“As women’s bodily autonomy is being stripped away by American legislation, the right to a safe and legal abortion is once again a personal and political battleground. Oft considered a ‘taboo’ subject, abortion has in fact been portrayed in film for just about as long as the medium itself. Spanning the silent era to the present day, this series surveys depictions of unintended pregnancy in American narrative cinema, from Josef von Sternberg’s dark pre-Code drama An American Tragedy (1931), to the iconic ’80s rom-com Dirty Dancing, to Eliza Hittman’s indie hit Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020). Whether fraught with or free of moral judgment, these stories reflect, and other times oppose, the prevailing politics and mores of their time.”—Emma Myers, series curator

The series will be accompanied by a documentary shorts sidebar, including It Happens to Us by Amalie R. Rothschild, and more.

“In the wake of the Roe v. Wade news, this series is now more timely than anyone could have ever imagined. Looking at abortion stories on American screens over a 100-year period makes it clear that restricting safe and legal access to abortion does not prevent abortion, it only endangers women’s lives. These films remind us of the myriad ways that the legal, medical, and political systems have failed women over the years; they also illustrate that women have always needed, wanted, sought, discussed, self-induced, and received abortions. Abortion is not taboo: it’s a basic human right.”–Emma Myers, series curator

50% Of All Proceeds From Ticket Sales To Go Towards NARAL Pro-Choice America And Additional U.S. Reproductive Rights Organizations

Visit NARAL to find out more about ways to donate and help women across America have affordable access to abortion and support reproductive rights.


Emma Myers on It Happens To Us: Abortion in American FIlm

By Metrograph

Series curator Emma Myers discusses It Happens To Us, a survey of abortion and its representation in American cinema over the past century.