Trapped

TRAPPED, doc­u­men­tary, not rated, Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, 3.5 chiles

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - — Jen­nifer Levin

Be­tween 2010 and the end of 2015, state leg­is­la­tures passed 288 laws reg­u­lat­ing abor­tion providers, with more still in the process of be­ing leg­is­lated. These laws in­clude re­quir­ing that abor­tions be per­formed in high-level am­bu­la­tory sur­gi­cal cen­ters de­signed for much more in­va­sive pro­ce­dures, and that doc­tors who per­form abor­tions must have ad­mit­ting priv­i­leges at a lo­cal hospital, even though sev­eral such doc­tors pro­vide ser­vices through­out an en­tire state or in more than one state. Many doc­tors are forced to dis­cuss risks of abor­tion pro­ce­dures with pa­tients, such as breast cancer, that politi­cians and not doc­tors have de­ter­mined are as­so­ci­ated with abor­tion. And in some states, doc­tors are legally re­quired to per­form some pro­ce­dures, like ul­tra­sounds, more of­ten than med­i­cally nec­es­sary, thereby in­creas­ing the num­ber of vis­its a pa­tient must make to a clinic. For pa­tients in south­ern Texas, this means mak­ing mul­ti­ple overnight jour­neys to San An­to­nio.

Sup­port­ers of these laws say they are to make health­care safer for women. Op­po­nents call such leg­is­la­tion tar­geted reg­u­la­tion of abor­tion — or “TRAP laws” — and say they serve only to in­crease costs for abor­tion providers, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult or im­pos­si­ble to re­main in busi­ness.

Trapped, an up-to-the-mo­ment look at the con­se­quences of TRAP laws in Texas, Alabama, and Mis­sis­sippi, di­rected by Dawn Porter, is a nat­u­ral com­pan­ion to Af­ter Tiller, a 2013 doc­u­men­tary about the avail­abil­ity of late-term abor­tion in the United States. The movies share the same sense of ur­gency over the ero­sion of a con­sti­tu­tional right, and re­veal providers as hu­man be­ings with strong per­sonal call­ings to their ca­reers. Dr. Wil­lie Parker, a de­vout Chris­tian, spent many years work­ing in Chicago and trav­el­ing to Alabama and Mis­sis­sippi to per­form abor­tions. Af­ter TRAP laws re­duced the num­ber of abor­tion providers in Mis­sis­sippi to one, he moved there so the state would have two. Like Parker, many own­ers, doc­tors, nurses, and staff mem­bers in Trapped are African-Amer­i­can; they are rou­tinely ha­rassed by white protestors out­side of the clin­ics who tell them they are evil for abort­ing black ba­bies, and that “all black lives mat­ter.” One clinic owner has a sprin­kler sys­tem in place to keep pro­test­ers from get­ting too close, but her daily vis­i­tor, who holds a sign and yells at the build­ing about Je­sus, doesn’t seem to mind get­ting soaked.

As each new set of TRAP laws gets put in place, more clin­ics have to shut their doors, and the open clin­ics see their call vol­ume dou­ble or triple overnight, af­ter pa­tients find their ap­point­ments can­celed else­where. The ded­i­cated clinic own­ers and doc­tors are stretched to ca­pac­ity, men­tally and phys­i­cally, but those in­ter­viewed in Trapped show no signs of giv­ing up the fight for safe, le­gal abor­tions — in ar­eas of the coun­try where that fight gets more dif­fi­cult ev­ery day.

Help­ing hands: a scene from Trapped

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