Watch 7 Famous Women Stand Up For Abortion In A Powerful Way

There is a terrible myth in certain pro-life circles that women who have abortions are irresponsible or simply selfish. But a powerful new project from The Center for Reproductive Rights’ Draw the Line campaign is telling the far more complex, true story about the many reasons women may choose to end a pregnancy. The series of videos features seven actresses — Elizabeth Banks, Bellamy Young, Dascha Polanco, Mercedes Mason, Amy Brenneman, Retta, and Mary McCormack — each doing a dramatic reading of a real woman’s abortion story.

There’s Banks as Rebecca, a young woman who wanted an abortion after leaving an abusive relationship.

There’s Brenneman as Whitney, a mom of one who finds out the baby brother or sister she’s carrying is suffering from a devastating condition.

Then there’s Polanco as Kayleigh, a full-time student who didn’t feel ready “to raise a child with the care and attention they deserved,” and Retta as Rosario, a woman who wanted so badly to be a mom that she and her partner spent years doing fertility treatments. When she finally got pregnant, though, she found out the pregnancy was ectopic, meaning the egg implanted in the fallopian tube — a life-threatening problem. “My choice with my partner and with my doctor was to save my life. I consider myself lucky,” she says.

The stories run the gamut, with the message being that each decision is layered and valid. And the project comes at a key moment in time for reproductive rights in the U.S. This week will mark the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, just two months before the U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments in Whole Women’s Health V. Cole, the case against the Texas law that is threatening to shut down 75% of the abortion clinics in the state. In addition to essentially deciding the fate of the Texas clinics, the outcome of the case could ultimately affect abortion access nationwide since it will set the standard for how courts judge other laws about abortion.

These stories illustrate what’s at stake: the decision to go through with a pregnancy is a supremely personal one that has very real physical and mental health implications. As Polanco (portraying Kayleigh) puts it: “How can we trust women to make smart choices for their children but not trust them with the decision to have children?”

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