Seeing Abortion Laws From a Teenager’s Point of View
Eliza Hittman explains how she came to make her timely odyssey “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” the unusual movie about abortion rights that makes bureaucracy the villain.
By Reggie Ugwu
April 3, 2020
Before writing her new movie, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” about the odyssey of a 17-year-old girl in present-day Pennsylvania seeking a legal abortion, the director Eliza Hittman embarked on a journey of her own. Hittman makes movies of quietly operatic intensity about vulnerable characters in unremarkable places. To find their narratives, she begins in the field, exploring prospective locations like a sculptor wandering a quarry.
Hittman, who is 40 and lives in Brooklyn, traveled by bus to a blue-collar town in Pennsylvania, where state law forbids minors from receiving an abortion without a parent’s consent. There, she toured so-called crisis pregnancy centers, which counsel against abortion regardless of circumstance, and posed as a woman who feared she might be pregnant and needed advice.