Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Reproductive rights Under Siege

South Dakota's ban on abortion, aimed at the heart of Roe v Wade, is in the news. I sent an email to the tapped blog:

Yes, the entire range of feelings on the subject of abortion should be aired and shared and taken into consideration in the political debates. Yes, abortion-- and childbearing-- is a life and death matter that deserves serious scrupulous attention. It's a matter that has a weight in women's lives similar to the weight that service in the military has traditionally had in men's. For that reason it is a matter on which men ought to be primarily listeners rather than leaders, and one for which the art of drama rather than that of debate is best suited. That's why when under the Reagan administration a woman's right to consider alternatives and act in accordance with her conscience was being attacked I wrote a documentary play, "Under Siege". It's based on interviews with counselors and patients in an abortion clinic threatened by violence and picketed by sincere and passionate people who condemned what they were doing as murder. It's a pretty good play. When I had a workshop production of it, women laughed and wept and came back to see it multiple times. It went on to development at Sundance and has been produced in South Africa and translated into Russian. But that's as far as it got: the play has never had a production in the US. The script is on my web site, here, and hundreds of student actresses have used pro or anti monologues from it in classes and contests. But theaters-- I'm especially disappointed by the lack of interest from universities, where women students are now the majority-- apparently do not believe that audiences ought to hear a whole range of women's feelings about abortion in a context that addresses the political and moral significance of choice. (The original title of the play was "Choices".)


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