Everyday Activist - Reversing Roe (2018) | Undue Burden (2017)

Posted on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 11:00 PM

Reversing Roe (2018) / Undue Burden (2017)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

I spent the entire 19th Calgary International Film Festival 2018 in Whitehorse recovering from yet another car accident. While the trip provided the rest I needed, I would have loved to have seen certain documentaries and meet the people in attendance. Sharkwater 2 I knew would be in regular theatres and since I’m volunteering in the screening room at the 43rd Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival 2018, I can watch the sold out, This Mountain Life. Hopefully, some of the others will make it to Netflix where most of my documentary bingeing occurs. Doc NYC had some films listed available online and on Netflix so as I sorted my receipts I watched Reversing Roe and Undue Burden. Both films talk about the subject of abortion, which is fresh in my mind, because of the recent Alberta legislation, Bill 9 protecting women and healthcare providers from harassment.

Given that about 100 000 abortions are performed in Canada each year, chances are everyone knows a woman who has had one, though women typically don’t talk about it. Undue Burden documents the stories of three women wanting an abortion and the challenges they face accessing care, including income, long commutes and wait times. Being a privileged Canadian woman, when I heard some of the ever changing legislation in Reversing Roe, I didn’t understand the negative impact on American women – especially in a rural setting, until I watched Undue Burden. Women need to share their stories, not only to educate, but as a way to heal. Losing a baby is difficult under any circumstances. Then to have it happen without support in a hostile, shaming environment is ridiculous.

Reversing Roe talks about a landmark U.S Supreme Court case Roe vs Wade, back in 1973, making abortions legal and all the challenges made to the legislation over the decades as women’s rights were steadily eroded. Watching the timelines and use of vulnerable women as political pawns by religious lobby groups was like watching a horrible accident. I couldn’t look away as republican politicians changed their views in order to have popular support. As Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, supported abortion, but as president did not. George Bush Senior followed a similar narrative. It’s hardly the first time minorities have been used to push political agendas. Netflix has another fantastic documentary 13th, which goes into how mainly, poor, African American men become modern slaves through the American justice system in jails run by corporate interests.

If a person doesn’t believe in abortion, don’t have one. Killing doctors, lobbying legislation changes to reduce the rights of a minority group for political gain and harassing vulnerable people doesn’t seem to be the most compassionate thing to do. Making a better effort to understand why women choose to end their pregnancy and then arranging services to address those issues seems like a better approach. If financially a woman couldn’t afford to keep the baby, then perhaps lobbying for guaranteed income would make more sense. In Alberta, embarrassingly enough, protestors say their freedom of speech is under attack, though to me it appears to be the same rules as smoking. Protest, just not within 50 m of the building. British Columbia has had similar legislation in place since 1996.

Calgary Showtimes:  Reversing Roe > | Undue Burden >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.