Let’s Hear It for Choice: Review of “Words of Choice” Film

Date: November 16, 2007
Author: Eleanor Bader
Source: The Indypendent

Words of Choice doesn’t literally grab viewers by the shoulders and shake them, but it comes close. .Based on Cindy Cooper’s long-running play of the same name, the film demonstrates why women need access to abortion and other reproductive options. Its goal is clearly agitational, urging us to step up pro-choice activism.

The beautifully acted production, reminiscent of The Vagina Monologues, presents 14 fast- moving and well-written skits that zoom in on a range of issues, from vicious attacks against reproductive health centers to a pregnant teenager’s angst over putting her baby up for adoption.

Skillfully weaving in history, the film opens with an excerpt from Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. It then flashes forward to the contemporary anti-choice movement, zeroing in on the human impact of anti-abortion legislation.

One of the most affecting pieces is “A Father’s Story.” In it, Thomasina Clarke portrays a low-income man whose teenaged daughter was raped following a Fourth of July celebration at the Washington Monument….

Also poignant, “What I Said to Congress” draws upon the testimony of a woman who had a late-term abortion….

But lest you think Words of Choice is unbearably heavy, rest assured that it is not. “SCHIPS,” for one, makes fun of former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and his consistent elevation of fetal life.

“Why does a fetus make a better patient than a pregnant woman?” he asks. “Among other things, a fetus never asks if it can bring cameras, video recorders or partners into the delivery room”….

Never glib or strident, the film offers a cogent and unapologetic defense of reproductive freedom. While adults will be both moved and angered by Words of Choice, its message will resonate with high school and college students. A teaching guide accompanies the DVD, making it easy for those who want to use it as an educational tool to do so.

For more information about the Words of Choice DVD, see MORE, DVD.