OUR BODIES OUR DOCTORS
Nearly 1 in 4 American women have an abortion during their lifetime, yet the doctors who perform this commonplace procedure are rarely talked about or seen. This film follows these quiet heroes behind the scenes and into the procedure room, showing us their strength and compassion for women.
In Partnership With
Inclusion StatementWe are filmmakers committed to social justice. Willie Parker, a leading provider featured in the film, comments on how abortion politics and race intersect, how he was influenced by the reproductive justice framework of SisterSong, and affinities between LGBTQ communities and abortion providers.
About The Project
OUR BODIES OUR DOCTORS is a feature-length film that tells the rarely-discussed story of what it means to be an abortion provider today: confronting threats of violence, and facing intensified political threats and efforts to criminalize abortion. Religious control over health care is expanding, including in many pro-choice states. The abortion debate continues to be defined by gruesome images of the anti-abortion movement. In contrast, this film provides a crucial, hopeful point of view: an intimate glimpse into the lives of these courageous providers who have devoted their careers to ensuring women have access to skilled, compassionate care.
For too long, the visual culture of abortion has been dominated by the anti-abortion movement. But most Americans have never even seen what happens inside a women's reproductive health center. OUR BODIES OUR DOCTORS is the first film of its kind, following providers inside the room where abortion procedures occur. In doing so, we shed light on the reality of abortion care: physicians and staff who care deeply for the lives and rights of their patients.
“This film feels nothing short of revolutionary. The experiences of abortion providers have for too long been left out of the pro-choice vs. pro-life debate, and presenting these doctors with honesty and compassion will have a profound impact on the discourse around abortion in this country.”
-- Grayson Dempsey, Executive Director, NARAL ProChoice Oregon
WHY THIS FILM IS NEEDED NOW
The current legislative battles over reproductive healthcare will have profound implications for women for decades to come. The political victories of the anti-abortion movement have already reduced access to care in large areas of the country. The doctors we follow, surrounded by colleagues supporting them and their patients, are working to preserve choice. Right now, a small group of dedicated providers are devoting their careers to teaching and providing safe abortion care. They work with a conviction that women deserve the highest quality of care; that all women deserve to be treated with respect and compassion; and that a woman is the only one who should be making decisions about her own body and life. The thoughtfulness and dedication of the providers in this film give hope to the pro-choice movement, and for women everywhere.
WHY THIS FILM IS ABOUT ABORTION PROVIDERS RATHER THAN WOMEN SEEKING ABORTION CARE
There are many wonderful films about the daunting challenges women face in seeking access to abortion. But little is known about the providers who do this work and how they confront stigma and respond to anti-choice imagery that portrays them as "baby killers." In following this story through two years of filming "Our Bodies Our Doctors," we were surprised to learn about a fight within the medical profession over abortion stigma and how this fight is different than in the past.
Some background: It was not very long after the passage of Roe v Wade in 1973 that abortion clinics and doctors came under attack by anti-abortion activists. With clinic bombings, death threats, and harassment targeting providers and their families, it appeared by the 1990s that few doctors were willing to provide this service. But beneath the surface, a quiet rebellion was taking place in the field of medicine. A number of doctors came out publically as abortion providers, even as the larger medical community often viewed them as “rogue physicians.” This rebellion depended heavily on working with women’s freestanding clinics and their feminist allies. 'Our Bodies Our Doctors' takes viewers into the lives of these providers and their struggles to provide abortion procedures.
"My consciousness-raising occurred with me affiliating with the organization of SisterSong. As I was transitioning more fully into my identity as a feminist, I was introduced to the concept of reproductive justice."
-- Willie Parker, M.D., OB/GYN
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
We need your support to finish this film and bring this message to audiences across the country. With $25,000 for finishing funds and marketing materials, we can make the final push to bring this important film to campuses, community theaters, and festivals across the U.S. The anti-abortion forces work at the grassroots level in mobilizing people around their cause, and we must do the same: we need to make sure communities in towns and cities around the country are able to see this film. You can add your voice to our movement by donating, following, and requesting a screening via our website (ourbodiesourdoctors.com) Please join us as we stand together for reproductive justice.
WHAT OUR FEATURED PROVIDERS SAY ABOUT WHY THEY CHOSE TO BE PART OF 'OUR BODIES OUR DOCTORS'
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About This Team
Jan Haaken (Director)
Jan Haaken is professor emeritus of psychology at Portland State University, a clinical psychologist, and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. From refugee camps, war zones, domestic violence shelters and asylums to drag bars and hip-hop clubs, Haaken’s projects focus on people who inhabit the border zones of society. She has published extensively on the psychology of storytelling and on the use of film and visual methods in the social sciences, and has produced a range of multi-media materials that are widely used in classroom settings. Her feature films include DIAMONDS, GUNS AND RICE (Co-director); QUEENS OF HEART (Director); MOVING TO THE BEAT (Producer); GUILTY EXCEPT FOR INSANITY Director), MIND ZONE: THERAPISTS BEHIND THE FRONT LINES (Director), and MILK MEN: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DAIRY FARMERS (Director). She also is a programmer on KBOO Community Radio in Portland, Oregon.
David Cress (Producer)
David Cress' career as an independent producer encompasses a multitude of genres. His work in music videos, advertising, feature films and now television has established David as a key contributor in vitalizing the industry that is growing steadily around him in Portland, Oregon.
As the founding partner of Food Chain Films, a company he led out of obscurity and into the spotlight, David has developed the ability to bring talent together and lead projects seamlessly to their fruition. His leadership, coordination and knack for creating an environment for directors to thrive in, has brought him clients such as Nike, Budweiser, MTV, Miller Lite and Pennzoil.
He is also known for his work on multiple films by internationally known director Gus Van Sant, including the critically acclaimed drama, Paranoid Park. He is more recently known for producing the hit comedy show Portlandia for which he was nominated for an Emmy in 2015. Other awards include work recognized by Peabody Cannes, Clio, CA, and One Show as well as Honorable Mention at the Sundance Film Festival and the Jury Prize for Best Music Video at SXSW Film Festival.
Eric Edwards (Cinematographer)
Eric Edwards has been behind the camera on more than 35 films including director Gus Van Sant’s 1991 seminal MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO, for which he garnered an Independent Spirit Award nomination. In addition to his film work, Edwards is highly sought out for his clean, clear images for international commercials and music videos for the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Donna Summers, Alanis Morissette, Paul Simon and the Red Hot Chili Peppers whose video Under the Bridge won MTV’s best music video of the year. Edwards is also known for his work in documentaries. The 1989 Haunted Heroes about returned Vietnam vets who have retreated to the woods in America as survivalists, won the Prix D’ Italia award. Recent films include DIRTY GRANDA starring Robert De Niro and Zak Efron, a new comedy/drama THE HOLLARS both directed by and starring John Krasinski with an ensemble cast including Margo Martindale, Richard Jenkins and Anna Kendrick which premiered at Sundance, and comedy/fight film called FIST FIGHT directed by Richie Keen, starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day.
Caleb Heymann (Cinematographer)
Caleb Heymann started shooting documentaries in the late 1990s, before moving to South Africa, where he graduated from AFDA film school in Cape Town. His keen eye for composition along with his ability to move quickly and create beautiful yet naturalistic lighting made him a sought after Director of Photography in South Africa. His deep technical knowledge of both film and digital formats dovetails with his creative passion for storytelling and artistic experimentation. Now working between the USA and South Africa, Caleb has lensed dozens of commercials and music videos, as well as feature and short documentary and narrative projects.
Timothy Wildgoose (Cinematographer)
Timothy Wildgoose is a documentary, commercial, and narrative cinematographer. He's worked on multiple feature length docs tackling vast challenges from homelessness to women’s rights. He has shot viral videos shared on Twitter, Upworthy, and MoveOn.org as well as numerous pieces for national broadcast some of which have been nominated for multiple Emmy awards. His first narrative short won the Grand Jury prize at the Portland Film Festival. He's worked with clients such as CBS, Facebook, Nike, Adobe, and Canon to tell stories around the country and around the world. He believes his filmmaking reflects his personal life and seeks to portray the human experience in visceral, compassionate, and emotive ways.
Samantha Praus (Assistant Director)
Sam Praus is an activist filmmaker & story strategist based in Portland, OR. Her past projects include feature-length documentaries, outreach campaign videos for non-profits & political candidates, and cinematic poems. With a background in Cultural Anthropology, she also works with local and national government agencies on public health research projects. Sam believes in the power of film to raise awareness of social justice issues, provoke thoughtful discussion, and ignite action.