Foreign Correspondent: Aug 5
The US Supreme Court is due to reconsider the seminal Roe v. Wade decision later this year.
This week on Foreign Correspondent Kathryn Diss travels to the Midwest for “Right to Choose.”
The right to an abortion in the US is on the brink. Guaranteed by the Supreme Court 50 years ago, that right has been wound back by the states. With the Court about to reconsider the issue, many states could ban it overnight.
They’ve been abused, assaulted and murdered. The clinics where they work have been harassed, bombed and set alight. US doctors who perform abortions have long been the targets of religious extremists.
“They are terrorizing the people who need care, they’re terrorizing…me and my staff,” says one Missouri doctor.
In the state of Missouri, the campaign by religious activists has succeeded in winding back access to abortion. There used to be 30 clinics in the state; now there is just one and it’s almost empty.
“We’re happy that here in Missouri, we’re down to one clinic”, says a Catholic deacon. He condemns the use of violence against doctors as “deplorable” but fights hard on the legal front for what he believes is the right choice.
The bitter battle over abortion rights has long divided and ignited America. Now it’s set to intensify, with the Supreme Court due to reconsider the seminal Roe v. Wade decision later this year.
50 years ago, the Supreme Court guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion but that right has gradually been whittled away at the state level. If the new conservative majority on the Court reverses the federal precedent, many ‘pro-life’ states could ban abortion overnight.
The two states of Missouri and Illinois illustrate the great American divide. They share a border – the mighty Mississippi River – but when it comes to women’s reproductive health, they’ve got little in common.
US correspondent Kathryn Diss travels to the Midwest at a time when activists on both sides are gearing up to fight for this highly contested right.
A controversial and sensitive subject, it took Diss one year to gain rare access to film inside clinics in both states. She meets 31-year-old India, a single mother of three, who felt strongly enough about the issue to go on camera.
“It bothers me when someone sits back and judges a woman because she gets an abortion”, she tells Foreign Correspondent. “You never know what a woman is going through, what her reasonings are about wanting to get an abortion”.
India must leave Missouri and cross the river to the state of Illinois where the procedure is cheaper and easier to access.
Diss meets a Catholic deacon, who has set up a maternity home for pregnant women. “My core belief is that every human life should be protected from conception through birth”, he tells Diss.
His next goal is to get a bill passed which will stop women from leaving Missouri to get an abortion elsewhere. “I would love to see no abortions in Missouri…By that I mean, not only that none are performed here, but that no woman even considers going out of state to get an abortion.”
Thursday 5 August at 8pm on ABC.