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The Atlantic Selects

The Traveling Abortion Doctor

Dec 20, 2017 | 831 videos
Video by Leah Galant and Maya Cueva

Every week, Dr. Shannon Carr flies to Texas, where she works in one of the state’s seven remaining abortion clinics after House Bill Two effectively shuttered nearly two-thirds of the facilities in the state. Filmmakers Leah Galant and Maya Cueva follow Dr. Carr as she meets patients and performs safe and legal abortions, despite the state’s vigorous anti-abortion stigma and legislation.

“The work that I do is necessary,” says Dr. Carr in the film. “So why not talk about it? It’s gone on for centuries—it’s going to continue to go on—and all we do is keep stuffing it under the rug.”

Dr. Carr attempts to make human connections with her patients—some of whom travel more than 150 miles to the clinic. “It’s the stories that drive us,” Dr. Carr says. “Some of these women walk in with life circumstances that are chaotic and very difficult, and it might be the first time in their life that somebody really looked into their eyes and gave a damn about them.”

The filmmakers also interview pro-life advocates, including Karen Garnett, one of the movement’s preeminent leaders in the country, and Emily Horne, who co-authored the HB2 bill. We also hear from Sarah Weddington, the attorney who won the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case.

“One of the biggest challenges of production was trying to capture both sides of the debate,” Galant and Cueva told The Atlantic. “It’s not easy filming a topic where the division runs so deep. Naturally, we got questioned by both sides on our intentions and we were met with some hostility along the way. But our objective was to honestly show what the fight surrounding abortion was like in Texas while humanizing all of our subjects.”

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Author: Emily Buder

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.