My guest today is award-winning documentary filmmaker, Dorothy Fadiman. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Dorothy. I recently watched your trilogy, Choice: Then and Now . The Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade has been established law for almost forty years. Why the interest in revisiting what's been a "done deal" for so long?
Anti-abortion propaganda and rhetoric are continually bombarding a generation who have no memory or knowledge of "the back alley days". Increasingly, people are uninformed about the realities of unintended pregnancies and diminishing access to services. I had been observing this swing toward more conservative positions on women's rights, despite the facts. But, it wasn't until I heard that a courageous late term abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller, was killed in cold blood in his church in May 2009, that i realized I had to update and re-release the three films in the trilogy.
You had a very personal reason for doing these films. Would you care to tell our readers about it?
I am so pleased to be able have an in depth conversation with you again. I find one of your first questions very provocative, asking me to talk about my motivation for taking on the subject of abortion, from a historical perspective. Several years ago, I examined that question myself, and posted that answer on my website www.concentric.org/trilogy. Rather than try to explain in new words what I'd written then, how about we post what I wrote, then go on to fresh answers for the questions that follow?
My motivation for
creating this series of documentaries is that when I was in college, I had an
illegal back-alley abortion. It was 1962. I was unintentionally
pregnant, 22 years old, working my way through college. I had no savings,
and no committed partner.And, I did not want to give birth to an unwanted
child.Ashamed of my condition, secretly, I went alone to another
state. For $600 cash (which I had borrowed), I arranged for a back-alley
abortion. I had to trust a complete stranger. I was blindfolded and
never saw the face of the abortionist. Within 24 hours after the
procedure, I started hemorrhaging. I was rushed to the hospital emergency
room, with a fever of 105 and blood poisoning.
My own doctor, who had refused to provide a safe abortion, could now, legally, try to save my life. Because I was a student at Stanford, I received the best care from the University Hospital. As a result of this medical attention,I survived. During those same years, throughout the United States, thousands of women in my condition had died. Many were sheltered in poorly staffed and under-supplied county and state hospitals. I didn't know any of this at that time. Nobody discussed abortion. I didn't tell anyone -- family, friends, roommates, no one, nor discuss the whole event for almost thirty years.
In 1991, anti-choice positions of some Supreme Court Justices were ominous. For three decades, I had remained silent about my own back-alley brush with death. Meanwhile, the right to a safe abortion was slipping away for the next generation. Now was the time to step forward. One by one, I found women who had lived through that era and were ready to break the silence. I also found people who had tried to help women find safe care, and were willing to share stories about the part they played.The trilogy weaves together the history and the current chapter of this saga.These films were seven years in production, and are the work of several hundred people.