10 Reasons Every Medical Student Should Learn about Medication Abortion
By Abby Ramey and Rachel Abbott, MSFC Student Organizers As abortion becomes more restricted in the United States, medication abortion has become critical in the fight for abortion access. Medication abortion, or the “abortion pill”, is a combination of two drugs, Mifepristone and Misoprostol. It is a popular and safe option for many, accounting for …
Showing a video is a great way to kick off an introductory meeting and get people interested. The following is a list of videos and other resources MSFC can loan students. Contact us two weeks before your event to reserve the video you want.
Note: Usage of the video library is restricted to MSFC student chapters only.
Film Documentaries and Personal Stories
12th and Delaware
By Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
The two sides of the abortion debate in America literally face one another in this documentary from filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. In Fort Pierce, Florida, a women’s health center is located at the corner of 12th and Delaware. On the same corner, across the street, is another women’s health care center. However, the two centers are not in the same business; one provides abortions along with a variety of other health services, while the other primarily offers counseling to women considering abortion, urging them to keep their babies. In 12th and Delaware, Ewing and Grady offer a look inside both offices, as pro-life counselors give women a mixture of concern and disinformation about terminating their pregnancies and the pro-choice medical staff struggles to work under the frequent threat of violence against them. The film also examines the handful of protesters who stand outside the abortion clinic, confronting both patients and staff as they enter and exit.
A Quiet Inquisition
By Alessandra Zeka and Holen Sabrina Kahn (DVD, 65 minutes, Spanish with English Subtitles)
This 2015 documentary follows an OB/GYN physician in Managua, Nicaragua as she weathers the day to day challenges of serving her patient population in one of the five countries in the world with an outright ban on abortion. The film shows the devastating impact of Nicaragua’s abortion ban both for women and for healthcare providers determined to provide care to their patients.
The Abortion Diaries
By Penny Lane (DVD, 30 minutes) Watch Online
The Abortion Diaries is a documentary featuring 12 women who speak candidly about their experiences with abortion. The women are doctors, subway workers, artists, activists, military personnel, teachers and students; they are Black, Latina, Jewish, and White; they are mothers or child-free; they range in age from 19 to 54. Their stories weave together with the filmmaker’s diary entries to present a compelling, moving and at times surprisingly funny “dinner party” where the audience is invited to hear what women say behind closed doors about motherhood, medical technology, sex, spirituality, love, work, and their own bodies.
The Abortion Divide
PBS Frontline Documentary (55 mins, 2019) Watch online
FRONTLINE goes inside the fight over abortion, told through the stories of women struggling with unplanned pregnancies. Drawing on a landmark FRONTLINE film from the 1980s, the documentary takes a look at both sides of the abortion divide in a community still embroiled in the conflict.
The Abortion Pill
From Ovary Action, Broadly (36 minutes) Watch Online
The medical abortion–a non-surgical procedure that induces a miscarriage through a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs–is both widely legal and increasingly hard to obtain. In this documentary the filmmakers explore the laws and regulations, as well as the stigmas, that are barriers to accessing the abortion pill.
Abstinence Comes to Albuquerque
By Charles C. Stuary (DVD, 30 minutes + 30 minutes FAQ)
“Abstinence Comes to Albuquerque” provides a glimpse into a nationwide debate over what young people should be taught about sexuality. Through personal stories, community profiles, and expert interviews, the program highlights the differences between a strict abstinence-only-until-marriage approach and more comprehensive sexuality education.
Achik Nan (Luminous Trail): The Sexual and Reproductive Health of Chimborazo Women
By Orientame Foundation and ESAR (DVD, 31 minutes)
By Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, 2014 (DVD, 85 minutes)
After Tiller intimately explores the highly controversial subject of third-trimester abortions in the wake of the 2009 assassination of practitioner Dr. George Tiller. The procedure is now performed by only four doctors in the United States, all former colleagues of Dr. Tiller, who risk their lives every day in the name of their unwavering commitment toward their patients. Directors Martha Shane and Lana Wilson have created a moving and unique look at one of the most incendiary topics of our time, and they’ve done so in an informative, thought-provoking, and compassionate way.
Include discussion based on MSFC’s After Tiller Educational Guide with your screening!
Back Alley Detroit: Abortion Before Roe v. Wade
By Daniel Friedman & Sharon Grimberg (DVD, 47 minutes)
The generation that came of age since Roe v. Wade knows little of the sordid realities once faced by women seeking to end an unwanted pregnancy. This historical documentary tells the story of illegal abortions as they were experienced by all kinds of women – rich and poor, white and minority, married and single. It chronicles the physicians, clergy, and women’s health activists whose quiet defiance of abortion laws stands as a dramatic unwritten chapter in the history of U.S. civil disobedience. Among those who risked prosecution were the members of the Jane Collective. This clandestine group was composed of self-taught activists who safely performed over 10,000 abortions in Chicago.
By Jane Clark (DVD, 24 minutes)
This 2005 short film follows Carrie through her time as a 19 year-old college sophomore and a successful 37 year-old career and family women with a baby on the way. The impending birth has Carrie thinking back to 1987 when her whole life lay in front of her, and she faced the most important decision of her young life.
CHOICE: Then and Now – A Trilogy of Films on Reproductive Rights
By Dorothy Fadiman (DVD, Online Streaming)
These three films (described below) bring alive the struggle for women’s reproductive rights in the United States, and the chilling facts about the threat to those rights. MSFC HQ has a DVD with all three films or each can be accessed individually online by following the appropriate link.
- When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories
(28 minutes) Watch Online
This Academy Award nominated documentary includes compelling first-person accounts that illuminate the era of back-alley abortion, revealing the physical, legal, and emotional dimensions of abortion when it was a crime in the United States. Women who risked their lives, doctors who risked losing their licenses, and others who tried to help women find safe abortions speak frankly about their experiences, some for the first time. A discussion guide in booklet form to accompany this film is available. Available with or without Spanish subtitles.
- From Danger to Dignity: The Fight for Safe Abortion
(57 minutes) Watch Online
This Emmy Award winning documentary traces the national movement to decriminalize abortion. It combines rare archival footage with present-day interviews to weave together two parallel stories: the evolution of “underground” networks to help women find safe abortions outside the law and the intensive efforts of activists and legislators who broke the silence and changed the laws. Available with or without Spanish subtitles.
- The Fragile Promise of Choice: Abortion in the United States Today
(57 minutes) Watch Online
This documentary traces the erosion of access to safe abortion, including a shortage of trained providers, the threat of violence, and legislative restrictions. It includes a section on Medical Students for Choice and interviews with medical students. Available with or without Spanish subtitles.
The Coat Hanger Project
By Angie Young (DVD, 53 minutes)
This 2008 documentary features interviews with a founding member of the reproductive justice movement, a founding member of Jane, the underground pre-Roe abortion service in Chicago, 1969-73, a pre-Roe v. Wade abortion provider, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, and a professor of women’s studies, as well as illegal abortion survivors, students, scholars and others. The Coat Hanger Project aims to use the symbol of the coat hanger to represent the rights of the women whose bodies house the developing embryo of fetus until birth. This film substantiates the view of abortion as a fundamental human right for women that must be kept legal and accessible.
Democracy On Trial: The Morgentaler Affair
By Paul Cowan (58 minutes) Watch Online
Canadian physician Dr Morgentaler’s fight for legal and safe abortions since the 1970s and its serious legal consequences for him form the centre of Democracy on a Trial: The Morgentaler Affair. This compelling docudrama demonstrates the complexity of this case, which began with the demand for a Canadian abortion law and turned into an explosive civil rights case. Dr Morgentaler’s commitment resulted in unique legal progress: Since 1988 Canada has been the only country in which there is no single law concerning abortion any more.
The Education of Shelby Knox
By Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt, 2005 (DVD) Currently available on Netflix Instant Watch
A self-described “good Southern Baptist girl,” 15-year-old Shelby Knox of Lubbock, Texas has pledged abstinence until marriage. But she becomes an unlikely advocate for comprehensive sex ed when she finds that Lubbock, where high schools teach abstinence as the only safe sex, has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STDs in the state.
Integral Management of Unwanted Pregnancy: A Model for Latin America
By Orientame Foundation and ESAR (DVD, 11 minutes)
Jane: An Abortion Service
By Kate Kirty and Nell Lundy, 1995 (DVD, 56 minutes)
Jane was a Chicago-based women’s health service that performed nearly 12,000 safe illegal abortions between 1969 and 1973. This film looks at the personal and political stories of this fascinating group.
By Ian Boyd (DVD, 49 minutes)
In an era when women could not get legal abortions there were only a handful of courageous doctors who risked imprisonment, loss of license, and their future in order to provide safe abortions to women. The filmmaker’s father, Dr. Curtis Boyd, was one such individual. A one-time Pentecostal preacher, Dr. Boyd was influenced by the social changes of the Sixties. As a small town physician he performed thousands of abortions to desperate women.
Like a Ship in the Night
By Melissa Thompson (DVD, 30 minutes)
Like a Ship in the Night follows three women as they plan their secret journeys across the Irish Sea in search of an abortion. Along the way we hear from community workers, doctors and counselors about the history of the laws and social attitudes that make their journey necessary. Although the three women begin their journeys with different views on abortion rights, they all return silenced, terrified and angry at their country.
The Last Abortion Clinic
By PBS, 2005 (DVD)
A segment from the PBS program “To the Contrary” on the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi.
Motherhood by Choice, Not Chance
By Dorothy Fadiman (DVD, 27 minutes) Watch Online
A new 27 minute documentary, MOTHERHOOD by CHOICE, NOT CHANCE, brings alive the history of the struggle for women’s reproductive rights in the United States and the chilling facts about the current threat to those rights. Intimate interviews reveal the passion of people who moved abortion from the danger of the back alleys to a safe, legal choice. The film weaves together the most engaging moments of the OSCAR-nominated, EMMY-winning films in the trilogy FROM the BACK ALLEYS to the SUPREME COURT & BEYOND.
Motherless: Orphaned by Illegal Abortion
By Attie Goldwater Productions (30 minutes) Watch Online
A documentary about women who died due to complications from abortion (before it was legal) and the children who were left to mourn them.
No Choice Abortion Stories
Public Square Media (5 min clips and 30 min version, 2019) Watch online
This web-based video series breaks the silence and the stigma. Listen to these brave women—and one male doctor—tell their stories, and think about what America would be like for men and women if Roe v. Wade were no longer the law of the land: if there were NO CHOICE. Longer version and promotional tools available also—contact [email protected].
Not Yet Rain
By Lisa Russell (DVD, 23 minutes) Watch Online
This 2009 short film, produced in association with Ipas, explores abortion in Ethiopia through the voices of women who have faced the challenge of finding safe care. While a law enacted in 2006 marked great progress toward reproductive freedom in Ethiopia, Not Yet Rain shows that changing the law is just the first step. Training for health workers and increased availability of care could save the lives of women in Ethiopia and around the world.
On Hostile Ground
By Indirect Productions and Aubin Pictures (DVD, 23 minutes) Short version
This documentary portrays the abortion-rights struggle through the personal stories of providers. They reveal how their professional choice has impacted their personal lives, and they express their personal, spiritual and political motivations in subtle terms. See the website for more information.
Pro-Choice and Anti-Abortion: On Both Sides of the ‘Heartbeat’ Bills
By Emily Cameron (31 mins, 2019) Watch online
The film shares the story of Iowans who support and oppose the so-called heartbeat bill, which made its way through the state legislature in 2018 and was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds in May that year. It profiles patients and staff at the Emma Goldman clinic to understand the impacts of the bill.
Roe at Risk: Fighting for Reproductive Justice
By The Alliance for Justice, 2013 (DVD, 16 minutes)
The Alliance for Justices’s 2013 First Monday video, Roe at Risk, documents the disturbing reality that 40 years after Roe v. Wade women across the country are seeing their reproductive rights slip away. Actress and activist Amy Brenneman, star of Judging Amy and Private Practice, narrates the film, which describes the full scope of attacks on women’s constitutional rights nationwide, while telling the story through the prism of women’s day-to-day struggles in Mississippi and Texas. These two states are facing the dramatic and wrenching consequences of radical anti-abortion legislation. But they’re also places where women and their allies are fighting back, standing up strongly for their constitutional right to reproductive freedom and justice.
By Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater (DVD, 60 minutes, In English and Spanish with subtitles)
Rosita follows a nine-year-old Nicaraguan girl who becomes pregnant as a result of a rape. Her parents, who work in Costa Rica, seek a legal abortion to save her life. Their quest pits them against the governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the medical establishment, and the Catholic Church.
Sacred Choices and Abortion: 10 New Things to Think About
By The Religious Consultation (DVD, 57 minutes)
This 57-minute documentary based on Dr. Daniel Maguire’s book Sacred Choices and reframes the debate over reproductive rights in our highly religious culture. Scholars from major faith traditions–Christian, Muslim, and Jewish–as well as women and girls whose lives have been forever changed by abortion are featured in 10 insightful segments.
Speak Out: I Had an Abortion
By Gillian Aldrich and Jennifer Baumgardner (DVD, 55 minutes)
1.3 million women get abortions each year in the U.S. alone. For most it is a secret. The debate itself is loud and paralyzing while the voices of the women who get abortions are submerged. “Speak Out: I Had an Abortion,” directed by Gillian Aldrich and co-produced by Aldrich and Jennifer Baumgardner, documents the stories of 11 women ranging in age from 21 to 85. The film cuts across race, religion, region, class, sexuality, and politics–demonstrating that abortion affects all women.
Third Wave: The March for Women’s Lives
By Cat Cutcher & Roger Hill (DVD, 14 minutes)
This film features interviews with a variety of people attending the March for Women’s Lives, including pro-choice and anti-abortion activists. The Third Wave documents the diverse voices and concerns of the contemporary U.S. women’s movement and the ongoing opposition to women’s rights in the new millennium.
By Diana Whitten (DVD, 90 minutes)
Vessel begins with a young doctor who lived by the sea, and an unlikely idea. Rebecca Gomperts, horrified by the realities created by anti-abortion law around the world, felt compelled to challenge this. Her method: to provide abortions on a ship in offshore waters. Her project, Women on Waves, begins as flawed spectacle, a media frenzy, faced with governmental, religious, and military blockades. But with each setback comes a more refined mission, until Rebecca has the revelation that she can use new technologies to bypass law – and train women to give themselves safe abortions using WHO-sanctioned protocols with pills. Through Vessel, we witness the creation of an underground network of emboldened, informed activists, working at the cutting edge of global reproductive rights, who trust women to handle abortion themselves.
Voices of Choice
By Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (DVD, 25 minutes) Watch online
This video and discussion guide tell the story of illegal and legal abortion provision from the brave men and women who provided these essential health services prior to 1973. The video documents the horror of illegal abortion through the eyes of physicians and provides a way for coming generations to understand the social and historical ramifications of a time when health care providers worked to save women who suffered needlessly.
We Always Resist: Trust Black Women
By SisterSong and Trust Black Women (DVD, 24 minutes)
This documentary examines how women of color fight for reproductive justice and freedom. It captures the activism of Black women in response to the attacks on their dignity and human rights by the anti-abortion movement. It includes the voices of grassroots activists, youth, elected officials, and other women of color who support the cause. It gives the viewer an opportunity to see how we claim that most power expression of freedom – control over our own bodies.
Yo Decido: el tren de la libertad
By Collective of Women Filmmakers (42 minutes) Watch Online
I decide. The Freedom Train ‘is the result of a great collective work that dozens of filmmakers, including directors, filmmakers, producers, screenwriters and directors of photography, developed during the demonstrations on 1 February in Madrid, where the Train of the Freedom against the reform of the abortion of the Government summoned by the Tertulia Feminista Les Comadres and Women for the Equality of Barredos in Pola de Laviana (Asturias)
By Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt (DVD, 75 minutes)
This documentary follows three young people living in the Pine Ridge Reservation try to forge a better future. When the first female President of Oglala Lakota defies a South Dakota law criminalizing abortion by vowing to build a women’s clinic in their sovereign territory, the young tribe members are faced with difficult choices.
Standardized Case Videos
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health as part of the Adolescent Reproductive Health Education Project (DVD, 30 minutes)
The 13 vignettes in this series each depict a short segment of a longer clinical interaction between a healthcare provider and an adolescent patient. The vignettes are classified by the year they were produced: 2009 and 2005. Twelve of the scenarios (all six from the 2005 cadre and the first six from 2009 group) are presented twice, each time with a different provider perspective to emphasize the nuances, techniques, problems, and strengths of each interaction. The seventh scenario in the 2009 video set has only one version and is intended to demonstrate how a provider can successfully ask a parent to “please step out” of the exam room to allow for a confidential visit.