On January 22, we mark the 47th anniversary of Roe V. Wade. But almost half a century after the Supreme Court decision, the future of abortion access is at risk. As Planned Parenthood puts it, it’s under an “unprecedented attack.” In 2019, 25 new abortion restrictions were signed into law in 12 states, and these laws hit hardest among people of color. Abortion is not just a political talking point; it’s necessary healthcare.
Planned Parenthood teamed up with We Testify, an organization dedicated to the representation of people who’ve had abortions, to create a short film about four people who are living full, empowered lives because they had access to abortion. “Ours To Tell” was directed by Rayka Zehtabchi, who helmed the Oscar-winning short film Period: End of Sentence; produced by Ventureland in association with PRETTYBIRD; and features actress Natasha Rothwell as narrator.
“Ours To Tell” introduces us to Ylonda, Nick, Hannah, and Brittany. We see their children, partners, and pets. We hear about their spiritual and political beliefs, and we learn about the financial obstacles they’ve faced. Then, they all share why they chose abortion:
“Something in me was always just like no, no girl. This ain’t it. You can move beyond it.”
“I knew that I needed to be the best mother that I could be to the children I had.”
“I was just not in a place where I could physically or emotionally handle a pregnancy, let alone a child.”
“I wasn’t ready to be a good parent.”
“As access to abortion hangs by a thread across the country, this film tells the critical story of what’s possible when abortion is accessible,” Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “People’s humanity, their right to health, and their right to live life on their own terms cannot exist without access to safe, legal abortion.”
Director Rayka Zehtabchi said that it’s necessary to feature abortion storytellers who we rarely see in media. “Film has the power to challenge the conversation around critical social issues, combat stigma, and ultimately shift culture. ‘Ours To Tell’ disrupts common misconceptions about abortion — who has access, why, and how that access can help people lead rich and strong lives,” she said.
Renee Bracey Sherman, Executive Director of We Testify added, “Storytelling is one of the most powerful vehicles of change. I’ve seen it when sharing my own abortion story. The stories in ‘Ours to Tell' mirror the experiences of people across the country, particularly people of color, queer and transgender people, and others for whom the full promise of abortion access has yet to be realized. This film expands our understanding of who makes the decision to have an abortion and underscores that access to health care is an issue of basic justice, which must be a human right, available to us all. 'Ours to Tell' makes clear that everyone loves someone who had an abortion.”
The four storytellers share their experiences, but they also have a message for viewers, too: “To people who are seeking abortion services, you are not alone. There isn’t anything wrong with you. You deserve compassionate care, you deserve loving relationships. Most importantly, that you’re loved. You’re so loved.”
Watch the short film below.
“Ours to Tell” shows us the world we could have — one where all people are able to access the health care they want, need, and deserve — with compassion and support. That’s the future we are fighting for. To learn more and find out what you can do, go to ourstotell.org.