12th & Delaware: Every Day A Battle Is Born

You might want to skip this post (about abortion). Need help? In New Zealand, you can call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or Youthline on 0800 37 66 33.

12th & Delaware documentary poster

Click here to watch the documentary. You can make the video full-screen to avoid the advert.

The two sides of the abortion debate in America literally face one another in this documentary from filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

In Fort Pierce, Florida, a women’s heath care center is located at the corner of 12th and Delaware. On the same corner, across the street, is another women’s heath care center.

However, the two centers are not in the same business; one provides abortions along with a variety of other health services, while the other primarily offers counseling to women considering abortion, urging them to keep their babies.

In 12th and Delaware, Ewing and Grady offer a look inside both offices, as pro-life counselors give women a mixture of concern and disinformation about terminating their pregnancies and the pro-choice medical staff struggles to work under the frequent threat of violence against them.

The film also examines the handful of protesters who stand outside the abortion clinic, confronting both patients and staff as they enter and exit. (via)

In Florida there are two street corners, both 12th & Delaware. An abortion clinic, run by a husband and wife, and an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy care center, run by Father Tom sit across the street from each other.

“We still get women coming in who think they’re going there [to the abortion clinic].”

Women aren’t sure which one they’re calling or visiting. The pregnancy care center does nothing to clarify that they don’t actually offer abortions. What they do offer is “counseling” to actively try to persuade women from choosing abortion, graphic photographs, free ultrasounds (with ‘HI DADDY!’ typed in the corner of the print out), models of fetuses, DVDs of anti-abortion propaganda playing in the waiting room, flip books of the abortion process, graphic DVDs of the procedure, and brochures stating that abortion causes breast cancer.

The abortion clinic claims the pregnancy care center gives incorrect information to women–among spreading myths about abortion and medical disinformation, they say the center tells women they are earlier in their pregnancy than they actually are, so if they think they have a few weeks to make a decision and then decide to have an abortion they either won’t be able to get an one or will have to travel to another state to get one.

Choice quotes from one of the crisis pregnancy center counselors

“She’s abortion-minded.”

“She had an abortion in December. She might do it again.”

[to ultrasound technician (likely the only person in the building with any sort of medical training)] “Maybe we can get a heartbeat.”

”Yus, yus, yus, two [“saved”] in one day.”

The efforts the pregnancy counselors go to push their agenda have no bounds

A woman comes in. She already has two kids. She says she wants what is best for herself and the children she already has. Her position is entirely understandable.

The counselor goes to her office and sends an email out to a prayer mailing list: “Please pray for Victoria, she is in our counseling room at this very moment, and her only option is abortion…”

She buys McDonald’s for the woman, thinking that if the woman leaves before having an ultrasound that she might “lose her”. They eat together.

She tells the woman that her verbally abusive partner might change if she has this baby.

“I’m gonna step outside and make a phone call.”

“[on phone] Man this bitch is getting on my fucking nerve.”

 

The crew follow-up with a 15-year-old who was convinced she should continue with her pregnancy by the care center. She tells the crew that she tried to end the pregnancy herself. She hopes that everything will turn out alright.

The protestors and the doctors

The same counselor from above makes her way across the street to talk to the protesters. They’re friends. She shares news from an anti-abortion website.

She comes out a second time after the police are called and defends the protesters’ use of graphic signs.

The doctors who perform abortions are picked up by the clinic owner, and, with a sheet covering their heads, are taken into the clinic’s closed garage to protect their identities.

“I’ve discovered, thanks through God that I know where the owner of the abortion clinic meets the abortionists.”

One of the protesters from outside the abortion clinic leads the documentary crew to a Wal-Mart parking lot. He’s found where the doctors and clinic owner meet and swap cars. He, as well as others try to find out names and addresses of the abortion doctors. They want to out the doctors, using methods like displaying their photo on billboards; and visiting their homes, churches, and workplaces, to deter them from performing abortions.

The abortion clinic

“I just wanna make sure that this is definitely what you need to do, not want to do, nobody ever wants to do this… It’s your decision only.”

In strong contrast with the pregnancy care center, the abortion clinic is truly about choice.

“Yeah… they got a replacement and that doctor was killed too.”

The main fear is that they will lose their doctors. Their abortionists are in their 50s and 60s. “Where is the next doctor coming from” if a doctor retires or is outed?

Watch an interview with the co-directors of the documentary, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

Here’s a new Tumblr sharing New Zealand women’s stories of abortion.

Click here to watch the documentary. You can make the video full-screen to avoid the advert.

Shut Up & Sing

Dixie Chicks - Shut Up And Sing

I re-watched this last night. Kind of relevant right now.

This Chicks flick by Barbara Kopple (Academy Award winner for Harlan County, U.S.A.) and Cecilia Peck is powerful testament to the inconvenient truth that free speech can come at a very high cost. The Dixie Chicks, Texas-based and one of country music’s most successful acts, found out just how costly it was in the weeks following a March 10, 2003, concert in London. Indulging in some between-song patter, singer Natalie Maines expressed shame that “the president of the United States is from Texas.”

In politics, as in comedy, timing is everything; and at the time, President George W. Bush’s popularity among the Chicks’ traditional country fans was sky-high, and the invasion of Iraq was imminent. Reaction was fast and furious. Country radio stations boycotted the Dixie Chicks’ music. Conservative talk show hosts lambasted them.

Country superstar Toby Keith got into the act by denigrating Maines in his concerts. People destroyed Dixie Chicks CDs in public protests that echoed the furor sparked by John Lennon’s 1966 “We’re more popular than Jesus now” comment. The trio’s tour had to be scaled back and rerouted to include friendlier climes (Canada). (via)

The Golden Gate Suicide Bridge Documentary

Need help? In New Zealand, you can call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or Youthline on 0800 37 66 33.

Golden Gate Bridge fog

The Bridge Documentary

“Inspired by a New Yorker story, Jumpers, written by Tad Friend, director Eric Steel decided to train cameras on the Golden Gate Bridge over the course of 2004 to capture the people who attempted to leap off the famed structure, the site of more suicides than anywhere else in the world.

He also tracked down and interviewed the friends, family members, and eyewitnesses to further recreate the events leading up to the incident and to try to explain what led these people to want to kill themselves, especially at this specific site.

The documentary’s primary subjects all struggled with mental illness, including severe depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders, and the documentary struggles to understand their illness while illuminating the anger and hurt of their loved ones.”

Eric Steel and his crew filmed the Golden Gate Bridge, which has become a suicide magnet, but has no suicide barrier, for 365 days during daylight hours. They captured 23 of the 24 suicides that took place that year (when I first watched this I didn’t realize that the 23 suicides shown weren’t reenactments).

Cue ethical dilemma of if you’re filming the bridge, and think someone who is hanging around the bridge is going to jump, should you intervene?

There’s some interesting interviews with family members, including one family who provide charming quotes like:

  • “We didn’t get a mental illness.”
  • “She wanted more and more support, do you think that was because of a medication change?” “No I think it was because she was ill.” “Oh ’cause she wasn’t feeling well.”
  • “I’ve always thought of myself as a stronger person than her.”

If you don’t want to watch the whole documentary, consider just watching Kevin Hines’ interview. He jumped, and in what could have been the last few seconds of his life, realized that he didn’t want to die. He survived.

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Image credits: Chris Willis and Kevin Cole

Christianity and Homophobia Documentary

Turn to Jesus street preaching at Bele Chere 2007

 For The Bible Tells Me So Documentary

“We meet five Christian families, each with a gay or lesbian child. Parents talk about their marriages and church-going, their children’s childhood and coming out, their reactions, and changes over time.

The stories told by these nine parents and four adult children alternate with talking heads – Protestant and Jewish theologians – and with film clips of fundamentalist preachers and pundits and news clips of people in the street.

They discuss scripture and biblical scholarship. A thesis of the film is that much of Christianity’s homophobia represents a misreading of scripture, a denial of science, and an embrace of quack psychology. The families call for love.”

Very interesting documentary. Here’s what one of the people say about the average persons interpretation of the Bible:

“You have to think when you read the Bible… the Roman Catholics are right in saying ordinary people shouldn’t be reading the Bible because usually they get it wrong, and I’m convinced that usually we do.”

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You can watch the full length documentary by downloading Veoh Web Player.

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Image credit: Michael Tracey