The pre-Roe Struggle and its Lessons for Today: Film Discussion

Join Advocates for a discussion of  “Abortion and Women’s Rights 1970”

As a part of our congregational education program on Reproductive Justice, we look back to  the years just prior to the Roe decision in 1973, the nascent women’s movement was changing minds about abortion and how vital it was for full equality.  A number of states like Washington legalized it.  Doctors of conscience were performing clandestine abortions, often for a steep price as well as at great personal risk.  The Supreme Court reflected America’s new outlook on female autonomy.

Still, women were dying from illegal abortions – approximately 8000 a year – disproportionately killing poor women and women of color. In 28 short minutes  Abortion and Women’s Rights 1970 lays bare this disparity, as well as the lack of quality, accessible health care including abortion and contraception.  It advocated for healthy communities for women and their families.  Without saying the words, the film champions reproductive justice as we know it today.

Questions to ponder

Why did the film’s vision never fully materialize? How did the backlash happen?

How do we fight this backlash and ensure it never happens again?

I’m sure there’ll be more questions and observations from this small but powerful film, so please join us!

Filmmaker Interview

The film is having a resurgence since Roe was struck down. Here is a link to a current interview with Mary Summers, one of the filmmakers.


Article by Nancy Dolan.