Tribeca Film Festival documentary sheds new light on abortion debate in United state

GMT 00:25 2016 Sunday ,24 April

Arab Today, arab today Tribeca Film Festival documentary sheds new light on abortion debate in United state

Tracy Droz Tragos
New York - XINHUA

Amie Jo Guinn finds herself pregnant, unexpectedly. Being a single mother who lives in the U.S. state of Missouri, she works nearly 90 hours per week as a bartender to support her two children.

"There is no way I can physically carry a baby and work," she said. After many sleepless nights with tears and struggle, she decided to get an abortion.

She drove herself to an abortion clinic, the only remaining one in the state due to law restrictions. Outside the clinic, protesters on megaphones yelled "evil" at her, holding poster board with bloody pictures of dead fetus.

This is a scene from "Abortion: Stories Women Tell," a documentary that sheds new light on the controversial issue, with a focus not on the debate, but rather on the women themselves: those struggling with unplanned pregnancies, the providers who give medical care, as well as the protesters.

The film, premiered this week at Tribeca Film Festival in New York, is described by many reviewers as "the first non-political movie about abortion" in the United States.

"My intention was to add a different perspective to the abortion debate," the film's director Tracy Droz Tragos said in a recent interview.

She said she intended "not only to hear from the loudest, who have their talking points perfected, but also to hear from those who have been the most left out of the conversation, and often stigmatized and shamed: women with unintended pregnancies who are abortion patients."

In the United States, abortion has been one of the most divisive topics in culture and politics.

In the past five years, Americans have been fairly evenly divided in their association with the two abortion labels: "pro-choice" or "pro-life," according to a poll released by U.S. consulting firm Gallup last year. The two terms respectively refers to advocating legalized abortion or opposing it.

In early 2000s, 84 percent of state Democratic platforms supported the right to having an abortion while 88 percent of state Republican platforms opposed it.

Among the heated discussions nationwide, voices of women who should be mostly involved are mostly unheard.

"I'm neither pro-choice nor pro-life; those labeled things are so stuck," a woman named Chaunci recalls her abortion experience in the film.

She said she didn't feel it was an option for her. "We individuals have to make those choices for ourselves."

Yet women like Chaunci and Amie are facing more and more obstacles in making their own choices, as abortion issue becomes increasingly politicized year by year in the country.

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme court decision Roe v. Wade gave every woman the right to have an abortion. However, since 2011, over half the states in the nation have significantly restricted access to abortions.

Moreover, hundreds of abortion clinics have been forced to closure in the past few years. Missouri, the state where Chaunci and Amie lives, has only one clinic left.

The issue has also been highly on the agenda of the undergoing U.S. presidential elections. Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, said openly last month that women who seek abortions should be subject to "some form of punishment" in the country.

Critics argue that with conservatives threatening to "punish" women who choose abortion, "women's bodies have become a metaphorical war zone this election season," thus a documentary that respectfully looks into the perspective of individual women is sorely needed.

Trump's words also overlooked the fact that at least half of the women in America will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45.

Doctor Erin King Eisenberg, who works at the abortion clinic in Missouri, said in the documentary that "We have patients all the time, and they came here because they need us, whether because of social-economic problems, or because of health problems, they had no choice."

"I was not healthy enough ... so I had to do what I had to do to survive," said Rebecca, sharing her abortion story in front of the camera, with tears in her eyes.

Tragos said that with its intimate look at the real lives of real women, this film might "move the debate, even just a bit, out of the realm of rhetoric, away from ideology, to a place of empathy and compassion for every woman who faces this important and intensely personal decision."

Source: XINHUA

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