Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and The CurvyFilm Critic.com
As the child of a military family, we traveled for most of my life. However, in between moves, we always went back "home". Home for me is St, Louis, Missouri. Both of my parents were born and raised there. My relatives on my maternal and paternal side still live there. I went to the prom, fell in love for the first time, had my first date, learned to drive, got my first job, became a beauty queen and attended my first college...all in the state of Missouri.
My memories are vast and fond of my life there. However, as magical and warm the memories are that I have growing up in Missouri, I also remember Missouri for being one of the most racist states in the union. Some residents of the state can be so full of judgement that some of my friends growing up there who were gay knew that "outing" themselves was never an option. To do so would result in isolation from friends and family and being labeled and attacked, Being a young, gifted and black was not celebrated. To the point, that in 2016, we are still witnessing young men like Michael Brown being harassed, shot and murdered.
Needless to say, when I learned of the documentary Abortion: Stories Women Tell screening at the Tribeca Film festival around Missouri becoming one of the many states to make abortion illegal, I was not surprised. I was, however, extremely annoyed.
In 1973 the US Supreme court decision Roe Vs. Wade gave every woman the right to have an abortion. Since 2011, over half the states in the nation have significantly restricted access to abortions. In 2016, abortion remains one of the most divisive issues in America, especially in Missouri, where each year sees more restrictions.
Award winning director and Missouri native Tracy Droz Tragos sheds new light on this controversial issue, with a focus not on the debate, but rather on the women themselves. Women who are struggling with unplanned pregnancies, the providers who show up at clinics to give medical care, as well as the activists on the sidewalks hoping to save one more child.
Abortion: Stories Women Tell portrays an intimate portrait into the lives of these women through their personal stories, which come to life brilliantly, through the gentle and respectful approach by director Tragos. Some are heartbreaking and tender, some are bleak and frightening, while others simply inform us of the strength and capacity of young women to overcome and persevere through often-tragic circumstances. Take a listen to a recent interview I did with Tracy about her doc...
Abortion: Stories Women Tell also shows us how organizations like Planned Parenthood are being targeted for abortion procedures and allegedly accused of selling fecal organs for medical testing. My newly divorced mother (who is also a Registered Nurse) took me to Planned Parenthood as a teen to be educated on birth control and the services provided to young girls like me. That Planned Parenthood location on Lindell Avenue in St. Louis has been shut down and the nearest location is two hours away in Columbia, Missouri.
With young girls being sexually active as early as 10 years old, where will those mothers who don't take their daughters to be educated? Especially now, that sex education has been slowly forced out of the public school system.
I employ each and every one of you reading this to think of all these concerns and facts as your state contemplates making a decision that affects thousands if not millions of American women.
Watch for this powerful doc to show up on HBO, but if you can't wait until then it had its theatrical release August 12th.. You will angered, educated, but most of all moved to make a difference.