New Film Little Woods Illustrates the Harm of Restrictions to Safe, Legal Abortion
For Immediate Release: April 19, 2019
This comes amid a sweeping increase in abortion bans moving at the state level, including a 62% spike in proposed six-week abortion bans
New York, NY — The new film Little Woods, written and directed by Nia DaCosta, which premieres today in select theaters nationwide, illustrates the importance of access to safe, legal abortion and what some people experience when the only abortion provider available to them is hundreds of miles away. Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota collaborated on the script. You can watch a short video about access to abortion from the film’s director and star here.
The film takes place in North Dakota, which is one of eight states in the U.S. with only one abortion provider. Actor Lily James’ character Deb decides to end her pregnancy and learns that the closest abortion provider is hundreds of miles away and would cost hundreds of dollars more than she can afford. The unfortunate reality is that too many people in the U.S. face barriers to safe, legal abortion — including TRAP legislation, waiting periods, the availability of providers, bans on coverage for abortion, and cost.
“Emotionally authentic portrayals of sexual and reproductive health issues in film and on TV are more important now than ever because access to abortion is under constant attack from politicians,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America Director of Arts and Entertainment Engagement Caren Spruch. “Stories like Deb’s are all too common. To reduce the stigma and the silencing that many people experience with abortion and increase access to safe and legal abortion, we need to see more honest and accurate depictions of people who decide to have an abortion. Planned Parenthood applauds the filmmakers behind Little Woods for recognizing this and telling such a story.”
Little Woods shows cost and distance are major obstacles for Deb in being able to access abortion after she has decided it is the best decision for her. The unfortunate reality is that too many people in the U.S. face barriers to safe, legal abortion. Three states have enacted 6-week bans on abortion just this year, and four more are poised to do so in the coming weeks. Alabama has introduced a bill to make nearly all abortions illegal.
“It was important to me to be part of a film that shows what it’s like for people who live in an area where access to abortion is out of reach. As my character says,‘Your choices are only as good as your options are,’” said actor Tessa Thompson, star of Little Woods. “I wanted to humanize an issue that is often politicized. Everyone should be able to get the care they need, when they need it, including safe, legal abortion.”
State politicians are pushing an aggressive anti-abortion agenda that seeks to do one thing - ban abortion outright. And a post-Roe future is nearing at a rapid pace. Proposed six-week abortion bans skyrocketed by 62 percent in 2019 compared to this time last year, and would ban abortion before many people know they’re pregnant. And nearly half of all abortion restrictions introduced this year have been abortion bans. These bans go beyond rhetoric, they will have dire consequences for the future of women in this country, and they are starting to land on Governors’ desks at a rapid pace.
More than 420 restrictions on abortion have been signed into law since 2011. These laws have decimated access to abortion and driven polarizing inequities in abortion access. Restrictions on abortion have shuttered clinic doors and left entire swaths of the country without access to abortion, disproportionately impacting those with low incomes, people of color, and those living in rural communities.
As the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood is committed to providing patients with high-quality, confidential, and non-judgmental care, including abortion, in a safe and compassionate environment. We believe every patient deserves accurate information about all of their options so they can make their own, fully-informed health care decisions — whether that be to have an abortion, choose adoption, or raise a child — and that if they decide to have an abortion, they get high-quality, compassionate care. At Planned Parenthood, we support the patients who come to us; we give them the information to make the best decision for themselves; and we work hard to make sure they do not face financial hardship because of their health care decisions. It’s why one in five women in America has come to us for care at some point.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.