New York, NY - Today, the Golden Globe-nominated film 20th Century Women opens in theaters nationwide. The film addresses very real aspects of women’s health and issues that many people face, including the worry of an unintended pregnancy, cervical cancer, and access to affordable contraception, and shows characters who rely on Planned Parenthood for health care. The film is set in the late 70s, yet these are concerns that women in America continue to have every day and people all across the country continue to depend on Planned Parenthood for quality, affordable care.
Planned Parenthood consulted on the film and Planned Parenthood California Central Coast shared information and resources about Planned Parenthood health centers in the 70s.
“The film 20th Century Women illustrates the importance of sexual and reproductive health care, including the need for Planned Parenthood health centers, for women throughout their lives,” said Caren Spruch, director of arts and entertainment engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Accurate and authentic portrayals of sexual and reproductive health on TV and in film are more important than ever as women’s health and rights are in jeopardy.”
Extreme politicians are trying to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood health centers, and it would have a devastating impact on women and health care if they succeed. Those hurt the most would be those struggling to get by and also those who already face barriers to accessing health care — especially people of color, people with low incomes, as well as people who live in rural areas. Without Planned Parenthood, many of our patients would have nowhere else to go for care.
“The people at Planned Parenthood were so helpful to me with the writing and preproduction of 20th Century Women,” said Mike Mills, director of 20th Century Women. “They connected me with people who worked in Planned Parenthood offices in the 70’s to make sure every aspect of my scenes were correct, from the language counselors used to the very particular decor and dress of the people in those offices, to the overarching philosophy and attitude of the women who worked there. It was very important to me that we capture this moment in women’s reproduction rights accurately and they were so generous and helpful to me.”
Real, honest depictions of people’s lives, sexuality, and health include portrayals of different gender identities and sexual orientations, taking birth control, making a decision about a pregnancy, getting tested for STIs, disclosing your HIV status to a partner -- these are all a normal part of people’s sexual and romantic lives and should also be a normal part of what we see on TV and in film. These portrayals play an important role in reducing stigma and creating the kind of culture where people aren’t afraid to seek out the information they need and the care they deserve.
“Pop culture has the power to challenge stigma and change the conversation around sexual and reproductive health care. We’re thrilled that the filmmakers behind 20th Century Women recognize this,” Spruch added. “The power of women’s stories has been a force for change over the decades -- that’s why films like this one are so important. Julie and Abbie are not unlike the patients we see every day at our nearly 650 health centers nationwide and rely on us to be there for them.”
The fight to expand women’s health and rights has always been a struggle. But in the ‘70s and today, there have always been people who have needed the care that Planned Parenthood health centers provide. We are proud to provide this care and to support women, who like the characters in the film, are able to take control of their lives and their futures.
For the past century, Planned Parenthood has transformed women’s health and empowered millions of people worldwide to make informed health decisions, forever changing the way they live, love, learn and work. Our doctors, clinicians, staff, activists and supporters have been on the front lines of securing reproductive rights and expanding access to quality, compassionate care. Planned Parenthood has been around for 100 years and we will fight like hell to keep our doors open so that women, like Abbie and Julie in the film, can continue to come to us for the basic health care services they need, like birth control and cancer screening.
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 approximately 700 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.
January 20, 2017