Reproductive rights films
as organizing tools

by Aimee J. Frank and Abigail Norman

from Jump Cut, no. 31, March 1986, pp. 36-38
copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1986, 2006

When the New Right thundered into Washington in 1980, women's organizations across the country braced themselves for the offensive attack. The race to overturn the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion had been escalating since 1973, but now Right-to-Life supporter were in positions to effect policy decisions.[1][open notes in new window] By the thousands, women across the country swelled the memberships of pro-abortion and reproductive rights organizations in defense. As a result of the need for more organizing, the demand for media on the issues grew as well.

With one of us on staff at the Media Network and the other with the Reproductive Rights National Network,[2] we were increasingly asked to recommend "a good organizing film" on reproductive rights. We met in 1982, combined our resources, and decided to produce a Guide to Films on Reproductive Rights.[3]

The concept of reproductive rights grew out of the past twenty years of campaigning for abortion rights and against sterilization abuse. Its roots were nourished by both feminism and a left critique of economic inequality. Reproductive rights are those which would allow us to gain control of our own reproductive and sexual lives. The rights include the following:

  • access to safe, legal, funded abortion;
  • freedom from involuntary sterilization;
  • access to information about contraception;
  • safe and affordable health care;
  • the right to have or not have children;
  • and the right to live openly as lesbian or gay without social or economic sanctions.

Since broad social structures limit the options available to us, a society that permits self-determination would also require access to economic resources, adequate employment, quality child care, an end to racism, and a safe environment in which to live and work.

As we began our research, we found that reproductive rights groups, for the most part, used the same half a dozen films and knew of few others. With distributors' catalogues in hand and with support from the Film Fund, we decided to hold our own evaluative screenings. We called together some fifty panelists from diverse backgrounds and showed over one hundred films, videotapes, and slideshows. The comments of the panelists — four or five of whom saw any one film — formed the basis of the evaluative descriptions we wrote.[4]

Our goal was to create a valuable resource for organizers, and we hoped that the Guide would encourage more of them to use media. We began with the assumption that any film that supported our position on a particular issue, if it was well-made and reflected women's experiences with some accuracy, would automatically be useful in organizing. We sought films that would clearly explain the issues and encourage audience discussions and even activism.

Viewing and evaluating so many films raised questions for us about what makes films work well in organizing, particularly in reproductive rights organizing. There are two factors we considered in determining how a particular film could best be used: the film's analysis and its form. We found that most of the films fell into three categories, each presenting a different approach to organizing and different problems for organizers to address.[5] In the discussion that follows, we describe the strengths and weaknesses of each form, and we suggest aspects of the issues which remain unexamined in the films. We want to make readers aware that films on reproductive rights issues exist, to encourage filmmakers to produce work that will be more useful to multi-issue organizers, and most importantly to stimulate a debate on the issue of film as an organizing tool.


In the early 1970s, feminist filmmakers emerged as a part of the renewed women's movement, reflecting the movement's political commitments. Some of their films were fantasies, some renditions of events, some experimental and abstract. But most prevalent was the documentary that utilized an essential tool of the women's movement: consciousness-raising. Consciousness-raising allowed women to share their secrets and discover what they had in common. Identifying particular commonalities allowed for an understanding of women's oppression and the development of an ideology of women's liberation.

These new filmmakers wanted to portray women as women saw themselves rather than as men saw them. The filmmakers wanted to make women's lives visible and expose certain issues basic to sexism. Woman after woman spoke to the camera about her experiences with abortion, childraising, orgasm, rape, marriage. Or the camera followed individual women through their daily routines. Like consciousness-raising, the films set out to let women speak for themselves, and the audiences could now identify more genuinely with the women on screen.[6]

Today, in many of the films and tapes we screened, women still recount their experiences and feelings in the familiar "talking heads" style. The form is anything but innovative, but the films are significant because the women are discussing areas of their lives that have still too rarely been revealed. It is striking that the best of the recent productions that follow this form are videotapes that portray black women and address questions of race, class, and living on a low income — issues that the mainstream women's movement has been relatively slow to recognize and confront.

In OUR LIVES ON THE LINE (1980), for example, a group of black women discuss what having an abortion meant to them, the problems they faced in obtaining one, and the pervasive racism they experienced in counseling and health care delivery. In WHAT IF YOU HAD NO CHOICE? (1982), one black and three white women dwell on the reasons they sought illegal abortions ten years earlier, the trauma they experienced, and how economic conditions influenced their decisions. In A MOTHER IS A MOTHER (1982), seven black teenage mothers discuss their lives, their hopes and dreams for their children and themselves, and the obstacles they face in reaching their goals.

These films effectively reveal how an issue has concretely affected women's lives and make audiences aware of problems they may never have known existed. The form works well because it allows the audience to identify with the speakers who propose a new way of thinking about women's experiences. Some feminists have argued that changes in the consciousness of group do constitute a form of social change.[7] And the complaints in these films and tapes do amount to implicit demands for concrete change. Yet the tapes do not show actual organizing attempts. Moreover, they offer no coherent analysis of the problems they reveal. That is, they neither identify the causes of the problems nor propose a strategy to resolve them. This must come from outside of the film and tape itself.


A large number of films we screened represent a second form, focusing on concrete action as they trace actual organizing campaigns. The most successful examples explore reproductive hazards in the workplace.[8] Here, the film's action occurs within a small arena — one plant, for example — which serves as a microcosm of a larger struggle. These films adopt some of the strategies of the dramatic films we know and love. The audience gets to know individual leaders and key players in the campaign. We identify with them, and through them experience the action as these people respond concretely, practically, and dramatically to the problems they face.

Few of these documentaries, of course, allow the kind of full, rich character development often found in full-length dramatic narratives. Yet the same principle is at work. As in a conventional dramatic plot, a problem arises or is perceived. Individuals meet the challenge, and the conflict is resolved — or not, as the case may be.

In PREGNANT BUT EQUAL (1982), a group of factory workers organize to press for improved conditions and benefits for pregnant workers at their plant. The film records their participation in the fight to pass the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which made it illegal for employers to discriminate against pregnant workers. In one of two stories in SONG OF THE CANARY (1979), one of the few films we saw about men, male workers confront the owners of a chemical plant to protest handling conditions for powerful farm pesticides that are leaving the workers sterile. A segment in WORKER TO WORKER (1980) tells of two workers in another pesticide plant who fight for compensation when their children are born with rare heart defects.

In these films, unlike Hollywood movies, individuals bond together to face their problems, and they win not through personal growth or one individual's extraordinary qualities but by exercising unity, developing a strategy, and, from the perspective of the film, having morality on their side. If the particular campaign does not end in victory, the films ask the audience to envision victory somewhere in the future.

In contrast to the consciousness-raising films, these films show people actually involved in organizing work. A small group of people first share their perceptions of the problem. They then work to broaden their support among others who share their situation. They hold meetings, publicize their campaign, and participate in strikes or confrontations. They share with the audience a sense of what occurs between those struggling for control and those unwilling to relinquish it. Where the consciousness-raising films begin and end with the quality of experience, these films begin by identifying a problem and then detail the ways people have organized to change it. The attempts to change a situation are made concrete.


It is no accident that in almost all of the films we mention in this "follow the campaign" genre, the action occurs in the workplace. Looking for a reason, we realized that the tactics employed in workplace organizing differ from those feminist campaigns based on non-workplace demands. This raised questions for us of how a film's form reflects the kind of social change that is being pursued, the type of campaign undertaken, and the arena or context in which the change or the campaign takes place.

A strike is a familiar action in which workers withhold their labor from their employers until their demands are met. And labor unions are familiar organizations, formed to organize workers and negotiate on their behalf. But what feminists want differs in certain ways from labor's traditional demands. The kinds of organizations and structure in which we have come together, diverse as they are, differ from unions. Labor struggles occur within the arena of the company, and, more broadly, the realm of economics. But as we begin to touch on other reproductive issues, we move out of the realm that can be simply defined as economic, although it does intersect with economic constraints. As women, we experience sexual inequality and determine strategies to effect the changes we want in a different conjunction of public and private arenas.

A comparison of two films on women's health care demonstrates how two groups of filmmakers emphasized either class or gender, as the filmmakers defined the arena in which the struggle for adequate health care for women takes place.[9]

The only non-labor film we saw that successfully follows an organizing campaign is THE CHICAGO MATERNITY CENTER STORY (1970).[10] Here a community-based maternity clinic is to be replaced by a big "women's" hospital in Chicago. The first half of the film depicts the Center's role in the community as the film follows one mother through the experience of childbirth. In the second half, a multi-racial group of mothers who rely on the Center organize against the Board of Directors' efforts to close it. The women fail to save the Center, but the film ends by urging the audience to continue to fight for decent, low-cost community health care.

The other film on women's health care, released a year earlier, takes a different approach. In HEALTHCARING: FROM OUR END OF THE SPECULUM (1976), a number of women tell stories of abuses they have faced in medical treatment, from unnecessary surgery to drug experimentation. As solutions, two women demonstrate how to use a plastic speculum for gynecological self-examination, and a women's clinic participates in a health fair.

THE CHICAGO MATERNITY CENTER STORY shares with labor organizing films an emphasis on economic structures and concentrates on how corporate power works against community control of a basic social institution. Although those affected by the hospital's decision to end its home birth program and close the clinic are all women, the film avoids an explicit analysis of sexual politics, failing to ask why it is women, as a group, who are affected.

HEALTHCARING, conversely, identifies male control as the sole problem of the medical profession and addresses sexual politics outside of any economic context. Its analysis belongs to a school of feminist thought which holds that society, and therefore the medical profession, defines women solely by our capacity for reproduction. Therefore, to gain autonomy over our lives, the film advocates that women take control of our reproductive health through wide use of self-help methods, both individual (speculum) and collective (women-controlled clinics).

Both films contain narrated segments using almost identical graphic collages to illustrate the historical process during which male medical professionals replaced female midwives in gynecological and obstetric care. But while the narration in THE CHICAGO MATERNITY CENTER STORY emphasizes the growth of corporate control over pharmaceuticals and medical services, HEALTHCARING's narration underscores the increasing maleness of professional medicine.

Outside of this historical collage, the political focus of each film demands a different set of images to depict and explain women's problems with health care and our approaches to solving them. THE CHICAGO MATERNITY CENTER STORY sets up a struggle on economic grounds: While the community defends the clinic, the Board defends its ledger sheet. The battle is waged between the community that relies on the service and the powers that want to remove it.

HEALTHCARING shows neither a service to be saved nor an economic right to be defended. There is no campaign or confrontation between two sides, although a male-female tension is clearly apparent. Not unlike the consciousness-raising films we discussed earlier, HEALTHCARING must turn to women's descriptions of their experiences to reveal the kind of women's oppression not easily revealed by a documentary camera. Part of the solution, the film implicitly suggests, comes from a change in women's awareness, their new ability to compare experiences and identify the problems as ones women face. This remains powerful, even if the self-help solutions the film otherwise recommends are limited and perhaps naive because they are so unsystematic.

The politics of these films raise a recurring issue within feminist politics: the question of emphasis on class and gender. Contrary to a reproductive rights perspective which examines the relation between these, these two films stress one over the other. Thus neither film acknowledges that the problem is not solely one of capitalist control of medicine nor control by men. Any analysis of women's health care issues requires an understanding of the intersection of male and corporate control.[11] Such an analysis would also have to consider the politics of race, which neither of these films really do.

Furthermore, the dichotomy between the two films betrays their acceptance of the traditional view that class issues are fought out publicly, at the workplace, while gender issues are fought out privately, at home, in sexual and domestic relationships. In reality, the lines are not so clearly drawn.[12] Class and gender inequalities both affect private lire and erupt within the public arena.

If feminist filmmakers are going to employ the "organizing campaign" form, they must identify clear arenas of conflict in which to stage their stories. The state, for example, makes abortion legal or illegal, controls the accessibility of contraception, limits the practice of midwifery, regulates prescription drugs, issues sterilization guidelines, and adjudicates child custody cases. Much of state activity serves privileged interests within gender, class, and racial relationships. But feminists also demand state involvement in these areas, such as the support of favorable legislation, the enforcement of compliance, and funding.

In our film search, we found few films that reflect an explicit understanding of the role of the state as an arena and actor in social conflict. LA OPERACION (1982, discussed in JUMP CUT No. 29), is a notable exception, exposing the use of coercive sterilization programs to manipulate the population of Puerto Rico. But it suffers from the same weakness as THE CHICAGO MATERNITY CENTER STORY, failing to take sufficient note that these sterilizations are practiced on women. And it does not, in the context of our argument, follow the "organizing campaign" form.

The Left has developed sophisticated theories about the role of the state — supporting inequitable social relations but periodically forced to incorporate reforms to ameliorate the problems caused by inequality. But little. theory of the state begins from a feminist perspective.[13] It is an obvious challenge to filmmakers to capture images of state activity on the part of conflicting interests and the impact of state action on both sides. It is a challenge to both filmmakers and organizers to identify other arenas in which we can make demands and win.


A third style of filmmaking, the advocacy film, differs from the first two in its presentation and treatment of its subject. The advocacy films are structured around particular political issues rather than experiences. They do not carry their audiences along with a set of characters but instead attempt to persuade through argument. Official speakers, experienced organizers, and experts are portrayed in these films to explain the issues and define the terms of the debate. These films are good organizing tools because they disseminate important information and posit persuasive political arguments. But they also establish a more rigid definition of problems and solutions. Thus advocacy films are more closed to interpretation than those which follow a consciousness-raising or organizing campaign model.

Both consciousness-raising films and those which follow organizing campaigns leave analysis largely to the audience. This creates a relative flexibility of interpretation, which allows speakers to discuss and elaborate upon points raised on the films in light of their needs as reproductive rights organizers. In contrast, if an advocacy film's politics are those of the organizer, that film is often invaluable. If not, its political perspective can pose problems. If one of these films lacks a reproductive rights analysis, a reproductive rights organizer then has to spend a great deal of time broadening and contextualizing the film's narrow analysis in order to discuss reproductive rights with the audience.

Not surprisingly, the advocacy films we viewed tended to support one of the two political positions of the women's movement on the issues of reproductive control: a single-issue or pro-choice approach and a reproductive rights approach. The more mainstream single-issue position is represented by groups that view access to abortion as a legal and medical right for women and devote their efforts toward lobbying for legislation to keep abortion legal. Lacking an analysis of class and race, they often rely on arguments for population control and overlook the inequitable distribution of economic resources that helps to make population growth a problem.

Reproductive rights groups view legal abortion as an important aspect of reproductive control but insist upon placing it within a larger context. They concentrate on grassroots organizing and stress the connections between the various conditions necessary to insure reproductive control for all. They point out, for example, that legal abortion will not adequately serve a woman who relies on Medicaid funds, which no longer cover abortion yet continue to pay for sterilization. If this woman chooses to be sterilized, her choice may still be constrained by the parameters of a medical system that misinforms her of the operation's permanence.

The pro-choice position is more frequently represented in the media than the reproductive rights analysis. Two productions illustrate this political difference. SO MANY VOICES (1982), produced by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), a pro-choice group, is hosted by the respectable popular figures, Ed Asner (filmed before the public storm over his position on El Salvador) and Tammy Grimes. The film examines "both sides" of the abortion debate — that is, legality versus illegality. Right-to-Life arguments against abortion are refuted one at a time by pro-choice arguments and by ordinary women whose stories graphically depict why the option to choose abortion was crucial to them. Taking the position that women suffer when their pregnancies are unwanted or dangerous, SO MANY VOICES encourages the audience to oppose anti-abortion legislation and support women's right to choose legal abortion.

In contrast, MATTERS SO FUNDAMENTAL (1983), produced by the Committee to Defend Reproductive Rights (CDRR), reflects an understanding that abortion is only part of the larger context of reproductive issues. This low-budget slideshow presents a historical overview of legislative and grassroots organizing for reproductive rights. It examines the ideology of the Right-to-Life movement in terms of its stand against women's liberation, not merely its stand against abortion. By exploring various women's reproductive experiences, it connects abortion to other reproductive issues such as sterilization abuse, women's health care, and childcare.

Because SO MANY VOICES gives a clear introduction to the issues as they are framed in the legislative battle over abortion's legality, it is a good organizing tool for NARAL and other pro-choice groups. And we agree that access to legal abortion is crucial. But we feel that by emphasizing "choice," the film's position fails to acknowledge that social sanctions and inequitable access to material resources limit women's options even when abortion is legal. The film addresses the onorous Hyde Amendment, for example, which prohibits the use of Medicaid funds for abortion, but ironically it fails to raise the question of Medicaid coverage for poor women's abortions.

We have no objection to focusing on one issue at a time, but we do object to presenting single issues out of context. The issues, as presented in SO MANY VOICES and similar single-issue films, seem to exist in a social vacuum. The politics of reproduction as a whole remain undeveloped, even ignored. The strengths of MATTERS SO FUNDAMENTAL for reproductive rights organizers lies in its acknowledgement that legal abortion, though a crucial aspect of women's reproductive freedom, cannot by itself alone insure that freedom for all women. This film recognizes that reproductive decisions are made under certain conditions and within limited parameters. It rejects the notion that people can simply choose freely once an action, in this case abortion, is legal.[14]

Reproductive rights organizers want films that reflect their political understandings of where we are and what lies ahead. But there are still few good films available that reflect these politics. Reproductive rights activists need to influence filmmakers. And feminist filmmakers need to seek out reproductive rights organizers and learn from the organizers' ideas and experiences. In the meantime, organizers have to use what is available, and learn to use films as tools.

It is a rare film that will accomplish change on its own, but a film can be a catalyst for change. For this reason, we used considerable space in our Guide offering advice on how to organize a good film screening, focusing on the importance of planning a discussion after the film, distributing printed information to supplement that from the film, and previewing films ahead of time to prepare to cover for their weaknesses and make the most of their strengths. Organizers must think critically about how different films elicit different responses and are therefore useful in different ways, as we hope we have shown.

As far as we know, only a small body of literature exists on the subject of films as organizing tools, and much of it is historical and describes specific projects — the Film and Photo League, Canada's Challenge for Change program, the Newsreel collectives of the l960s and 1970s.[15] We hope that this article will help spark debate on how feminist films can be better organizing tools, and that it will encourage more feminists to produce films that are explicitly useful for people who organize for reproductive rights.

Tips from the Guide to Films on Reproductive Rights:
Using Films for Organizing and Education on Reproductive Rights

Any film, videotape or slideshow has its own point of view. Each one deals with some aspects of an issue but leaves out others. It may be geared toward a certain audience that is not the same as yours. You may disagree with certain parts of it, realize that parts need to be updated, or think some elements are inadequately stressed. It's useful to preview any film you haven't seen before you order it, just to make sure it's what you want.

Make sure to designate a discussion leader or moderator for your program who will encourage active participation and keep the discussion focused. Without fail, that person should see the film before showing it (especially if a preview hasn't been possible before rental), in order to plan an approach and be prepared for questions and reactions. Many potential disasters have been averted in this way.

It's always helpful to begin a program with an introduction that not only explains who you are, but also notes some of the strong points or limitations of the film you are about to show. (Even a bad film can be saved by an introduction that poses a provocative question, focuses on one good aspect, or posits the film as an example of a way of thinking that can be challenged.) Placing the film in a context makes it easier for the audience to focus its reactions afterwards. If a discussion is not possible, an introduction can direct the audience's attention during the film.

When the film is over, start the discussion by referring directly to the film and involving the audience directly. Useful questions are: "What struck you most in the film? What is your first reaction to the film's content?" Be prepared to listen closely and carefully to the audience in order to take their immediate reactions one step further. From here you can proceed to ask the questions that will help you move toward your program's goals.

Programming two films together is often an effective way of transcending one film's limitations, or of making connections between issues. For example, a film on teenage sexuality could be shown with one on teen parenthood to discuss some of the contradictions teens confront. Or a film on sex and older people could be shown with one on the sexuality of disabled people, to discuss why society censures the sexual behavior of certain groups.

On almost any issue, it's useful to have back-up material on hand with facts and figures for people who have questions or want to know more. It's also a good idea to have fliers or other written information that will tell people how to get involved, where to go next, and what they can do to help.


We would like to thank Lisa Cartwright, Carol Cohn, and Michael Hyman for their comments on early drafts of this article. The Guide to Films on Reproductive Rights is available for $2 each, plus $1 postage, from Media Network, 208 W. 13th Street, NY, NY 10011. Reduced rates for bulk orders.

1. Margaret Heckler was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services and C. Everett Hoop was appointed Surgeon General. Now a majority of the Senate, the Republicans have taken over other key commitees. Strom Thurmond, for example, became the head of the Judiciary Committee.

2. The Media Network provides activists and educators in a variety of areas with information on films and how to use them. The Reproductive Rights National Network is a coalition of grassroots groups organizing for reproductive rights.

3. The Guide describes and evaluates sixty films, videotapes, and slideshows. It contains a section on using media for organizing and education, tells how to use projection equipment, and gives a list of distributors and a list of supplementary guides and related resources for organizers.

4. Women Under Attack: Abortion, Sterilization Abuse, and Reproductive Freedom (New York: Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse, 1979); Rosalind P. Petchesky, "Reproductive Freedom: Beyond 'A Woman's Right to Choose,'" Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 5, No. 4 (Summer 1980), pp. 661-685; and "Dissolving the Hyphen: A Report on Marxist-Feminist Groups 1-5," in Zillah Eisenstein, Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979).

5. For the purposes of this article, some very good films that fall outside of our categories are omitted. LOOKING FOR LOVE (1982), on teenage parenthood, and CONDOM SENSE (1981), on teenagers' experiences with contraception, are particularly noteworthy.

6. Many feminist film critics have pointed out this pattern. B. Ruby Rich, "In the Name of Feminist Film Criticism," Heresies 9 (1980), pp. 74-81, calls these "films of validation."

7. Feminists have made a variety of claims for consciousness-raising. Catharine A. MacKinnon, for example, claims that consciousnessraising, as the core of feminist methodology, "turns Marxism inside out and on its head" because it acknowledges changes in consciousness as social change while Marxist theory claims that changes in consciousness are only a necessary prelude to insurrection. Catharine A. MacKinnon, "Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: An Agenda for Theory," Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society 7, No. 3 (Spring 1982), pp. 515-544.

8. Many women's labor documentaries that do not directly address reproductive issues also follow this format. Among the most successful have been THE WILLMAR 8, WHAT COULD YOU DO WITH A NICKEL? and WITH BABIES AND BANNERS, which delves into the past.

9. A comparative critique of THE CHICAGO MATERNITY CENTER STORY and HEALTHCARING has appeared before in the pages of JUMP CUT. See Judith Kegan Gardiner, "The Community vs. Corporate Medicine" and Marcia Rothenberg, "Good Vibes vs. Preventive Medicine," both in JUMP CUT No. 17. Responses from readers appear in following issues.

10. Three other films we screened that intimately follow campaigns are excluded from this discussion. BLOOD OF THE CONDOR (1969), a dramatization rather than a straight documentary, shows an uprising against forced sterilization in the Bolivian highlands. The film was produced for distribution in Bolivia, where it would fit our model. But Quechua Indian culture and the Bolivian political context are so different from our own that the film is most useful here as a lesson about the role of population control in U.S. imperialism rather than as a model for local organizing.

Another production, WHO WILL PROTECT THE FAMILY? (1982), followed both sides in a local battle for and against the Equal Rights Amendment. It succeeded so well in presenting a "balanced view," however, that it came off more as a news report rather than an encouragement for people to get out and organize either for or against the ERA.

PRAIRIE STORM (1982) follows both sides in a local battle over an abortion clinic in the Midwest. This is a news-magazine report. Its findings are fascinating but its format makes it too difficult to use, as it is stretched out in segments that repeat themselves to bring viewers up to date. As a potential organizing film, it too suffers from a surfeit of the "objective balance" typical of this genre. We did not include it in our Guide.

11. Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (Old Westbury: Feminist Press, 1973).

12. The concept of separate spheres that confines women's experiences to the private sphere and men's to the public, has largely been rejected by contemporary feminist theorists. See Joan Kelly, "The Doubled Vision of Feminist Theory: A Postscript to the 'Women and Power' Conference," Feminist Studies, 5: No. 1 (Spring 1979), pp. 215-227; Rosalind P. Petchesky's articles, cited in Note 4 above.

13. See both MacKinnon and Petchesky cited above; Irene Diamond, ed., Families, Politics, and Public Policy (New York: Longman, 1983); Rosalind P. Petchesky, Abortion and Women's Choice: The State, Sexuality, and Reproductive Freedom (New York: Longman, 1984).

14. It is particularly striking that the films stressing the legality of abortion fail to address the issue of state regulation of reproduction.

15. Citations to these articles can be found in John C. Gerlach and Lorna Gerlach, The Critical Index: A Bibliography of Articles on Films in English, 1946-1973 (New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 1974). See also William Alexander on the Film and Photo League in Film on the Left: American Documentary Film from 1931 to 1942 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981).