‘Abortion: Stories Women Tell’ reviews HBO documentary


“Abortion: Stories from Women” is HBO’s latest advocacy-focused documentary chronicling the impact of Missouri’s abortion restrictions on people forced to cross the border into Illinois to seek procedures. Spared and sober, it’s a solid look at how the issue remains raw, although given how entrenched opinions are, it’s unlikely to change many hearts or minds.

Director Tracy Droz’s 93-minute film Tragos unfolds from the perspective of multiple women. This includes a few who demand abortions as well as activists on both sides of the issue, including one who regularly protests outside the clinic around which most of the stories revolve.

The story is more varied than the title suggests, but the underlying message is clear: while Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court 43 years ago, getting an abortion has gotten much harder in recent years. due to legislation enacted by the pros. -Lifetime legislators, like Missouri’s 72-hour waiting period.

The project is essentially entrusted to Amie, a 30-year-old single mother who works 70 to 90 hours a week. “I can’t put my family through another kid right now,” she said, before driving more than two hours through Illinois.

Many of the women who are already mothers speak of financial and economic difficulties. “I can’t have a baby right now,” one said, her voice tinged with resignation.

Other participants face other personal challenges and concerns. One was abused by her husband. Another found out that the man who got her pregnant is married. In one case, the woman is carrying a baby that she knows is not viable.

For most, the choice is clearly agonizing. As for the activists, the most invigorating moments involve an exchange at the University of Missouri, where a woman distributing anti-abortion leaflets is confronted with her opinions.

Small groups of picketers are also shown gathering outside the clinic, with one man using a megaphone to amplify warnings such as “God is going to destroy America”. Given past acts of violence against abortion providers, it’s chilling to hear a doctor say protesters showed up at her home.

Originally from Missouri, Droz Tragos offers a series of intimate portraits, in the service of a film imbued with an inherent sense of futility. Abortion remains an almost hopeless source of societal division, with little evidence that either side has much patience politically to listen to the other.

It would be nice, of course, to see more understanding and empathy, or at least more charity of spirit. But this is not the space in which the abortion debate takes place, regardless of the stories women tell.

“Abortion: Stories Told by Women” hits theaters August 12. It will air next year on HBO.

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