Women Health

Abortion and Girls’s Rights in 1970: A Movie

screenshot from 1970 film on abortion and women's rights

By Judy Norsigian |

In these scary instances, with the Supreme Court docket poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s extra necessary than ever to know the historical past of abortion and the devastating selections ladies face once they can’t entry secure and authorized abortion care.

In 1971, when abortion was unlawful in all however just a few states, a bunch of ladies got here collectively to make a documentary movie. The movie, the primary from the attitude of ladies who had had or sought an abortion, has been restored, and final Thursday it was screened as a part of a digital fundraiser for Deliberate Parenthood of Northern New England. It’s now accessible on YouTube, for all to see. (You’ll find citations for the movie right here.)

In introducing the movie final night time, Jane Pincus, one of many filmmakers and a founding member of Our Our bodies Ourselves, spoke in regards to the harrowing experiences of ladies who had unlawful abortions and the context of the instances. Her remarks are under.

We created our movie in 1970, within the early days of the ‘second wave’ of the ladies’s motion in Boston. Many people had been concerned within the civil rights and anti-war actions.  Girls who had by no means met collectively started to hitch uniquely ladies’s teams, speaking about {our relationships}, our efforts to regulate our reproductive lives, our work. We found that we shared our issues and life conditions with others; that what had appeared private and particular person was extra wide-ranging; that social, governmental and financial techniques oppressing ladies needed to be modified. The instances swept us up. We advised our tales, felt a brand new energy and optimism. We shared the conviction that we might change the world. We stepped up our marching and demonstrating at rallies. We carried out road theater, joined in neighborhood organizing efforts and commenced talking out at authorities hearings.

In 1969, a public radio broadcast galvanized me once I heard the voices of ladies testifying on the State Home telling about their harrowing abortion experiences. The male legislators current within the room responded heartlessly and had no clue as to all that girls need to endure. It stays an unnerving truth: When abortions are unlawful, too many ladies find yourself with an infection or so-called ‘septic abortions’ in hospitals. They are often maimed for all times, or die. This was completely unacceptable. Within the mild of this information, within the political local weather of the instances what might we do?

In reply, six of us [Jane, Sue Jhirad, Catha Maslow, Janet MurrayMary Summers, and Karen Weinstein] met to make a movie about abortion and its place within the vary of our must resolve about our reproductive lives. We wished to make public and clear the outrages stemming from ladies’s lack of selection. As soon as phrase went out about our plans, audiotapes of ladies telling their tales appeared – nearly by magic, with out our asking. We 4 beginner filmmakers have been wielding a digital camera for the primary time, creating dialogue and scenes dramatized by Sue and Janet, two activist mates. We have been fortunate and grateful to have the ability to use MIT’s movie division’s modifying and entry to labs. After months and months of intense discussions as to the best way to movie and form the footage; after trials, failures and breakthroughs, we agreed to chop the visible scenes to the soundtrack of spliced-together ladies’s tales. Lastly, all of it got here collectively. Within the midst of our busy lives, it took us a yr.

I’m grateful past phrases to have been a part of this endeavor with Karen, Mary, Catha, Sue and Janet, and with the ladies and men who contributed to our efforts.

After you watch the movie, please be part of Our Our bodies Ourselves and help efforts to arrange for the overturning of Roe v Wade. The Girls’s Well being Safety Act is a proposed federal regulation that might prohibit a spread of abortion restrictions, together with previability bans, state mandates of pointless procedures and inaccurate counseling, boundaries to telemedicine abortion, TRAP legal guidelines, and forcing additional in-person visits to a physician.

In Massachusetts, activists are working tirelessly on passing a invoice known as the Roe Act. There are related efforts in different states. We should do all we will to guard the lives and well-being of ladies and households who can be harmed severely by the almost-certain upcoming selections of the Supreme Court docket.



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