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Web Series Destigmatizes Abortion Through Story
January 22nd of this year marked the 45th anniversary of the groundbreaking Roe v. Wade case. According to the Supreme Court, the women of America finally had the right to an abortion. Unfortunately, this ruling did not fix everything. The Hyde Amendment was quickly passed; “pro-life” groups and churches continue to harass women outside healthcare facilities; politicians pass TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws to shut down clinics and block women from abortion access. While activists and politicians work to fight these barriers, the stigma around abortion continues to follow women throughout their lives. Enter Roni Geva and Margaret Katch: two creators who are working to destigmatize abortion through story.
The web series Ctrl Alt Delete follows 7 women – Roni, Philippa, Eve, Dani, Ashley, Margaret, and Whitney – when each of them find a plus symbol on their at-home pregnancy tests. Unlike most mainstream characters, none of these women are happy to find themselves pregnant. At different times, all of them make their way to the same clinic, wait in the same waiting room – frequented by an abortion-fairy-godmother named Lorna, who has had 5 abortions – speak with a counselor, and have the procedure done. The women are surrounded by a colorful cast of characters, including fathers, husbands, friends, pro-life protesters, doctors, nurses, and of course, Lorna.
The stories cover many of the harsh realities women encounter when they have abortions. They face harassers that do not adhere to buffer zone laws (which in this instance is a measly 11 feet). They deal with inappropriate comments from doctors (“Any allergies?... Just babies, huh?”). They are asked if they would like to see an ultrasound of the fetus (and if they would like to be told if it’s twins). They are handed propaganda and petitions by people trying to politicize their decisions (ever heard of the Zero Population Growth Movement?). And while the series shows us what it can be like for a woman, it also shows us what it should be like.
There are beautiful moments where the women get the support they need from their loved one. One woman’s father drives her to the clinic, insisting he doesn’t want to miss his daughter’s first abortion. One woman’s husband brings her snacks while she rests on the couch afterwards. Another woman’s friend picks her up from the clinic with beer and party hats. While it doesn’t make light of the decision these women made, the series doesn’t portray it as a life-shattering event either. In this world, abortion happens.
According to Wikipedia, the function of the Ctrl+Alt+Del keyboard command “differs depending on the context but it generally interrupts or facilitates interrupting a function.” The same could be said for the stories in this series, but not only in terms of “interruption.” All the women have different backgrounds and reasons for wanting an abortion. Eve is a successful high school student who wants to go to college. Ashley has three daughters and can’t afford another child. Dani only just met the guy and she isn’t ready for “like to be love” yet. We know these girls. They are our friends, our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, and ourselves. While these abortion stories are all different, this film shows us that “all are normal.”
Link to trailer: https://vimeo.com/194380989