Coming to theatres today, Friday, August 12: ABORTION: STORIES WOMEN TELL
Tracy Droz Tragos’ intimate exploration of women’s feelings on a divisive issue had its world premiere at Tribeca earlier this year. It also screened at AFI Docs, San Francisco DocFest, and the San Francisco Jewish film festivals.
As denoted by its subtitle, Tragos’ film is focused primarily on personal stories, even as it addresses the inescapable political and religious sentiments that accompany any consideration of the reproductive rights debate. Grounding her project in Missouri, due to that state’s restrictive laws, the filmmaker follows women who must make a long journey across the border to seek help in Illinois, while also profiling those who work in reproductive health, and, notably, others who have made it their mission to do away with abortion rights altogether. What emerges is a deeply compassionate multiperspectival portrait of the impact of abortion on these individuals lives, from a clinic’s non-nonsense security officer contending with daily irritation from pro-life protestors to a financial-strapped working mother in the process of ending her third pregnancy. Anti-abortion activists are offered respectful space to air their convictions, but their purely religiously-motivated arguments are unlikely to sway their opponents, who are instead influenced by a wider range of factors, systemic inequities encompassing class, race, education, and, most significantly, gender.