The New Netflix Documentary “Reversing Roe,” Shows All We Need to Know About The State of Roe v. Wade

On Thursday, September 13th, Netflix released a new documentary called “Reversing Roe.” The documentary goes over the history of abortion in America, from when it was illegal, to the push for legalization, and finally the passage of Roe v. Wade. However, beyond that, it also talks about the many attempts that have been made to put added restrictions on abortion and to reverse Roe v. Wade altogether. All in all, it’s a must watch to realize that legal abortion is hanging on by a thread and women everywhere are in danger of losing their right to choose.

The film first discusses the state of America when abortion was illegal. Women would seek out illegal abortions from doctors who were risking their career and medical license to provide this service. However, it was largely only upper-class white women who could afford these abortions. It wasn’t until the legalization that abortions became more accessible to the rest of the population.

At first, however, abortion was not a political issue, but a medical one. Many believed that the decision to have an abortion is one to be made between a woman and her doctor. This belief was widespread among Republicans, who supported individual liberty and a woman's right to choose. So how did it become so politicized? According to the documentary, once evangelicals took their stance on abortion and became “increasingly pivotal to the electoral fortunes of GOP candidates,” the Republican party began to stand with them against abortion. They became so invested in the debate that it became a critical part of campaigns for offices overseeing anything from finances to agriculture.

From there, the parties became more and more divided, and more and more passionate about the issue. Many turned to the law and made it their mission to shut down as many abortion clinics as possible while others took to violence in the pro-life debate. Propaganda such as “partial birth abortions” were used as a scare tactic, along with language such as that of President Trump saying, “in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.” Now, since 2010, over 300 policies have been put into place putting restrictions on abortion and making it increasingly more difficult for a woman to have this procedure.

This documentary is also filled with interviews of advocates on both sides of the debate. It features, on the pro-choice side, Wendy Davis, who put on a 13-hour filibuster to prevent the passage of even more abortion restrictions, and Colleen McNicholas, an obstetrician-gynecologist based in St. Louis who travels throughout the Midwest providing abortions to women. On the pro-life side we hear from Troy Newman, who has created Operation Rescue to shut down as many abortion clinics as possible, and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Hearing from both sides allows a look into the ideals, beliefs, and misconceptions that come from both the pro-life and pro-choice advocates.

The fate of Roe v. Wade lies in the hands of Supreme Court Justices, and with the pending nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, this documentary provides great insight into the fate of abortion rights. 

Click here to view the trailer!