Silent Choices

For the most part this video documentary about black Americans' attitudes toward abortion is evenhanded and instructive. Director Faith Pennick traces the history of reproductive rights from the early 20th century, when Margaret Sanger tried to make safe abortions available to poor African-Americans, to the 60s, when the Black Panther Party encouraged women to have large families as a revolutionary act. Pennick's pro-choice agenda becomes more overt as she allots significant screen time to the role of Christian pastoral counselors; in a dialogue with pro-life Reverend Clement Childress, she uses a ticking clock on the soundtrack to emphasize his evasiveness. Her case is made more effectively in interviews with several women who consider their lives immeasurably better because they terminated early pregnancies. 60 min.

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