USA – My Body No Choice: taking the fight for abortion rights to the stage

A new stage production tells the stories of women and their bodily autonomy, or lack thereof, as part of the fight to reverse the supreme court decision to restrict abortion

David Smith
Thu 27 Oct 2022

Theirs was a secret space. In the early 1970s, Molly Smith and her sister Bridget attended weekly women’s consciousness-raising sessions in a friend’s living room near Washington’s Catholic University. They read books such as Our Bodies, Ourselves, a groundbreaking text about women’s health and sexuality. Sitting on cushions, the circle of women listened to one another, laughed and cried and shared their deepest secrets.

“Women needed spaces where they could be open, where they could be uncompromising, where they could speak about the beginnings of their feminism, where they could speak about their stories around their bodies without shame,” Smith, now 70, recalls by phone. “A lot of women didn’t understand their bodies at all.


Review: A 1960s underground abortion network in ‘Call Jane’

By Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
Posted Oct 26, 2022

In Phyllis Nagy’s “Call Jane,” Joy (Elizabeth Banks) is a 1960s housewife married to a defense attorney (Chris Messina) with a teenage daughter (Grace Edwards) and a baby on the way. A heart condition, though, threatens her life in childbirth. The only treatment, her doctor tells her, is “to not be pregnant.”

When they, acting on the doctor’s advice, appeal to the hospital’s board for permission to conduct a therapeutic termination, this critical moment in Joy’s life passes curtly. The all-male board members discuss it briefly while not acknowledging Joy, across the table. “No regard for her mother?” she asks. Their votes sound the answer. “No.” “No.” “No.”


Canada – The fight for reproductive justice is an abolitionist struggle

Review | October 3, 2022
by Maya Campo
Abortion to Abolition: Reproductive Health and Justice in Canada by Martha Paynter (Fernwood, 2022).

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, reproductive rights are coming under increasing attack. However, the mainstream political discourse about reproductive rights and access to abortion too often narrows this discussion in a way that replicates systemic oppression and white supremacy.  

Martha Paynter’s new book, Abortion to Abolition, aims to recentre the discussion around a framework of reproductive justice, which Paynter highlights as being developed by women of colour. Paynter takes an intersectional approach to the abortion rights, presenting case studies that highlight systemic issues of colonialism, homophobia and transphobia, racism, and classism that infringe upon reproductive rights in Canada.


Disability & Abortion: The Hardest Choice review – this intelligent documentary deserved two episodes

It’s a moving and nuanced exploration of the law on terminating pregnancies involving foetal abnormalities. But this show needed another instalment to really do justice to its topic

Frances Ryan
Mon 22 Aug 2022

In the opening scenes of Disability and Abortion: The Hardest Choice (Channel 4) we are getting to know our hosts, the actors Ruth Madeley and Ruben Reuter. Reuter, who has Down’s syndrome, is loved up with his girlfriend and enjoying his own flat. Madeley, who has spina bifida, goes for cocktails with the girls and has a Bafta nomination. The purpose is clear: any viewer who believes that the lives of disabled people are not worth living should re-evaluate their prejudice. It is an important, albeit simplified, point and in many ways sums up the challenge ahead for the film-makers: boiling a highly complex ethical debate into a one-hour mainstream vehicle.


Angry Annie’ Review: A Stirring French Abortion Drama Driven By a Spirit of Feminist Solidarity

Blandine Lenoir's engrossing period drama stars the terrific Laure Calamy as a working mother joining an underground abortion network.

By Guy Lodge

Aug 12,

The fashions, fabrics and eye-crossingly patterned wallpapers of the 1970s
abound in “Angry Annie,” a French period piece practically painted in avocado
green and Le Creuset orange, with hand-crocheted accessories for good measure.
Would that the rest of Blandine Lenoir’s rousing abortion drama felt quite so
dated. Instead, in a year where the overturning of Roe v. Wade signifies a
major step back in the collective fight for women’s reproductive rights, this
story of women banding together to assert their bodily autonomy in an age of
sexual revolution feels all too timely: not merely a compelling reminder of how
things were, but a warning of how they could yet be.


Why Hollywood keeps getting abortion wrong

This researcher interviewed dozens of writers, creators, and showrunners about onscreen abortion. Here’s what she learned.

By Alissa Wilkinson
Aug 9, 2022

We’re a screen-soaked culture, and that means that what we see on TV and in movies often serves as a framework to look at the world around us. That’s certainly true for abortion. It’s still rare to see an abortion depicted, and even more rare to see it in a situation that matches the circumstances of most abortions in America; research has found that the most common abortion patient is a low-income, unmarried young mother, without a college degree, who is seeking her first abortion. The majority of abortion patients in America are non-white.

Yet that’s not the average depiction. And this affects not just what people think about abortion, but how viewers treat people who seek abortions, as well as how they think about public policy.


Why authentic abortion stories in TV and film are a sign of the times in post-Roe era

Hollywood has rich history of abortion storytelling, according to researcher

Jenna Benchetrit · CBC News
Aug 06, 2022

In 2004, a Canadian TV show made headlines for a controversial episode in which a pregnant teenage girl decides, much to her boyfriend's distress, to get an abortion. Her mother drives her to the clinic.

Yes, it was Degrassi: The Next Generation — and the infamous episode, entitled Accidents Will Happen, was postponed for American viewers after a U.S. cable channel decided to pull it before it could air.


USA – 39 Celebrities Who Have Had Abortions—And Spoken Out About Them

They're among the one in four women who will get abortions in their lifetimes.

By Jenny Singer
June 13, 2022

Abortion is a human right. Abortion is basic health care. Celebrities who have had abortions and spoken out about them are in good company among the one in four women who will get abortions in their lifetime.

Abortion should be no more stigmatized than any other medical decision. But as the Supreme Court looks poised to roll back Roe v. Wade after 50 years of legal abortions, the ongoing crisis of abortion access is becoming even more of an emergency. “Celebrities today regularly reveal the details of their drug addictions, sexual obsessions, marital infidelities—but no celebrity in recent memory has admitted to ending a pregnancy,” Susan Dominus wrote in Glamour in 2005.

Abortion Politics, Money and the Reshaping of the G.O.P.

In “Dollars for Life,” Mary Ziegler argues that, over the course of decades, the anti-abortion movement laid the groundwork for an insurgent candidate like Donald Trump.

By Jennifer Szalai
June 12, 2022

DOLLARS FOR LIFE: The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment, By Mary Ziegler. 318 pages. Yale University Press. $35.

The upheavals of the last few years have been so relentless that it can be hard to recall just how weird the partnership was: Donald J. Trump and social conservatives, an odd couple for the ages. As the legal historian Mary Ziegler writes in “Dollars for Life,” the start of the 2016 election cycle had evangelicals extremely worried. Hillary Clinton — whose possible presidency they deemed “catastrophic” — was running on what Ziegler calls “arguably the most pro-choice platform in history.” Could a “foul-mouthed real estate mogul” really turn out to be “the savior they were looking for”?


‘These women are not victims’ – Paula Rego’s extraordinary Abortion series

The artist blazed into Portugal’s 1998 abortion
referendum with powerful images of women in backstreet clinics. But there is no
blood, no gore – just feeling. The works may have helped swing a later vote

Hettie Judah
Thu 9 Jun 2022

In 1998, the year of a Portuguese referendum debate on abortion, Paula Rego
poured her fierce, formidable passion into 10 large paintings set in backstreet
abortion clinics. These were a direct gesture of protest at the cruelty of
anti-abortion laws. Focused on individual women positioned on single beds in
improvised operating theatres, the paintings of the Abortion series are so dark
and claustrophobic that you can almost feel the heat and stickiness, and smell
the adrenal sweat.

Rego pulls the focus of the abortion debate back to the woman’s experience.
There is no blood, no gore, no biological nastiness to see here: this is all
about feeling, both physical and psychological. First-hand discussion of
abortion remains taboo even 24 years later – Rego’s works carry us into the
heart of this unseen, unspoken terrain.