Film series honors anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Kristina Burton

Forty years ago, the United States Supreme Court made a landmark decision on the issue of abortion. This case came to be known as Roe v. Wade.

To honor this monumental case, WKU’s Gender and Women’s Studies Program is presenting their “Reproductive Rights Film Series.”

The first film, “Silent Choices,” was shown on Feb. 5 and co-sponsored by the African American Studies program. The film was followed up with a discussion led by Cierra Waller.

Waller, an office associate in the Institute for Citizenship & Social Responsibility at WKU who plans to become an instructor next semester in the Diversity and Community Studies Program, said that there was an overall good response to the film, which dealt with themes of abortion and reproductive rights from an African-American perspective.

“I gave the disclaimer that ICSR is a safe space, so they could feel free to speak openly and freely without anyone infringing on their voice,” Waller said. “They were all respectful and mindful of other peoples’ thoughts, stories and opinions. There were no personal attacks or anything said to make others feel uncomfortable about what they’d spoke up about.”

The second film, “Citizen Ruth,” will be shown tonight. It will also be followed up with a discussion led by Kristi Branham, an assistant professor in the gender and women’s studies department.

Branham said she wanted to be a part of the series because she feels that women deserve a choice.

“I have a lot of faith in women, and I think they can make their own decisions,” Branham said.

Branham said she also thinks it’s more complicated than a yes or no issue.

“I see it as a bigger reproductive rights and justice issue than just abortion,” Branham said. “And that includes a whole category of things.”

The third film, “Leona’s Sister Gerri,” will be shown later in the month and followed up with a discussion led by Jane Olmsted.

The film tells the story of a woman who died giving herself an abortion and the resulting photograph of her that has become a poster-image for abortion rights.

Olmsted, director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and department head of the Diversity and Community Studies Program, likes that those who come and see the films can be on an equal level with one another.

“It promotes discussion, because everyone’s on common ground after seeing the movie at the same time,” Olmsted said.

Waller, Branham and Olmsted all hope for the film series to start conversations and raise awareness about the complex issues surrounding reproductive rights.

“Citizen Ruth” will be shown tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the ICSR, Garrett 115, and “Leona’s Sister Gerri” will be shown March 25 at the same place and time.

Both are swipeable events and refreshments will be served.