Four abortion providers received a standing ovation from an audience at the Sundance Film Festival this week after the group secretly attended the premiere of the pro-abortion documentary Trapped.
The film, from director Dawn Porter, takes a sympathetic look at five abortion care providers in Southern states who have fought regulations in order to keep abortion clinics open. The film’s name comes from the nickname that abortion advocates have given to laws intended to regulate the industry: Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP.
Four of the abortion providers featured in the film attended the Sundance premiere in secret, due to security concerns, according to Cosmopolitan. According to the magazine’s Katie Van Syckle, the group received a standing ovation at the conclusion of the film.
— Katie Van Syckle (@KatieVanSyckle) January 25, 2016
After the film ended, each of the four abortion providers spoke about why they continue to do their work.
“For me, it was a question of my humanity,” said Dr. Willie Parker, who provides abortion services in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. “I had to choose that I wasn’t going to be more of a man than I was going to be a human being, so that meant I had to understand what it meant to women not to have this service. And as Abraham Lincoln said, when asked why he freed the slaves, he simply said, ‘As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.’ So because I would not want to have my rights taken away from me, I will not participate in the tyranny of patriarchy and stand silent.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, said that many abortion providers “do come from a religious, ethical, moral framework,” and said she sees her work as a “human rights issue.”
“That’s what brought me into the work in the first place, and then learning about medicine and learning about the health-care business and learning now about law are all byproducts of my quest to create a place where women can get the care they deserve, so they can exercise their right to full humanity and dignity,” Miller added. “And so a lot of time when people say, ‘What kind of work do you do?’ Obviously the answer is, ‘I’m an abortion provider,’ but I usually I say I work in the stigma-eradication, self-esteem boosting, identity-examination business.”
Dalton Johnson, owner of the Alabama Women’s Wellness Center, said he was “glad” to be “fighting the good fight” to keep abortion clinics open in the state, while June Ayers, owner and director of Reproductive Health Services in Montgomery said that her work providing abortions “feeds [her] soul.”
“I get up every morning and I have the opportunity to help women with every phone call that comes in, with every appointment I can make,” Ayers said. “I have the opportunity to do what I love, which is taking care of patients. And that gives me the courage to get up every day … I am a strong and independent woman, I have always been that way. I feel like if a woman’s right to choose is taken away from her, then she is not empowered, and [we want] to continue to empower women.”
Below, check out a clip from Sundance of director Dawn Porter discussing her motivation for making Trapped.