Directed by Dorothy Fadiman • Documentary • 1993 • 28 minutes
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short
The era of illegal abortion, roughly the period between the turn of the century and the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, has been a sealed chapter in women's history.
The profound aura of shame and fear surrounding unwanted pregnancies and abortions before Roe v. Wade kept most women from ever admitting that they had had illegal abortions. Women suffering complications from back alley or self-induced abortions risked arrest if they admitted what they had done, as did their husbands and doctors if they acknowledged compliance and aid.
WHEN ABORTION WAS ILLEGAL illuminates this largely undocumented era and reveals the physical, emotional and legal consequences of having an abortion when it was a criminal act.
"Its tone is quietly eloquent, never hysterical... a picture of long-remembered fear and last ditch desperation." —Little Rock Free Press