Abortion is no joke. Lizz Winstead begins to differ

June 24, 2022 was a dark moment in American history: Millions of women lost their right to legal abortion when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Bans have been imposed in Alabama and Texas, and 21 states now restrict the procedure more strictly than they did previously. fish eggs standard, forcing pregnant women in need of life-saving care through a brutal medical odyssey. The harsh consequences of Dobbs decided to make it a day worth celebrating through…comedy?

Yes, but only if that significant tax force is provided by Lizz Winstead, co-creator (with Madeleine Smithberg) belong to Daily program. She is at the center of this harrowing and hilarious documentary No one asks you, that will be screening at eight locations on June 24, a day that Winstead and her colleagues in the Abortion Access Front are calling “The Flip.” More screenings are happening in states where abortion has effectively become illegal or will be on the ballot this fall—and one will take place in Jackson, Mississippi, where the The state’s last abortion clinic is the center of Dobbs ruling.

Winstead has been combining independent views and activism since 1989. In 2015, she founded what was initially called the Lady Parts Justice League as a means to stir up outrage, raise money, train activists, promote safe and easy access to reproductive care, and “kick the government out of your pants. “Plus,” Winstead says, “becoming an abortion comedian is a huge career step. Super lucrative, your phone never stops ringing with job offers and you’ll gain millions of friends.”

Well, at least hundreds of friends. A key element of Winstead’s work, captured in the film, was traveling to dozens of abortion clinics—everywhere from Little Rock, Fort Worth and Atlanta to Louisville, Tuscaloosa and Detroit—to lift the spirits of women. employees are under siege. Sometimes that involves putting on a lighthearted comedy show; sometimes it means planting trees to brighten the clinic’s grounds and block the view of anti-abortion protesters. “I founded this organization because there is a huge gap in this movement. There are no advocacy groups checking in, especially independent providers, to see how they are doing,” Winstead said. “People do this job and don’t tell their families because they will deny it or get angry. The appreciation I received for showing up with cupcakes was overwhelming. I thought, There is something wrong here.”

No one asked you It took six years to make and during filming, things got progressively worse. Cameras follow Winstead and her team’s visit to Jackson, Mississippi’s Pink House, the clinic that—in a cinematic stroke of luck, albeit a public policy disaster—would become the losing plaintiff sue in litigation. Dobbs case. “When we started filming, we didn’t know that was going to happen,” said Ruth Leitman, documentary film director. However, the accumulating legal gloom is pierced by the charismatic heroism of the film’s unwitting second star, Derenda Hancock, the drawl, cowboy-hat-wearing coordinator of the Pink House Defenders, a volunteer group that escorts patients into the clinic. In a movie full of professional comedians, Hancock delivers perhaps the most bitterly humorous line, quietly telling a vicious anti-abortion protester, “You’re crazy.”

One of the documentary’s greatest strengths is that it takes abortion out of the abstract ideological carnival and humanizes the issue through portraits of people like Hancock. That achievement is closely related to one of Winstead’s key insights: that talking frankly – and joking intelligently – about abortion has political power because it undermines discrimination that opponents use as a weapon. “We have politicians who for 50 years don’t know how to talk about this issue,” Winstead said. “’Don’t say ‘abortion’—say ‘reproductive rights.’ So the anti-abortion movement says the word four times more than we do. Everyone was so scared. We just decided to rip the Band-Aid off and take the hits.” Winstead herself has never been shy about discussing her own teenage ordeal with abortion, both on stage and in essays. When Leitman met Winstead in 2012, the two women found they shared a painful bond. “At the same time Lizz was having an abortion, trying to escape an abusive relationship with her high school boyfriend in Minnesota, I was doing the same thing in Philadelphia,” Leitman said. “It hit me a lot. I wouldn’t be talking to you if I hadn’t had that abortion.”

Parcel-Dobbs, Leitman and Winstead are encouraged—somewhat—by the fact that voters rejected the anti-abortion referendum. However, “at the same time initiatives were being defeated, they were also voting in favor of some of the guys who wrote the rules,” Winstead said. “How does this work?” She doesn’t wait to find out. Following their “Overturniversary” event, Winstead and Leitman will take the show on the road to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, complete with a variety act called “A Cavalcade of Cooch” and other singer dressed as giant mifepristone pills.

Winstead’s style is a significant and welcome departure from the typical Democratic Party approach. “These political groups talk about ‘We’re going to invest $100 million in a reproductive rights campaign before the election,’” she said. “And who will manage that for you? ‘Other Rim people.’ Fine.” Insiders might be wise to consult a woman who has spent decades on the abortion campaign trail, finding creative ways to motivate real people to take action. .


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