[Vision2020] When Abortion was Illegal (untold stories)

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Tue May 3 07:07:36 PDT 2022


 When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories is a 1992 American short documentary film directed by Dorothy Fadiman. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. The film consists of first person stories which reveal the physical, emotional and legal consequences of having or providing an abortion when it was a criminal act. The film is the first of three films called the Reproductive Rights Trilogy or "From the Back Alleys to the Supreme Court & Beyond."

Of making the film, Dorothy Fadiman said, "While a student at Stanford, I had become unintentionally pregnant. I had no money, no committed partner and my family was 3,000 miles away. I could neither find or afford a skilled provider. Abortion was illegal in California (1962), so I paid $600 to a person whose face I never saw to terminate my pregnancy. I was blindfolded throughout the procedure. Soon afterward, I began to hemorrhage and ended up on the intensive care ward of Stanford hospital with a fever of 105. I could have died, like so many women who risked the back alleys or aborted themselves. In 1973, a Supreme Court decision affirmed that most abortions would be legal. 1991, now a documentary filmmaker, I realized that some members of the Supreme Court were so anti-abortion that they could vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Most people had no idea what the dangers of the back alleys had been. I decided to make a documentary based on what had happened to me, and to so many other women. This film became the first of three in my trilogy From the Back Alleys to the Supreme Court & Beyond."

This Academy Award-nominated film features compelling first person accounts which reveal the physical, legal, and emotional consequences during the era when abortion was a criminal act. Remembrances include those of women who experienced illegal abortions, doctors who risked imprisonment and loss of their licenses for providing illegal abortions, and individuals who broke the law by helping women find safe abortions.

Regional disparities over the abortion issue have grown during the past two decades, leading to an ever widening gulf between the nation's most conservative and most liberal regions.

A new Pew Research Center survey reports that an eight-state region — Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma — has grown significantly more conservative when it comes to abortion, with opposition to legal abortion increasing by 12 percentage. points since 1995-96. That's the biggest jump of any region in the nation over that period.

The result is a much wider divide between the South Central states and the region at the other end of the spectrum, New England, where support for legal abortion grew by 5 percentage points between 1995-96 and 2012-13.
The two regions are now separated by a 35-percentage-point difference when it comes to views on legal abortion.

Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the region that saw the most dramatic shift in opposition to abortion includes some of the reddest states on the political map. But it doesn't include any of the early presidential primary and caucus states like New Hampshire, South Carolina or Iowa.

So this trend seems unlikely to affect 2016 presidential politics, as none of the South Central states are early primary or general election battleground states.

Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.”
- Roy E. Stolworthy
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