Amber Tamblyn Imagines A Future Without Reproductive Care In This Video

“I want to get on birth control, and I want to know what my options are with that.” This should be a completely normal question to ask a gynecologist — but with Republican lawmakers working to roll back reproductive rights, that may be changing. In a darkly funny video, Amber Tamblyn and David Cross imagine a bleak future in which people with vaginas have to visit elected, untrained “gynoticians” to access birth control, abortion, and other reproductive healthcare services.
In the video, Tamblyn says she'd like to start taking birth control to manage pain from endometriosis. Her doctor (played by Cross) tells her, “According to this latest research I have here from 1926, women don’t have intercourse until they’re married, so you’re good to go.” Then he writes her a prescription for Viagra so she can “find a gentleman that will intercourse the cramps out of you once you’re married. Win/win.” When Tamblyn says, “This is ridiculous. What if I had to make some really difficult life decision, like terminating a pregnancy?” he responds by repeating “No,” over and over again.
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We eventually learn that the “gynotician’s” only medical training is a “B.A. from Todd Akin Non-Technical College and Biological-Ish Studies In Rhetoric, with a minor in Online Poker.” (Akin is the Republican who infamously said, “If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”) "What makes you qualified to make decisions about my health?" Tamblyn asks. Cross responds, "I got elected."
Tamblyn and Cross actually wrote the video over six years ago, as Republicans were trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and it’s sad how relevant it still is. In a statement, the pair said that they came up with the idea “at a time when reproductive healthcare and bodily autonomy was being threatened, like it always has been in this country, and sadly, little has changed to date.” They add, “In fact, under our current government, we are going backwards. While we hope the video makes you laugh at the absurdity and cruelty of mirrored life, the truth of where we are and where we have been is no laughing matter.”
They point to the recently-passed laws rolling back abortion rights in Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky. These laws “are hypocritical disasters, putting not just women’s lives at risk, but also the lives of trans and non-binary people too,” they say. “Because laws that dictate what our bodies are allowed to do or not do, what they are allowed to have or not have, what they are allowed to be or not be, are extremely harming to all different kinds of people, including men.”
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In the video, we eventually learn that the “gynotician’s” only medical training is a “BA from Todd Akin Non-Technical College and Biological-Ish Studies In Rhetoric, with a minor in Online Poker.” (If the name sounds familiar, Todd Akin is the Republican lawmaker who infamously said, “if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”)
Tamblyn and Cross end the video with a message: “You wouldn’t let a ‘gynotician’ make decisions about your body in an exam room. So why would you let them make decisions about your body in legislation?” In a statement, they say that they hope people will be inspired to take action. “We ask that you fight with us by donating to organisations who are fighting to protect our right to choice, organisations like NARAL and Planned Parenthood,” they say. “It will take each and every one of us to show up for each other right now in the same way we hope that others will show up for us.” (Here are some additional organisations to donate to and other ways to help.)
Last month, Tamblyn responded to Georgia and Alabama passing anti-abortion laws by sharing her story on Twitter with the #YouKnowMe hashtag, joining public figures including Busy Philipps, Miranda July, and Jameela Jamil. “In 2012, I had an abortion,” Tamblyn wrote. “It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. I still think about it to this day. But these truths do not make me regret my decision. It was the right choice for me, at that time in my life. I have not a single doubt about this. #YouKnowMe.”
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Here is Tamblyn and Cross's full statement about the video:
"We wrote this video more than six years ago at a time when reproductive healthcare and bodily autonomy was being threatened, like it always has been in this country, and sadly, little has changed to date. In fact, under our current government, we are going backwards. While we hope the video makes you laugh at the absurdity and cruelty of mirrored life, the truth of where we are and where we have been is no laughing matter.
"The laws recently passed in states like Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky are hypocritical disasters, putting not just women’s lives at risk, but also the lives of trans and non-binary people too. Because laws that dictate what our bodies are allowed to do or not do, what they are allowed to have or not have, what they are allowed to be or not be, are extremely harming to all different kinds of people, including men. We ask that you fight with us by donating to organisations who are fighting to protect our right to choice, organisations like NARAL and Planned Parenthood. It will take each and every one of us to show up for each other right now in the same way we hope that others will show up for us."
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