Ahead of the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade this Friday, the Center for Reproductive Rights unveiled a new PSA on abortion access, with real abortion stories performed for the first time by seven actresses. In the videos, Elizabeth Banks, Dascha Polanco, Bellamy Young, Amy Brenneman, Mercedes Mason, Mary McCormack, and Retta give voice to the struggles and triumphs of the American women who submitted their stories.
Directed by Betty Thomas, this national “Draw the Line” campaign series presents narratives about safe, legal abortions and reproductive rights, encouraging people to share their own stories and sign a petition. On March 2, the Supreme Court will hear its first abortion case in more than 20 years, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole.
“The reality is that one in three women in the U.S. will have an abortion at some point in her lifetime,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We need to make it clear to politicians exactly what’s at stake when they attack our reproductive freedom and fundamental rights.”
Read on for edited excerpts with links to videos of each woman’s powerful story — about abortions that arose out of abusive relationships, ectopic pregnancies, and the one friend who was there to help.
Elizabeth Banks tells Rebecca’s story: “My Friend Supported My Choice”
“She saw the bruises and knew my boyfriend hit me, not just once, and not accidentally. I already knew she was against abortion. I told her that I could not have my abuser’s baby. I waited for her judgment, and it never came.”
Mary McCormack tells Susanne’s story: “I Had No Real Choice”
“When my water broke at only 15 weeks into my pregnancy, I knew I was in preterm labor and my son would not survive. The doctor said, It’s the hospital’s policy not to perform abortions, we won’t risk our reputation. I had no real choice. I was in labor for 17 hours to deliver my son, who died just moments after.”
Mercedes Mason tells Laura’s story: “Parenthood Should Be a Gift, Not a Punishment”
“Every single family-planning service I called would only talk to me about adoption. I wanted an abortion, period. After exhausting every single avenue I could think of, I called the most qualified family planner I knew, my mom. I will never forget what she said to me: ‘Being a parent should be a gift, not a punishment.’”
Dascha Polanco tells Kayleigh’s story: “I Wouldn’t Let Anyone Bully Me”
“I was a full-time student with a full-time job. I made the best decision possible for me: I scheduled an abortion. But in Texas, once I had made my decision, there were a whole bunch of obstacles that others put in my way. I am a woman who trusts her own opinions. I was not about to let anyone bully me.”
Bellamy Young tells Faith’s story: “I Was Made to Feel Like a Criminal”
“I’m a nurse, I’m a mother, I have epilepsy. But an unplanned pregnancy put both my job and my health at risk.”
Amy Brenneman tells Whitney’s story: “Out of Sorrow, Great Joy”
“We hoped to learn if our 2-year-old would be getting a little brother or a little sister. Instead, 19 weeks into our pregnancy my husband and I were told that my ultrasound showed anomalies consistent with a devastating chromosomal condition.”
Retta tells Rosario’s story: “I Was Lucky”
“I wanted a baby so badly my partner and I had undergone years of unpleasant and expensive infertility treatments. The pregnancy was ectopic. This serious complication threatened both my pregnancy and my life. My choice with my partner and my doctor was to save my life. I had a doctor who was protecting my body and my rights as they walked me across the street for emergency surgery.”