Elizabeth Banks, Dascha Polanco and actresses tell stories of women's abortions

The Draw the Line campaign is defending women's right to access legal abortions 

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The Independent Online

Elizabeth Banks, Dascha Polanco and five other actresses are telling stories of real abortions in a new video series defending a woman's right to safe and legal abortion. 

Banks, Polanco, Mary McCormack, Mercedes Mason, Bellamy Young, Amy Brenneman and Retta present emotive stories from teenagers, students, nurses and mothers who shared their experiences for the pro-choice Draw the Line campaign. Some of the accounts came from women denied abortions in the US such as Suzanne, who was forced to deliver her son at 15 weeks after doctors refused to terminate the pregnancy when she went into preterm labour, despite knowing the child would not survive. 

In her video, Banks recounts the story of Rebecca, a woman who chose to have a termination after becoming pregnant by an abusive partner. Rebecca's story focused on her raising the courage to tell her pro-life friend she wanted to terminate the pregnancy. “She saw the bruises and knew my boyfriend hit me, not just once, and not accidentally. I already knew she was against abortion. I told her that I could not have my abuser's baby. I waited for her judgment, and it never came.”

In another, Polanco shares Kayleigh's story, a woman who was secure in the knowledge that having an abortion was the best choice for her but faced barriers to obtaining one legally. 

“I was a full-time student with a full-time job. I made the best decision possible for me: I scheduled an abortion. But in Texas, once I had made my decision, there were a whole bunch of obstacles that others put in my way." 

The Draw the Line campaign, launched by the Centre for Reproductive Rights, aims to present the experiences and situations faced by women who choose to end a pregnancy. It comes ahead of Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the first abortion case due to be held in the Supreme Court in 20 years. 

The series, directed by Betty Thomas, also coincides with the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision on Friday, which protects a woman’s right to freedom of personal choice in family matters, including abortion. 

Draw the Line's website features videos of women talking about their own abortions, including Alice, 93, who had an illegal termination in her living room.

“The stories highlighted by these incredible actresses tell the important and moving story of women who face many obstacles to access to their constitutionally protected right to an abortion,” CRR said in a statement. 

“As we prepare to argue for women’s access to safe, legal abortion services before the US Supreme Court, we need to make it clear to politicians exactly what’s at stake when they attack our reproductive freedom and fundamental rights.”