On Friday January 25, the Hop will screen Reversing Roe, a film documenting the intensely politicized issue of abortion rights in the US. Even while taking a pro-abortion stance, the documentary brings together voices from all sides of the “debate”— feminists, politicians, healthcare providers, priests— to properly historicize the issue. After the 7 pm screening on Friday, directors Ricki Stern ’87 and Annie Sundberg ’90 will engage in a discussion, joined by two key women in the documentary, former Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis and Dr. Colleen McNicholas. Read on to learn more about their roles in the legal and medical fight for securing reproductive rights of women.
Davis, who represented District 10 in the Texas Senate from 2009 to 2015, is most known for her 11-hour filibuster in the Texas Senate on June 25, 2013, over Senate Bill 5, a bill that sought to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and would have set requirements that clinics would have found practically impossible to fulfill. Despite her successful filibuster, the bill passed in the next special session. In such a political and legal context dominated by anti-abortion sentiment, Davis as a senator showed her unrelenting commitment to secure not only reproductive rights for women, but also gun safety and LGBT rights. She has been out of office for three years but still actively works on gender equity and abortion rights through her organization Deeds Not Words.
Below, watch 13 hours to Midnight, a documentary capturing Davis’s 2013 marathon filibuster:
Like Senator Davis, Dr. McNicholas also works in Texas, along with other states in the American Midwest and South. She is one of the few medical practitioners who still perform abortions in the area, dubbed an “abortion desert.”However, as policy and the socio-political climate constantly provides hurdles to her medical practice (Kansas-based provider Dr. George Tiller was shot dead in 2009), Dr. McNicholas has found it necessary to supplement her medical practice with more overt forms of advocacy and activism. Most significantly, she has testified in several legal proceedings, including before the Missouri Legislature on a bill making medical abortions inaccessible in 2013.
Visit the Guttmacher Institute webpage to learn about the most updated abortion rights in the US by state.
Meet these inspiring women on screen and off as they talk about their experiences in the uphill battle for women’s reproductive rights in America.