I am a filmmaker and author from Berlin, Germany.
I just made the documentary film Abortion Democracy: Poland/South Africa and I want to use the film worldwide to raise awareness about the hypocrisy about reproductive rights. I showed the film already in the German parliament and it got great responses. I want to use the film as a tool to focus on the life reality of women and women's perspectives that are silenced because of an one-sided moralized focus on potential life by international groups of so called prolifers, ignoring the fact that social and economic pressures don't leave women a real choice and that according WHO 60.000 up to 80.000 women die every year because of unsafe abortion.
This documentary feature explores and contrasts changes in Poland and South Africa regarding abortion laws and their impact on the lives of women.
In the 90's, Poland banned abortion due to the increasing influence of the Catholic Church after the fall of communism; around the same time South Africa legalized it, reforming the health system after the fall of apartheid.
The film reveals how the legal status of women is a direct result of the silencing or empowering of women's voices. In the Polish society and media, women's perspectives were made invisible; in South Africa, on the other hand, they were invited to give public hearings in the parliament about problems in the realm of reproduction.
The film aims to emphasize the need for safe abortions and liberal abortion laws. It also, however, illustrates the paradox that the implementation of such laws may have little effect on the accessibility of abortion services. In Poland, for example, illegal abortions are quite available and relatively safe; in South Africa, where the law is very liberal, women have a harder time getting information and services in public hospitals due to judgemental behavior of the health staff. Only a change in the fundamental social and cultural attitudes towards abortion, contraception, and reproductive health can ensure a woman's right to choose in a world where about 80.000 women die every year from unsafe abortions.
Abortion Democracy lets its subjects speak for themselves. Interviews include personal stories from activists, researchers, health staff, patients and other men and women who live with the problems every day. It is a thought provoking and challenging film for any audience interested in the international struggle for human rights.
Wanda Nowicka - Federation for Women and Family Planning, Warsaw Michal Placzek - Pro-Choice Alliance, Warsaw Anna Lipowska-Teutsch - TIK (Towarzystwo Interwencji Kryszysowej, Crisis Intervention Center, Krakow) Alicja Tysiac - Sued the Polish government in landmark EU court case because of a denied abortion and her resulting visual impairment, Warsaw Beata Zaduminska - Centrum Praw Kobiet, Krakow Anna Zawadzka - Editor, Gazetta Wyborcha, Instigated the failed Polish "I had an abortion" Campaign, Warsaw Ewa Waszkiewicz - Economist, University of Wroclaw
Richard Burzelmann - Coordinator of Abortion Services in Western Cape Province Marijke Alblas - Doctor, Cape Town Nurrudin Farrah - Somali Author, lives in Cape Town Sister Ida Frawces - Nurse, Public Health Care Center, Atlantis Liz - Young pregnant homeless woman, Cape Town Jane Harries - Women Health Research Unit, Medical School, Cape Town Sister M. - Nurse, Public Health Care Center, Atlantis Noluthando Ntlokwana - Woman Legal Center, Cape Town Awino Okeck - Mother Tongue Theater, Cape Town Marion Stevens - Reproductive Right Alliance (RRA), Cape Town Marieta de Vos - Mosaic Health Care Center for Women, Cape Town