real life.
“The majority of people who have abortions are people of color,” Renee Bracey Sherman, founder of We Testify, a National Network of Abortion Funds’ program for people who’ve had abortions, tells Bitch. “So when television and film aren’t representing us, not only is it inaccurate, but it’s also showing us that our stories don’t matter and aren’t the norm.”
From TV to Real Life: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Co-Producer Discusses Women’s Rights Issues
By Bonnie Azoulay
When Wendy Straker Hauser started working as a co-producer on The Handmaid’s Tale, Donald Trump hadn’t yet won the presidency. She was just as shocked as viewers watching the show when they discovered how accurately Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel mimicked the politics unfolding in real time. Until I spoke to Hauser, I assumed that some of the events portrayed on the TV series were altered to reflect what was happening in modern-day America. But before it streamed on Hulu, the show was produced and shot months before she or her crew could have a chance to change any scenes to mirror current events.
Not Your Grandmother’s Illegal Abortion
By Jennifer Block
July 1, 2019
The sola variety of papaya resembles a pregnant uterus, so much so that around the world, humans use the fruit to learn one method of modern reproductive health care: manual vacuum aspiration, or MVA, a low-risk, low-tech method of first-trimester abortion that requires little or no anesthesia. As one doctor remarked at a conference in 1973, where the technology was introduced to physicians from around the world, “it’s something we will be able to bring practically into the rice paddy.”
This, too, is the fruit I have been given to practice on. I’ve placed it on a table across from me, and I’m focused on the neck, where its stem grew, which evokes the cervical os. The tool I’m using is a large plastic syringe with a bendable plastic strawlike thing, called a cannula, where the needle would be. At the top of the syringe is a bivalve to create one-way suction.
Mothers who have abortions: what to do with TV’s third rail?
Most women who terminate a pregnancy are already mothers – but we rarely see that on screen. Australian comedy The Letdown is the latest show to tackle the taboo
Lauren Carroll Harris
Tue 11 Jun 2019
“We got a beautiful email from a viewer last week,” says Sarah Scheller, co-creator of the ABC’s The Letdown. “It said, ‘That was my scenario. I can’t believe I just saw it on screen.’”
Women who have abortions are only just now beginning to see themselves depicted on screens, but for a certain subgroup – women who are already mothers when they decide to terminate – the taboo is stronger than ever.
At SIFF, a day in the life of doctors who provide abortions
The documentary ‘Our Bodies, Our Doctors’ profiles women’s health professionals in the Pacific Northwest.
By Brangien Davis
May 28, 2019
A day in the life of an abortion provider usually starts in a parking lot. She gets out of her car, slings a purse and maybe a lunch bag over her shoulder, and walks toward a nondescript building. She might greet a protester on the way in, might note the giant baby photo on the side of a box truck parked in deliberate view. She passes through the clinic doors, where a circular sticker bears the image of a black handgun with a red slash across it. Once inside, the doctor joins her team of receptionists, medical assistants and nurses, and prepares for the first patient.
Behind the headlines, behind the legal battles, behind the politics, protests and posters are the people who go to work every day to provide women with family-planning services, including contraception and abortion.
Abortion Protests Come To Cannes
By Jamie Samhan
May 18, 2019
Ahead of the premiere of abortion documentary “Let It be Law (Que Sea Ley)” from Argentine director Juan Solanas at Cannes, 60 women gathered to protest the anti-abortion laws across the world.
The women from Argentina waved green flags and signs (green is the colour of the pro-choice movement in Argentina). The protest was against a rejection of a law in Argentina to legalize abortion but is very similar to what the United States is currently facing.
Hollywood rarely tells the truth about abortion. ‘Little Woods’ is different.
By Renee Bracey Sherman
April 23, 2019
Pop culture has made some progress since 1956, when an addition to the Motion Picture Production Code that governed Hollywood movie-making declared, “The subject of abortion shall be discouraged, shall never be more than suggested, and, when referred to, shall be condemned.” But even by contemporary standards, in which characters are allowed to have abortions and movies can depict those decisions positively, Nia DaCosta’s debut feature film, “Little Woods,” is a politically urgent revelation.
Rather than making the decision to have an abortion the major source of tension in the film, DaCosta starkly depicts the sacrifices that families make to afford health care, dramatizing the recent onslaught of restrictions on abortion. And her character’s choices place abortion in conversation with our national debate about opioid addiction and drug trafficking to illuminate these well-worn subjects in new ways.