Actresses read stories of abortion as Supreme Court fight over restrictions nears

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Elizabeth Banks is one of several actresses who read the stories of women who chose abortion in a video series created by an abortion rights group. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Elizabeth Banks is one of several actresses who read the stories of women who chose abortion in a video series created by an abortion rights group. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni


LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – The Center for Reproductive Rights has launched a new series of videos featuring Elizabeth Banks, Amy Brenneman, Mercedes Mason, Mary McCormack, Dascha Polanco, Retta and Bellamy Young in which they read stories from women who have decided to have an abortion.

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – The Center for Reproductive Rights has launched a new series of videos featuring Elizabeth Banks, Amy Brenneman, Mercedes Mason, Mary McCormack, Dascha Polanco, Retta and Bellamy Young in which they read stories from women who have decided to have an abortion.

The Draw the Line monologs were directed by Betty Thomas, and come in advance of the March 2 oral arguments in the Supreme Court on restrictions imposed by the state of Texas on abortion clinics. The videos also were tied to the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, which is Friday (Jan. 22)

The videos, which each run a couple of minutes, feature the actresses telling the women’s stories in the first person, giving a much more personal and emotional message than a typical public service announcement. The women submitted the stories to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which worked with them on the scripts.


RELATED STORY: Supreme Court will wade back into abortion debate


In one video, Banks tells the story of “Rebecca,” who has decided to terminate her pregnancy after leaving her physically abusive boyfriend.

“One of the worst things about getting an abortion is actually having to say the word ‘abortion,'” Banks, telling the story of “Rebecca,” says in the video. But she struggles to tell a friend, who opposes abortion.

“I told her I could not have my abuser’s baby. I could not create a life with such a hateful man,” she says. In the end, her friend had no judgment.

“What I remember the most about my experience is how the women in my life stepped up to support the decision I was choosing to make, because the life they were most concerned about was mine,” she says.


RELATED STORY: Survey: Women distrust churches for abortion advice


“The stories highlighted by these incredible actresses tell the important and moving story of women who face many obstacles to access to their constitutionally protected right to an abortion,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.

“As we prepare to argue for women’s access to safe, legal abortion services before the U.S. Supreme Court, we need to make it clear to politicians exactly what’s at stake when they attack our reproductive freedom and fundamental rights,” she added.

The actresses are the most prominent so far to appear in the organization’s Draw the Line videos, and reflect an escalating debate over abortion rights. Republican presidential candidates have attacked Planned Parenthood, while in 2015 a half dozen states passed new restrictions onabortion.

Some content creators have responded by tackling the issue in primetime.

Last fall “Scandal” featured an episode in which the lead character, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), has an abortion. It also featured a debate over government funding for Planned Parenthood.

The center, which is a global reproductive rights organization, hosted a luncheon with industry figures to talk about how Hollywood figures could help call attention to the women’s stories of access to abortion services.

(Ted Johnson reported this story for Variety.com)

  • Philip

    Too bad they won’t have any stories to read from the babies perspective. There is another party involved here, but this one has no voice.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Apples and oranges. “Babies” are persons who have been born. Any conflating of same with fetal tissue is maudlin appeal to emotion and rejected by all persons who respect the moral agencies of women.

  • Bradley

    Oh, if it were only that simple.

  • G Key

    Oh, but it is that simple, Bradley.

    Some people’s personally chosen beliefs say abortion is wrong, because a future baby is demonstrably forming.

    Some people’s personally chosen beliefs say most contraceptives are wrong, because they prevent attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterine wall.

    Some people’s personally chosen beliefs say all contraceptives are wrong, because they interfere with the natural reproductive process.

    As you can see, there is an entire spectrum of personally chosen beliefs. And that’s without even discussing the range of personally chosen beliefs about whether there’s such a thing as a soul; about when that hotly debated soul enters the ovum, zygote, fetus, or baby; and whether the needs of the unborn outweigh the needs of the living.

    But the real issues aren’t babies and bodies. The real issues are beliefs and boundaries. In fact, the real issue is business — as in “Whose?”

    — Which is also that simple, Bradley: Hers.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    It is. If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t get one. Case closed.

  • Bradley

    There is no point arguing the details of this issue here, but I will say that it is obvious that what grows and develops in the womb is human life. You can say many things, but deep down people know what it is and what abortion does. Deny it all you want and cast your stones, but you cannot deny human life no matter how far down you push reality. It is a life, it is a baby, it is a human with great value and wonderful potential.

  • G Key

    And it still isn’t your decision.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Amen, Brother

  • Nikki Nacht

    I am Catholic and pro life. I feel it is important that each of us make our own choice on this issue at every stage of our lives. I am also glad that there are those who speak for the unborn. I do not celebrate abortion but I have had them and believe that it is a woman’s right. Motherhood has been used as a tool to cruelly subjugate women too often for it to be otherwise.