From “Plan B” to “Grandma,” 5 abortion road trip movies that reflect our frustrating reality

From buddy comedies to dramas, movies focused on abortion barriers tell a story that shouldn’t need to be told


Last week, Hulu's "Plan B" became the latest movie to focus on the complex, stigmatizing and sexist barriers to reproductive care, which are especially difficult for young people. In Natalie Morales' directorial debut, two South Dakota high school students, Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) and Lupe (Victoria Morales) have 24 hours to find emergency contraception after Sunny's first sexual encounter. The problem is, the only pharmacist in their small hometown denies Sunny access to the pill citing the "conscience clause."

To be clear, emergency contraception is entirely different from abortion care, preventing rather than ending a pregnancy that's already underway. But other than that important distinction, "Plan B" continues a growing trend of movies in which seeking abortion or other reproductive care through tremendous cost, geographical and legislative barriers isn't just a subplot — it's the main storyline.


The slow, punishing arc of “The Handmaid’s Tale” mirrors our struggle for reproductive rights

The show’s repetition and lack of progress through four seasons feel achingly familiar – and maybe that's the point


After almost two years, Hulu's "Handmaid's Tale" returned for its fourth season in April, picking up right where it left off throughout its last three seasons of gratuitous violence with minimal plot payoff. Wednesday's episode follows June's escape from Gilead into refuge in Canada, as she will reunite with loved ones and figures from her past after years of separation and recycled plotlines.

Set in the fictional dystopia of Gilead, "The Handmaid's Tale" depicts America's future after a civil war and takeover by religious political extremists who relegate all women to "handmaids," or baby incubators for powerful men and their wives. Handmaids are denied access to education, or really any basic human rights or bodily autonomy, which has consistently helped the Hulu drama strike a chord amid ongoing, escalating attacks on reproductive rights in the U.S.


BBC’s ‘Three Families’ Shows How the Fight For Abortion Rights in the UK Continues

Sian Norris
14 May 2021

The BBC drama
Three Families told the story of the fight to decriminalise abortion in
Northern Ireland from the perspectives of three women, all based on real-life

The first focused on a mother who faced criminal prosecution for purchasing
abortion pills online for her 15-year-old daughter who was in an abusive
relationship. The second followed a woman whose baby had a fatal foetal
abnormality but was still forced to carry it to term. The final woman’s baby
also had a fatal foetal abnormality. She died in the womb and the mother was


Are we making progress in depicting abortion on screen?

Analysis of the past 60 years of how abortion has been portrayed in film and TV reveals how many negative tropes still endure.

13 MAY 2021

Although you might not naturally see similarities between BAFTA TV nominees I May Destroy You, Bridgerton, and the latest documentary from filmmaker Deeyah Khan, they all share a common thread in their depiction and discussion of abortion.

A study of the past 60 years of film and television shows how far we have come in stories that portray abortion, but also highlights the endurance of negative tropes that perpetuate misrepresentation and stigma.


Three Families review – a surface-level study of abortion anguish

Gwyneth Hughes’s drama about women affected by draconian anti-termination laws in Northern Ireland was emotive but ultimately superficial

Lucy Mangan
Mon 10 May 2021

It was only a couple of years ago, I’d warrant, that the majority of people in Great Britain became aware of the fact that, although the 1967 Abortion Act has permitted the termination of unwanted pregnancies for the past 50-odd years, its remit never extended to Northern Ireland. An extraordinary grassroots campaign (#RepealtheEighth) to give the country’s women the same rights that exist in England culminated in Westminster forcing the decriminalisation of the procedure in 2019.

Gwyneth Hughes’s drama Three Families (BBC One) began in 2013 and took in the situation at the time, and the fight for liberalisation of the law, through a series of personal rather than political lenses. The trio of narratives were based on Hughes’s interviews with three women whose lives were altered by the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.


N.Ireland – Three Families reveals true tales of ‘abortion’

Many of the best TV dramas have been inspired by real life events.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 9th May 2021

Later this week, BBC Two will broadcast Danny Boy, which tells the story of soldier Brian Wood, whose actions during the Iraq war were controversially called into question.

But BBC One gets in on the act early with a new two-part series (it concludes on Tuesday) originally entitled When It Happens To You, which was first announced back in 2019, just as Northern Ireland was about to make a momentous alteration to one of its laws.


‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Unpacks “Traumatizing” Abortion-Themed Episode

Madeline Brewer and showrunner Bruce Miller speak to The Hollywood Reporter about how the pandemic impacted some of their plans and why they are proud of the powerful story told in season four.

MAY 7, 2021

“I’m honored to tell this part of the story,” says Madeline Brewer.

The Handmaid’s Tale star, who has played Handmaid Janine since the beginning of the flagship Hulu drama, can’t quite recall when she found out that her character would be getting a flashback in the fourth season, which returned to streaming on April 28.


Writer of BBC drama Three Families ‘amazed’ at Northern Ireland’s abortion laws

Tom Horton
May 02 2021

The writer of a new drama which focuses on abortion in Northern Ireland has said she was "amazed" to discover how many women from the region travel to England to undergo the procedure.

Gwyneth Hughes' two-part series Three Families, starring Irish actress Sinead Keenan, is set between 2013 and 2019, and tells the true story of three women and their families before the recent change to legislation.


‘Pasya’ album destigmatising abortion in the Philippines features BP Valenzuela, members of The Buildings, Flying Ipis and more

NME talks to artists and organisers behind the eclectic compilation, which is out today

By Michael Beltran
30th April 2021

A number of Philippines artists, including BP Valenzuela and Aly Cabral of The Buildings, have joined forces on ‘Pasya’, a compilation advocating the destigmatisation and decriminalisation of abortion in the country.

Digitally released today (April 30), the 12-track album – whose title means ‘choice’ – is also a collaboration between several pro-choice and advocacy groups: It was spearheaded by the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) and is a collaboration with the Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network (PINSAN) and Filipino Freethinkers, with support from Safe Abortion Action Fund (SAAF) and Abortion Conversation Projects (ACP).


Philippines – This music album presents tales about abortion we need to understand

Because unsafe abortion is an issue of public health, human rights, and social justice

Published April 16, 2021
by John Legaspi

Humanity has been making things taboo for a handful of reasons. Often, these are things they don’t know much about. Sometimes, they do know some things about it but reject further information. In other cases, they are given unfair images about the subject. In the case of abortion, unfortunately, it ticks all the boxes.

In the past, we rarely saw good materials about abortion. People who try to speak about it are always met with judging eyes. But thanks to modern media and art, discussions about abortion have once again arisen. Who could forget about that abortion episode in “Sex Education” or that 2020 art exhibit “Abortion is Normal” in the US? Organizations like Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) and Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network (PINSAN) has been doing the same thing in the Philippines, particularly, in advocating for safe abortion.