Seeking a safer future for their children, two women from Ciudad Juárez, risk harassment at the hands of Border Patrol to cross the US-Mexico border legally to give birth in El Paso, Texas.

Mexico/US | 2018 | 28 minutes | Color | DVD | English/Spanish | Order No. 191235 |


This intimate and personal documentary follows two women from Ciudad Juárez as they cross the U.S.-Mexico border legally to give birth in Texas, putting their hearts and bodies on the line as they confront harassment at the hands of U.S. border officials.

One million people legally cross the U.S.-Mexico border every day in both directions. Among them are women who cross for the purposes of childbirth. With the threat of obstetrical violence in Mexican hospitals and the desire for natural birth with midwives, Gaby and Luisa make the difficult decision to cross the border to El Paso, seeking a safer future for their children. Even with papers, their journeys are uncertain.

Against the backdrop of oppressive U.S. border policy and growing debates over immigration, these women's stories of risk, strength, and resilience shed light on the realities and challenges of life on the border.


"BIRTH ON THE BORDER places you in the hearts and minds of women who make large and often terrifying sacrifices for the health and safety of their children. Whatever your views on immigration, this film will challenge what you think you know."

Angie Reza Tures Founder and Producer of Femme Frontera Film Festival

"BIRTH ON THE BORDER uses beautiful imagery and compelling stories to illuminate an important yet often overlooked topic: childbirth and the border. Not only is this film timely, but it also has broad appeal to those interested in the US health care system, US-Mexico borders, and/or immigration. Although this is not a typical educational documentary style film, I showed Birth on the Border in my university course because it touches on so many aspects of the human experience. Unsurprisingly, it generated rich discussion."

Ophra Leyser-Whalen, PhD Professor, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Texas, El Paso

"This film explores the politics of care work and the lived experiences of women for whom dangerous border crossings are a daily reality. Birth on the Border is absolutely essential viewing for all race, class, and gender studies courses.”

Diana Cage Professor, Art & Gender Studies, San Francisco State University


  • San Antonio Cinefestival
  • Femme Frontera Film Festival
  • Ambulante Festival


Ellie Lobovits

Ellie Lobovits is a feminist filmmaker, writer, and professor whose work combines art with social activism, the personal with the political. Ellie’s most recent film, BIRTH ON THE BORDER, is an intimate portrait of Mexican women’s narratives of childbirth and harassment on the U.S.- Mexico border. Ellie’s lyrical short films have explored themes of memory, mortality, and the natural world. Ellie holds a BA in Anthropology and Photography from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in Visual Anthropology from San Francisco State. (02/19)



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