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I Had an Abortion
2005, 55 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W07912
Underneath the din of politicians posturing about "life" and "choice" and beyond the shouted slogans about murder and rights, there are real stories of real women who have had abortions. Each year in the US, 1.3 million abortions occur, but the topic is still so stigmatized it’s never discussed in polite company. Powerful, poignant, and fiercely honest, I HAD AN ABORTION tackles this taboo, featuring 10 women – including famed feminist Gloria Steinem – who candidly describe experiences spanning seven decades, from the years before Roe v. Wade to the present day. Filmmakers Jennifer Baumgardner (author of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future) and Gillian Aldrich insightfully document how changing societal pressures have affected women’s choices and experiences.

Cutting across age, race, class and religion, the film unfolds personal narratives with intimate interviews, archival footage, family photos and home movies. Arranged chronologically, the stories begin with Florence Rice, now 86, telling without regret about her abortion in the 1930s. Other women speaking out include Marion Banzhaf, who, inspired by both the Miss America protests and the Stonewall rebellion, fundraised on her campus to pay for her abortion, and Robin Ringleka-Kottke, who found herself pregnant as an 18-year-old pro-life Catholic. With heartfelt stories that are never sentimentalized, I HAD AN ABORTION personalizes what has become a vicious and abstract debate.


Fargo Film Festival, Ruth Lanfield Award for Social Justice

  • Hot Springs Documentary Int'l Film Festival
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), NY
  • Boston University, Boston, MA
  • Center for Reproductive Rights, NY
  • Columbia University, NY
  • Las Adelitas Political Action Committee, Albuquerque, NM
  • Macalester College, St. Paul, MN
  • Planned Parenthood New York City, Annual Roe Event, NY
  • Planned Parenthood Southern Finger Lakes, Corning, NY
  • The Emma Goldman Clinic, Iowa City, IA
  • The Feminist Majority Foundation
  • The National Coalition of Abortion Provider's Annual Conference

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    “Fresh, moving, important…Muriel Rukeyser wrote, ‘If one woman told the truth about her life, the world would split open.’ [This film] gives us 10 truth-telling women, and splits the world open in as many ways.”
    Katha Pollitt
    The Nation

    “A breakthrough in the contemporary discussion about abortion … succeed(s) in showing how differently abortion has been understood — and felt! — in different times. This destabilizes all the other discussions, such as Lake of Fire, which uncritically assume that the current political climate of doom, sorrow and defensiveness is the natural tone for any discussion of [abortion]."
    Ann Snitow
    Founder and Chair, Network of East-West Women

    “Moving, intense, and refreshingly honest, the film is a terrific educational tool.”
    Eleanor J. Bader

    "Provides essential context for examining issues of reproductive justice while serving 'to break the wall of silence' on this subject."
    Leela Madhava Rau
    Assistant Dean of Student Life & Dir. of Diversity Affairs, Univ. of Redlands

    “In a very short space of time SPEAK OUT: I HAD AN ABORTION manages to transform the secrecy and stigma of abortion to a rally cry for speaking up about the commonality and the complexity of abortion decisions.”
    Peg Johnston
    Abortion Conversation Project

    “Showing I HAD AN ABORTION in my Women’s Studies class led to a great discussion on feminist activism and women's bodies, from general health to specific issues like abortion, rape, abuse, etc., and the value of speaking out in order to create change.”
    Stephanie Gilmore
    Professor, Central Connecticut State University

    Educational Media Reviews Online

    "No one who sees this remarkable film will be able to turn away and ignore their experience."
    Michael Moore
    Filmmaker, Activist

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    I Had an Abortion is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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© Women Make Movies, 2005
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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us