'Frontline: The Abortion Divide'
(DVD / NC-17 / 2019 / PBS)
Overview: 'Frontline: The Abortion Divide' takes you inside the fight over abortion through the stories of women struggling with unplanned pregnancies.
Drawing on a landmark FRONTLINE documentary, Abortion Clinic, from the 1983, a look at both sides of the divide in a community still embroiled in the conflict.
DVD Verdict: In 1983 - 10 years after Roe v. Wade - a landmark FRONTLINE documentary, Abortion Clinic, showed the experience of and conflict over abortion like never before on American television.
Now, 36 years later, FRONTLINE returns to Pennsylvania to look at both sides of the abortion debate in The Abortion Divide.
This film offers a window into the sometimes difficult and deeply personal choices women face with unplanned pregnancy - and examines the steadfast belief of the anti-abortion community that there should be no choice at all.
From producers Mark Obenhaus and Elizabeth Leiter, 'The Abortion Divide' offers a window into the sometimes difficult and deeply personal choices women face with unplanned pregnancy – and examines the steadfast belief of the anti-abortion community that there should be no choice at all.
“I returned to Pennsylvania and found a community bitterly divided over abortion in ways I could not have imagined,” says Obenhaus, who directed Abortion Clinic for FRONTLINE 36 years ago.
“When the first film was shot, security was light and the first thing I noticed about the clinic is the bulletproof glass that separates the public areas from the clinic itself.”
“Abortion is a topic that can quickly become overwhelmed by political and legal battles,” says Leiter. “What’s often left out of the conversation are the real human experiences and the complex decisions that women face. That’s where we hope this documentary sheds light.”
With intimate access, the film follows women struggling with unplanned pregnancies, doctors and nurses who provide abortions, as well as those who counsel women against the procedure.
In both films, anti-abortion protestors serve as a constant reminder of the intensity of the conflict – and in recent years, there has been an increase in abortion clinic invasions and threats against providers.
Dr. Lisa Perreira of the Philadelphia Women’s Center tells FRONTLINE she has experienced this firsthand: “I’m not afraid of being threatened by protesters, but it is framed in reality, there are people who are violent towards abortion providers,” she says.
Most of the women at the clinic who were asked to participate in 'The Abortion Divide' declined, but those who chose to speak told FRONTLINE they wanted their stories to be heard.
Through inside accounts from providers, patients and activists, 'The Abortion Divide' documents the changes in abortion procedures and practices - and illustrates the reality that the battle over abortion in America seems to be far from over. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.