Since the passage of Roe vs. Wade in 1973, anti-choice forces have been making it their mission to dismantle women's reproductive freedom. They came together, brilliantly strategized, pooled their resources, and slowly but steadily they have been implementing their attack. Their weapons: money, the legal system, the government, the media, the church, and - this is the scariest of all - you.
Armed with their slogans and their chants and their gigantic bloody posters, they got to you, too. And by "you" I mean the post-1973 generation. They took advantage of the fact that you never lived during a time when abortion was illegal so you had no frame of reference for the plight of desperate women with unintended pregnancies whose only option would be to carry to term or self-abort. They used the insidious weapon of guilt to get you to question your belief in the right of women to have control over their own bodies. They got you to forget that denying women the right to choose makes them oppressed by virtue of the fact that they cannot control their own bodily fate. They channeled your discomfort with the reality of life and death to convince you that the brave, courageous individuals who do the work of providing abortions are immoral and deserving of jail time and hatred for helping women. They changed the way we spoke about abortion by inventing loaded, inaccurate terms like "partial birth abortion" and "fetal pain" and "post abortion syndrome" - none of which are concepts that previously existed outside of antichoice vernacular - but nevertheless have stupefied and scared even the most radical of us.
As a result, we have conceded much hard-won ground the women's and pro-choice movements fought so desperately hard to win. Despite all of the gains we have made, we are still living in a world that hates the idea of women having control over their reproductive lives.
However, the good news is it is not too late. When time calls for revolution, revolutionaries will emerge. This purpose of this documentary is to provide a flash of truth about the lived realities of women and the need for safe, legal abortion access that will wake us from this lotus-eater sleep that makes us think the current status quo is okay. Denying women access to abortion forces them to either carry a fetus to term that they do not want, or take their chances ending the pregnancy themselves or with the help of an underground provider who may or may not know what they are doing. It is beyond injustice, beyond horriflying, to put this burden on women. The Coat Hanger Project aims to provide a radical, fierce, unflinchingly prochoice perspective and show the world that we can stand strong as advocates for women's reproductive freedom.
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"We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to [male] citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever."
—Susan B. Anthony, Declaration of Rights for Women, July 1876