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Defending a Choice for Women: A Feminist Video Ethnography Beverly Yuen Thompson, Ph.D. Florida International University. Introduction. Involvement with Miami clinic access project (MCAP) Historic abortion restrictions Contemporary abortion issues The pro-life movement

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Defending a Choice for Women: A Feminist Video EthnographyBeverly Yuen Thompson, Ph.D.Florida International University


  • Involvement with Miami clinic access project (MCAP)

  • Historic abortion restrictions

  • Contemporary abortion issues

  • The pro-life movement

  • The pro-choice movement

  • Clinic defense

  • Defending a choice for women: A feminist video ethnography

  • Reproductive rights classroom education

Miami clinic access project mcap
Miami Clinic Access Project (MCAP)

  • A Choice for Women clinic

  • Priests for Life and local Catholic churches, majority Spanish speakers

  • MCAP older, white activists and WS students

  • Women’s studies program has connection to MCAP

  • Every Saturday 6-11a.m. for six months of fieldwork and interviews

  • Intro to WS student involvement

Historic abortion restrictions
Historic Abortion Restrictions

  • From female midwives to the American Medical Association (AMA)

  • New laws based on British common law, banning abortion after quickening

  • 1821-first abortion law in Connecticut; by 1890, every state had regulations

Historic eugenics programs
Historic Eugenics Programs

  • Between 1900-1960, for African American and Native American women, they faced forced sterilization (45k-60k) (CA accounts for 1/3)

  • Buck v. Bell, Supreme Court decision in Virginia that upheld involuntary sterilization (1927)

  • Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Federation had “Negro Project” (1939), promoted eugenics practices

Abortion and contraception legalized
Abortion and Contraception legalized

  • 1960 FDA approved the pill

  • 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut- married couples have access to pill

  • 1967 President Johnson approves $20m contraceptive programs

  • 1973 Roe v. Wade-legalize abortion through privacy

  • 1973-1977-gov’t pays for 1/3 of all abortions (294,600 in 1977)

  • 1977 Hyde Amendment denies use of Medicaid for abortion (1977, fewer than 2,500 abortions covered)

Contemporary abortion issues legal but restricted
Contemporary Abortion Issues:Legal but restricted

  • Between 1.3 & 1.5m abortions performed

  • 14% of US counties have an abortion provider

  • 24 hour waiting period

  • Parental consent

  • Informed of abortion impact, fetal development

  • Required sonograms

  • Only 12% of obgyn medical programs require abortion training

  • 2/3 of providers over age 65

Abstinence only education
Abstinence Only Education

  • Government spends over $1 billion over last decade

  • Global gag rule

  • Under Governor Bush, Texas had most stringent abstinence only education, and also was #1 in teenage birthrate (2000)

  • Abstinence only education proven to be notoriously ineffective

The pro life movement
The Pro-Life Movement

  • Religious movement against pre-marital sex, abortion, contraception, and sex education

  • Political movement fighting on grassroots-national-international fronts

  • At clinics: “rescues” and “sidewalk counseling”

  • Movement has had violent extremists that conduct damage to clinics and the murder of seven individuals

The pro life movement video clip
The Pro-Life Movement: Video Clip

  • Although “pro-life” they are still pro-war and pro-death penalty and do not support social programs that assist women and children

1:21 min.

The pro choice movement
The Pro-Choice Movement

  • Feminist movement to defend women’s right to control their bodies

  • Defending abortion/contraception rights and protecting women’s health and access

  • Defending clinics as escorts

Defending a choice for women
Defending a Choice for Women

  • 23 minute documentary useful for community and classroom organizing

  • Provides a visual reference of the situation

  • Chapters:

    • Pro-life movement

    • Clinic defense

    • Catholics on all sides

    • Women’s testimonies

    • Student education

Conclusion reproductive rights classroom education video
Conclusion: Reproductive Rights Classroom Education Video

  • For Intro to Women’s Studies, the student attend a feminist event and write a short paper about it. Many chose to visit and write about the clinic defense.

1:03 min.