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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed House Bill 314 into law Wednesday, making performing abortions at any stage of a woman’s pregnancy a felony in the state. The bill provides no exceptions for cases of rape or incest; the only exception is if the woman’s life is in danger.
The severity of this legislation could have enormous consequences, not the least being the potential to be challenged in court and thus opening the possibility to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that upheld a woman’s right to choose.
Many states already have regulations that make abortion inaccessible if not almost impossible, as documented by Refinery29’s 2017 Shatterbox film Lucia, Before and After. Anu Valia's poignant short film is a portrait of the struggles American women still face to exercise their right to choose, spotlighting Texas' arcane abortion regulations, like 24-hour waiting periods, few accessible clinics, especially for rural communities, and mandatory, degrading pre-procedure ultrasounds.
Lucia, a young woman with limited financial resources, isn't apologetic about her desire for an abortion. Traveling 200 miles to the nearest clinic, she's one of Texas' many women who endure the enormous inconvenience that impinges on their efforts to take charge of their own bodies. Valia's austere landscape, peppered with dilapidated motels and dimly-lit bars, epitomizes the strange limbo in which this constitutionally-enshrined right still lives, 44 years after Roe v. Wade. Yet, as Congress conspires to defund Planned Parenthood and confirm Supreme Court Justices hostile to abortion access, the right to choose may only become more precarious for Americans, particularly those living in poverty or far from cities.
In the light of the recent slew of abortion restrictions, Shatterbox is proud to showcase Valia's unflinching look at the bleak realities of the fight for choice here in the United States. Watch the film above.