It’s been just over two weeks since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a decision that has reverberated around the world, calling into question fundamental rights that many have taken for granted over the last few decades. As we continue to consider its devastating implications, here are five compelling films—both moving dramas and harrowing documentaries—which highlight the importance of abortion access and will inspire you to take action.
Reversing Roe (2018)
For a fascinating overview of the abortion debate, with contributions from the likes of Gloria Steinem, begin with Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg’s blistering documentary. Over a hair-raising hour and a half, it unpacks how the issue—viewed by many in the ’70s as a medical concern rather than a partisan problem—was increasingly politicized, sparking division and violence, and paving the way to our distressing present.
How to watch: Stream on Netflix.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)
Richly nuanced and almost painfully intimate, Eliza Hittman’s masterful drama tracks a stoic teenager and her supportive cousin as they travel from rural Pennsylvania to New York to end the former’s unexpected pregnancy. The performances, from newcomers Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder, are note perfect, and the heart-wrenching ending even more powerful considering how many more women will have to make similar journeys across the country in the coming years.
How to watch: Stream on Amazon, Apple TV, or YouTube.
Audrey Diwan’s Golden Lion winner is difficult but essential viewing: the story of a promising young student (Anamaria Vartolomei) in ’60s France who is driven to procure a backstreet abortion at a time when the procedure was criminalized, in the hopes of saving her future. Paced like a thriller and clear-eyed about the unthinkable choices so many people had to make then, and still have to make now, it’s an urgent reminder of the dangers of going backwards.
How to watch: See in select theaters, or stream on Amazon, Apple TV, or YouTube.
Lingui, the Sacred Bonds (2021)
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How to watch: Stream on HBO Max.