The Center for Reproductive Rights has launched a new series of videos featuring Elizabeth Banks, Amy Brenneman, Mercedes Mason, Mary McCormack, Dascha Polanco, Retta and Bellamy Young in which they read stories from women who have decided to have an abortion.
The videos, which each run a couple of minutes, feature the actresses telling the women’s stories in the first person, giving a much more personal and emotional message than a typical public service announcement. The women submitted the stories to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which worked with them on the scripts.
In one video, Banks tells the story of “Rebecca,” who has decided to terminate her pregnancy after leaving her physically abusive boyfriend.
“One of the worst things about getting an abortion is actually having to say the word ‘abortion,'” Banks, telling the story of “Rebecca,” says in the video. But she struggles to tell a friend, who opposes abortion.
“I told her I could not have my abuser’s baby. I could not create a life with such a hateful man,” she says. In the end, her friend had no judgment.
“What I remember the most about my experience is how the women in my life stepped up to support the decision I was choosing to make, because the life they were most concerned about was mine,” she says.
The videos also were tied to the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, which is Friday.
“The stories highlighted by these incredible actresses tell the important and moving story of women who face many obstacles to access to their constitutionally protected right to an abortion,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.
“As we prepare to argue for women’s access to safe, legal abortion services before the U.S. Supreme Court, we need to make it clear to politicians exactly what’s at stake when they attack our reproductive freedom and fundamental rights,” she added.
The actresses are the most prominent so far to appear in the organization’s Draw the Line videos, and reflect an escalating debate over abortion rights. Republican presidential candidates have attacked Planned Parenthood, while in 2015 a half d0zen states passed new restrictions on abortion.
Some content creators have responded by tackling the issue in primetime.
Last fall “Scandal” featured an episode in which the lead character, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), has an abortion. It also featured a debate over government funding for Planned Parenthood.
The center, which is a global reproductive rights organization, hosted a luncheon with industry figures to talk about how Hollywood figures could help call attention to the women’s stories of access to abortion services.
Links to the videos can be found below: