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Motherhood by Choice, Not Chance distills the history and power of the 2 ½ hour trilogy, From the Back-Alleys to the Supreme Court & Beyond. Through first person stories, this documentary brings alive the history of the struggle for women’s reproductive rights in the U.S. and the passion of those who moved abortion from the danger of the back alleys to a safe, legal choice. It includes information about current threats to those rights.

The Spanish translation of this film, Maternidad por Elección, No por Obligación, is introduced by Dolores Huerta.


When Abortion Was Illegal
Untold Stories (28 min.)

Until recently, the era of illegal abortion has been a "sealed chapter" in U.S. women's history. The aura of shame surrounding unwanted pregnancies and abortion before Roe v. Wade kept most women from ever admitting that they had had illegal abortions - an experience which many had faced, but about which few ever spoke. Women suffering complications from back alley or self-induced abortions risked arrest if they admitted what they had done; doctors were often left to guess the source of severe infections and hemorrhages. Many women died.

When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories illuminates a largely undocumented era.
This poignant oral history weaves together the untold stories of women caught in difficult circumstances and those who tried to help them. Candid interviews reveal the brutal tragedies, as well as the courage and heroism of a shrouded time.

From Danger to Dignity
The Fight for Safe Abortion (57 min.)

Even though most abortions were illegal in the United States before 1973, they were still widely available. The woman's well-being, however, often depended on her financial situation and connections. Most women who sought abortions risked their lives by going to practitioners who had no medical training, and hospital wards were filled with victims of unsafe procedures. Some physicians agreed to terminate pregnancies for their wealthy private patients, charging thousands of dollars; a handful of individuals - doctors, skilled midwives, and others - provided relatively safe, low-cost care.

From Danger to Dignity: The Fight for Safe Abortion weaves together two parallel stories: the evolution of underground networks that helped women find safe abortions outside the law, and the intensive efforts by activists and legislators to decriminalize abortion through legislative and judicial channels. This film combines rare archival footage with interviews that document the courageous efforts of those who fought to break the silence, change the laws and end the shame which surrounded abortion when it was a crime.

The Fragile Promise of Choice
Abortion in the United States Today (57 min.)

As a result of restrictive legislation, cutbacks in funding, and sieges of harassment and violence, access to legal abortion is declining. The Fragile Promise of Choice examines how these conditions have affected the lives of providers and the women who seek their services.

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©2005 The Power of Choice Project