Filmmaker Tracy Droz Tragos hopes that her new documentary, “Abortion: Stories Women Tell,” will move people to compassion when they listen to women share the difficult circumstances that led them to choose abortion. Unfortunately, her film extends no compassion for unborn children.
Tragos told Pop Sugar that she was troubled by all the new abortion restrictions in her home state of Missouri. She said she decided to base her new documentary in Missouri and feature the stories of women affected by abortion and the state laws.
Tragos (pictured) never had an abortion herself, but she interviewed more than 40 women who had experiences with it. She also interviewed several pro-lifers in what she said was an effort to present a more balanced view of the issue. These included a sidewalk counselor and a woman who had several abortions and now encourages women to choose life. The filmmaker said she tried not to “demonize” pro-lifers, but her film is solidly pro-abortion.
According to the article, “The resulting film makes a compelling case that women’s reproductive rights are eroding not only in states like Missouri but across the country, and that we can’t afford to be complacent about it.”
Most of the stories in the film are about struggling pregnant and parenting moms. Aborting their unborn babies is presented as a solution to their problems. Despite the push for abortion, Tragos did bring up one good point that both sides are concerned about – the absence of fathers and the burden that falls heavily onto the mothers.
“From what I saw, and the people that I met, there wasn’t a lot of active participation from the men in the picture,” she said. “It’s a burden that’s really borne by women, and so they’re not allowed to have personal agency.”
However, Tragos’ solution was not to teach or require men to be responsible fathers, but to allow women to “choose” to abort their unborn children. This “choice” often puts an even greater burden on many women, and Tragos interviewed one of them.
A pro-lifer featured in the documentary had several abortions and talked about the guilt and shame she felt when she realized that she had killed her unborn children. Rather than recognize that abortions can hurt women as well as their babies, Tragos criticized pro-lifers for talking about abortion regret.
“That’s not part of everyone’s story; I think it’s rather presumptuous to put that on other women,” she said. “It doesn’t leave room for the stories of women who decided [to abort], but who also have mixed feelings. … I think when people put judgment on top of that, it’s just piling on the bullying, where there really just needs to be a space of ‘what you feel is OK; it’s a decision between you and your doctor.’”
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Later in the interview, she added:
PS: Have you kept in touch with some of the women you met? I’m especially interested to know where Amie, who in some ways is the anchor of the film, is today.
TDT: She has really blossomed with this platform and really feels strongly about being a voice for women. When she first agreed to be a part of the film, I think she was angry and really disenfranchised and felt judged. She was still living with this “I’m a bad person” and had this defensiveness, like “I am not a bad person. I’m trying to get by.” When she came to the premiere, the audience was really incredibly wonderful. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had that feeling of it being praised instead of shunned and shamed?
Tragos’ hope for the film is that it will “create a community of sorts that makes abortion not so shameful, or stigmatized, or something that has to be uttered in a whisper.”
“My hope is that this film can contribute in any kind of way to that sharing of stories, and it would be amazing if it had a snowball effect and more women came forward and talked about it. Because that’s where we can change things. We can see each other as human beings and there’s more compassion.”
Compassion is vitally important when women are struggling, especially with a difficult pregnancy. Pro-lifers agree with Tragos that women need better support and resources, and men should be more responsible as fathers. But Tragos limits her compassion to the women alone. She said she wants people to view other human beings with compassion, but she herself fails to extend that compassion to the most vulnerable human beings of all – babies in the womb.