LIFE AT ALL COSTS - A Documentary Series Going Beyond Pro Choice Vs. Pro Life
LIFE AT ALL COSTS - A Documentary Series Going Beyond Pro Choice Vs. Pro Life
Your support to help me make the pilot episode will enable me to pitch it to production companies and networks, and make this important documentary series in full. I believe this project can be a game-changer in the larger discussion around reproductive rights and abortion in America.
100 Days of Optimism
Inclusion StatementThis project is created, hosted and produced by Asha Dahya - a woman of color and an immigrant. With so few minorities being given the opportunity to play leading and authoritative roles in politically-driven documentary series in mainstream media, 'LIFE AT ALL COSTS' aims to change this.
About The Project
My name is Asha Dahya, I am a journalist and filmaker. "LIFE AT ALL COSTS: Going Beyond Pro Choice vs. Pro Life" is a documentary series I am creating with the aim of radically changing the conversation around reproductive rights in America, by attempting to find common ground between pro choice and pro life.
As a former pro-life Christian Conservative turned progressive women's rights activist, I believe I am uniquely positioned to help bridge the political and ideological divide by looking at the nuance and complexity of reproductive rights.
After leaving my Evangelical community a few years ago I was stunned by what I learned – many women outwardly proclaimed their hatred of abortion, but many were also secretly getting them and going to the very clinics they protested outside of.
"You're not supposed to have sex before marriage. And if you do get pregnant, the right thing to do is not get an abortion."
We ALL know how divisive and heated the topic of abortion is, especially in politics, newsmedia, and religion. But what if we took a social and human approach instead? Why are there only two labels with which to identify around this issue, when reproductive issues are so nuanced and complex?
Politically, the conversation is all about whether a pregnancy is brought to term or not. But what happens after a child is born? Are there social structures in place to support the life of the child and mother? And what are we doing to prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place?
In this series I will be asking these questions, and more.
"Even though I am a pro-life Christian, I decided to get an abortion."
"The abuse played a huge role in my decision to get an abortion. Does it mean that it was easy, like going to get my nails done? No!"
Instead of focusing on abortion I'm going beyond the pro choice vs. pro life paradigm and zooming out a few levels to try and take a whole new approach at the reproductive rights issue.
Each episode will focus on one topic to see if opposing sides can potentially find common ground between pro choice and pro life. To show how complex reproductive issues really are, I plan to explore topics such as birth control, paid leave, poverty, maternal mortality, the foster care system, sex education, and more.
I have already begun filming interviews, and now I am launching this campaign to raise money to shoot, edit and complete the pilot episode. I also want to build a following along the way to show future buyers that this project has a loyal audience. There are many documentaries about abortion and reproductive rights, but none that look at it from the perspective I am.
Given the current climate around reproductive rights in America, I truly believe NOW is the time to make this series and attempt to steer the conversation around reproductive rights in a more inclusive and empowering direction. Although it may seem like abortion has disappeared from mainstream media in light of other important issues like sexual assault, the truth is there are hundreds of anti-abortion bills being written, introduced and passed in legislatures across the country every day, most of which don't actually help women or children.
"No matter which direction you look, there is stigma."
As someone who has been on both sides of this issue, I am uniquely positioned to tell my story and go on this journey. In LIFE AT ALL COSTS, I will be asking challenging questions and confront bias in the hope that more people can join me in looking at the bigger picture and help create a whole new narrative around reproductive rights.
And for those wondering, yes I DO have an agenda - to radically shift the cultural tone of conversation and perspective about abortion, moving away from politics and ideology and enabling reproductive rights and healthcare to be seen from a human, fact-driven and empowering point of view.
If this series sounds like something you are interested in watching in the near future and want to see it get made as much as I do, every little donation helps make that possible!
Only 22 states require public schools to teach comprehensive sex education, and only 13 of those require the information to be medically accurate. Schools teaching “abstinence only” education have the highest rates of teen pregnancies and STDs.
Every year there are 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States. Birth control has been extremely effective in reducing unintended pregnancies and abortion by up to 42% in certain areas.
America is the only developed country in the world without a federal paid leave program.
American rates of pregnancy or childbirth complications are among the highest in the developed world, and rising. Carrying a baby to term in the US is 90 times more likely to kill you than having a legal abortion, and for black women the rates are 3-4 times higher.
There are nearly half a million children in the foster care system across the US today. More than a quarter of girls in foster care become mothers by the age of 17. 70% of prison inmates across America have been in through the foster care system. 50% of foster kids will not graduate high school. An estimated 60% of child sex trafficking victims in the United States come from foster care.
Although teen pregnancy rates are declining overall, the U.S. rate is substantially higher than other Western industrialized nations. By age 30, only 1.5% of teen mothers will have earned a college degree.
Incarcerated Pregnant Women
12,000 women are pregnant in custody every year, and 28 states have no laws against shackling them during labor. Only 54% of pregnant women who are incarcerated are reported to receive adequate pregnancy-related health care.
"This isn't just about abortion. It's about how we truly value life, if at all."
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About This Team
Host/Producer/Creator - Asha Dahya
Hi! I'm Asha, the creator of LIFE AT ALL COSTS, a project I started combining my journalism and TV experience as well as my passion for reproductive rights.
I have worked in both broadcast and digital media for over 15 years for major networks such as ABC, MTV, MSN.com, FOX and more. I am also the creator of a feminist media site called GirlTalkHQ.com.
I grew up in a very conservative Christian environment, instilled with certain values about social issues like sex and abortion. After moving to the United States in 2008 from Australia, I married a man and became part of his Evangelical church community. I quickly adopted the American Christian conservative values, which included a heavy emphasis on being "pro life".
I ended up getting divorced 4 years later, and subsequently left that community. During my transition, I became exposed to different perspectives and views about abortion and sex, and I started to realize my opinions were different to what I had been raised with. I was also shocked to learn how many women were secretly getting abortions, despite protesting outside clinics and claiming to be "pro life".
Having been on both sides of a very divisive topic, I know I have a unique perspective on abortion and reproductive rights, and want to be part of a major shift in this national conversation. My aim is to show both sides of the debate and also focus on the social issues surrounding abortion in the hope I can find middle ground. There is a huge need for nuance and humanity in the reproductive rights discussion, and that is what LIFE AT ALL COSTS is about - how we as a society can truly show how we value life in all areas of reproductive healthcare.
Connect with me on Twitter - @ashadahya