Women who are pro-choice or pro-life know that there's nothing simple about abortion. Every woman has her own opinion based on her own beliefs and her own life experience; it's not black and white. In a new HBO documentary, Abortion: Stories Women Tell, director Tracy Droz Tragos attempts to showcase not just both sides of the issue, but the women advocating them. And this exclusive clip from Abortion: Stories Women Tell is a perfect example of just how varied women's beliefs on the subject can be.
The documentary focuses on the abortion restriction laws put in place in Missouri, Tragos' home state. Abortion, whether to stop an unplanned pregnancy or to save a mother's life, is constantly being debated and picked apart, not by health care professionals, but by politicians. In Missouri, those politicians have placed a 72-hour waiting period on patients looking to have an abortion and put restrictions on health insurance coverage for abortions. However, while the legal controversies feature heavily in the documentary, Abortion: Stories Women Tell isn't focused on the political side of abortion. It's focused on the women who actually experience it.
Featuring interviews with doctors, abortion providers, female patients, and activists, the documentary attempts to put a human face on a too politicized issue. In this exclusive Abortion: Stories Women Tell clip, two young female activists have a heated conversation about Planned Parenthood — one a Planned Parenthood supporter and volunteer, the other an anti-Planned Parenthood activist campaigning in the college student center.
In the clip, the PP supporter indirectly accuses the pro-life supporter of spreading false information, pointing out that PP does not make a profit off abortions as the signage suggests. "This revenue that Planned Parenthood makes — it's a non-profit. This money goes to women who can't afford healthcare," says the PP supporter. The interaction, while tense and somewhat confrontational, is not violent or heated.
It's obvious from the clip that both sides can communicate with each other, but there's one fundamental difference between pro-choice and pro-life activists exposed through their conversation. One believes some women need abortions, the other does not. When the PP supporter asks, "What are you going to do about all the women that need abortions," the response — "Why would you need an abortions?" — shows a huge disconnect in how both women see the world. One thing is clear: getting the two sides to agree on anything will not be easy.
Abortion: Stories Women Tell will premiere on HBO on Monday, April 3.