This episode of Quick Point looks at abortion rights in general and what’s happening in Oklahoma City to assure that women can continue to access a safe and legal abortion. A documentary airing this month on PBS looks at the efforts by state legislatures to restrict abortion access. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will rule in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt about just how far those restrictions can go in a country where abortion is a legal procedure.
This is Serena Blaiz with a Quick Point about women. Well, about reproductive justice. No, wait, right the first time. About women, who cannot and should not abide living in a democracy and not having the right, the option and the access to make their own decisions about their health, their bodies and their families. Full stop.
I’m writing/recording this on Monday June 20. Tonight, if you hear this in time, you can catch a documentary film on PBS called TRAPPED, which is about the assault on women’s access to abortion, and thus an assault on their rights and indeed on women themselves. It will be broadcast again on Sunday June 26 at 2am. It will also be available for streaming on the PBS website, under the Independent Lens program. I highly recommend it
As a recent message from the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice declared:
The greatest threat to abortion providers in the U.S. is not fanatics, it’s state legislatures. Since 2010, 288 laws regulating abortion providers have been passed in 44 states. The documentary TRAPPED captures the harm and consequences of these laws on women, families, and providers.
OCRJ is screening the film locally as well, and while their first showing has passed, the second will be in Enid this Tuesday, June 28, 2016 from 7 – 9 pm. The location is Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Enid Campus, 2929 E Randolph Ave.
Now, this film could not be more timely, because next Monday, June 27, the Supreme Court is going to rule on a challenge to two of those laws seeking to restrict abortion in a case called Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. That decision will have impact across the country to end or assure women’s right to get a safe and legal abortion without extraordinary effort and cost.
After the decision, it will be groups like OCRJ that must continue their mission to educate and advocate to make sure women’s rights are accessible in a real sense, and that stigma and these legal and social blocks to access are removed.
In an interview on PBS.org, TRAPPED’s director Dawn Porter said this about her desire to give people a full perspective of the issue, so that policy decisions are made rationally and based on facts.
51% of Americans support abortion in most or all cases, and depending on the region of the US, that support is as high as 75%. As we saw with the gay marriage issue, public opinion can be a very powerful force of social change and help move people more towards the middle of an issue. The Supreme Court’s impending decision will help as well, but legal changes need to take place in tandem with the changing of hearts and minds. I believe that changing attitudes or getting people to better grasp the complexity of this issue will come only through learning about the stories of real people with whom they can identify or for whom they can feel compassion. It is the intense, human outcomes of the abortion debate that compelled me to make TRAPPED in the first place.
Now, in central Oklahoma, we are happy to report that Trust Women out of Wichita is not waiting for the Supremes to rule before expanding into this area with a new clinic, opening soon, that will provide health services for women, including abortion. Not yet open, they’ve already been picketed by anti-choicers, so they’ve got that unfortunate right of passage out of the way.
Welcome to OKC, Trust Women. Thank you for your many years of service in Wichita and for not backing down there, or here, in your quest to make women’s choices real and women’s lives matter.
Again, TRAPPED will be aired on the Oklahoma PBS affiliate OETA on 6/20 at 9pm and 6/27 at 2 am as well as on their web site for a limited time. Watch it and prepare to hear the ruling from SCOTUS next Monday, and pray that the lives of women, the right of women are at the center of the decision. Nothing less is acceptable in a democracy that values the lives of all people.
We’ll have a longer Pointing Left Podcast on this topic later this week. We’re going to talk to representatives from Planned Parenthood, OCRJ, and hopefully also Trust Women about their newest clinic here in OKC.
Find that show, as well as past episodes, at PointingLeftMedia.com.
This is Serena Blaiz. Thanks for listening. Back soon!
Quick Point is a Pointing Left Podcast special edition, produced by Oklahoma Activist.com, under a Creative Commons license. 2016 Oklahoma Activist.