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When Abortion was Illegal
Untold Stories

Devastating stories from the era of illegal abortion.

A printer-friendly version of this page 28 minutes
Produced by Dorothy Fadiman
in association with KTEH-TV

"Affectingly related stories...etch the climate of fear, pain, reprisal, and sometimes death." Irene Wood, Booklist
The era of illegal abortion, roughly the period between the turn of the century and the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, has been a sealed chapter in women's history.

The profound aura of shame and fear surrounding unwanted pregnancies and abortions before Roe v. Wade kept most women from ever admitting that they had had illegal abortions. Women suffering complications from back alley or self-induced abortions risked arrest if they admitted what they had done, as did their husbands and doctors if they acknowledged compliance and aid.

WHEN ABORTION WAS ILLEGAL illuminates this largely undocumented era and reveals the physical, emotional and legal consequences of having an abortion when it was a criminal act.

Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 1993     Copyright Date: 1992
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-287-4     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-515-5

"The stories in the film - some frightening, some disturbing, some poignant - describe a pre-Roe world of surreptitious, often dangerous, abortions...Through story, students can recognize the complexity of choices faced by women and question the myths that animate those who seek to appropriate others' reproductive rights...A timely and valuable classroom resource."
Rethinking Schools

"Recommended viewing for physicians, medical students, residents, and anyone interested in understanding the controversial issue of abortion."
Fertility News

"Its tone is quietly eloquent, never hysterical... a picture of long-remembered fear and last ditch desperation."
Little Rock Free Press

"Creates the space for viewers to reach their own conclusions."
Beret Strong, Ph.D., Perspective Magazine

"With riveting detail... eschewing the inflammatory rhetoric that often colors the abortion debate, Untold Stories nonetheless delivers a powerful argument."
Michael Fox, The San Francisco Chronicle

"A 'must see' for health professionals who want to truly understand the effects of turning back the clock."
Amy Levine, Women's Resource Center

"Affectingly related stories...etch the climate of fear, pain, reprisal, and sometimes death that permeated a society outlawing abortion."
Irene Wood, Booklist

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Study guide

Awards and Festivals
Best Documentary Short Subject Nominee, Academy Awards
Gold Medal, CPB Public Radio & TV Awards
Gold Apple, National Educational Film and Video Festival
Best Documentary, Atlanta International Film and Video Festival
Best TV Documentary/Exceptional Merit Media Award, National Women's Political Caucus
Juror's Citation, Black Maria Film & Video Festival
Exemplary Leadership Award, Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights
Humanitarian Award, Sinking Creek Film and Video Festival
Special Achievement Award, BACA Festival
Isabella Liddell Art Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival
United Nations Association Film Festival

American Studies
Reproductive Rights
Social Psychology
Social Studies
Women's History
Women's Studies

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The Motherhood Manifesto
Looks at the obstacles facing working mothers and families and the employer and public policy changes needed to restore work-life balance.

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