''Abortion for Survival'' Video review

From: Kirsten Emmott
To: All
Subj: new video

	"Abortion  for  Survival:  a  Powerful  Video"
from ProChoice News

   The American Fund for the Feminist Majority has released  "Abortion  for
Survival",  a half hour video that dispels many of the myths promulgated by
anti-choice reactionaries and states clearly and  concisely  the  case  for
legalized abortion.  As the title inidcates, legalized abortion is a matter
of  survival--  without it women will have clandestine abortions, and women
will die.

   This video is factual, technically adept and  at  times  graphic  as  it
presents what is really an issue of life and death.  It opens with a screen
that  states"  You  are  about  to see a vacuum aspiration performed at six
weeks in real time," and cuts to a young woman undergoing an abortion.   In
a  voice-over the young women explains that she wanted to be filmed because
of her committment to choice.  She is relaxed and talking  with  the  woman
performing the  procedure.  In the time that elapses during the aboriton, a
number of experts appear on screen in the  talking  boxes  we  see  on  the
nightly  news,  and  frame  theis  obviously simple procedure in the social
context of abortion in the United States.   Entire  time,  one  minute  and
twenty-four seconds.

   The  titles  run,  and the viewer is introduced to Christina Pickles, an
actress who narrates the video as it  takes  us  throught  the  history  of
abortion in  the United States, the Roe vs.  Wade decision, the rise of the
anti-choice right and finally to the developing world where the  effect  of
the  radical  right's  success in the United States means death for tens of
thousands of women each year.

   The video compares life in a society with legal abortion to  life  in  a
society  without it through interviews with doctors who have worked in both
situations, and a moving story of a womean who died in the the 1930's  from
an illegal abortion she chose at the depth of depression era poverty.

   Offering  startling  facts  and  pictures, such as the statistic that by
1979 there were no deaths from abortion in the United States, or that every
three minutes a woman dies somewhere in the world from an illegal abortion,
this video moves and educates.  The most graphic moment, repeated for those
who shut their eyes the first time, is footage of what is actually expelled
from the womb in an early abortion with the narration explaining that  this
small pool of clotted blood could not be mistaken for a baby.  It cannot.

   Other startling moments in the video include analysis of the position of
the  anti-choice  movement,  detailing  the opposition of major anti-choice
organizations to all forms of birth control except the rhythym method.

   The video also suggest that the radical right is responsible for medical
McCarthyism, which has reduced the number of pharmaceutical companies doing
birth control research from thirteen to three since  1970,  with  only  one
company in  the whole of the United States still doing research.  But it is
the segment which deals  with  the  developing  world  which  is  its  most
devastating argument.  In 1984, the US government withdrew its funding from
any family  planning  program  that  provided or counselled abortion.  With
international planning agencies dependent on the US for forty per  cent  of
their  funding, this effectively remove abortion, which doctors in the film
state again and again is part of any rational  and  effective  approach  to
population and birth control, from clinics in the developing world.

   This film examines who gets hit hardest when abortion is illegal-- black
women in Georgia were four times as likely to die from an abortion as white
women  before  1973,  black  teenagers eleven times more likely to die than
white teenagers.

   Though the video focusses entirely on the US and its role in the  world,
it offers  much  information  that is relevant in the Canadian context.  It
can be borrowed free of charge from the CARAL office in Toronto.  (Canadian
Abortion Rights Action League).