The 12 Best Documentaries About Abortion

Sep 15, 2023 | Best Of, Health, Medicine

Abortion is a highly contentious issue, with passionate and deeply held beliefs on both sides of the debate. But documentaries can be an invaluable resource in shedding light on the facts and helping to expand our understanding of this complex topic. This list collects some of the best documentaries about abortion available to watch today, offering a range of perspectives on the subject from a variety of different filmmakers. Each of these documentaries is sure to leave you with more questions than answers, but that’s part of the beauty of exploring different points of view on this important issue.


1. The Abortion Divide

The Abortion Divide, a groundbreaking documentary from FRONTLINE, looks at the ongoing conflict over abortion and its impact on American lives. It revisits Pennsylvania 40 years after Roe v. Wade and shines a light on both sides of the debate with an in-depth look at the issue of abortion. This comprehensive exploration goes beyond the headlines to provide viewers with an intimate look at the women, men, and families affected by this highly controversial issue. The full documentary can be watched on PBS official website.

2. Abortion in Europe

Abortion in Europe has been a topic of passionate debate amongst citizens and politicians alike. In Poland, protests have erupted in response to the country’s stringent abortion laws. In Italy, medical professionals are divided on the topic with some refusing to perform abortions even in cases of emergency. This disagreement extends throughout the whole continent, making it difficult to determine what course of action should be taken.


3. How Roe v. Wade Came Under Attack Before | The Last Abortion Clinic

The landmark case of Roe v. Wade legalized abortion throughout the United States and has since come under fire from anti-abortion advocates. Over the years, these activists have been successful in passing multiple state laws that limit access to abortion, with Mississippi serving as a blueprint for other states to follow suit. The Last Abortion Clinic takes an in-depth look at this ongoing battle over a woman’s right to choose, exploring the legal and ethical implications of these restrictions.


4. With Roe overturned, women have to leave their states to get an abortion

With the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, a decision that had been protecting women’s right to choose for almost 50 years, many women have found themselves in a difficult situation. Having to leave their home states to access abortion services can be an emotional and financially draining experience. For those looking for more information on this heartbreaking topic, we have rounded up the best documentaries about abortion that provide a comprehensive and informative look into this important issue.


5. Plan B: Abortion in America

As hundreds of thousands of people mobilize against the new abortion restrictions, a small group of women have been quietly risking their lives to protect others’ right to choose. From the Republican stronghold States, Dateline reports on the individuals behind the restrictive laws – and those fighting back despite the risks. Plan B: Abortion in America is an exposé into this underground movement, an exploration of the moral and human costs of the new laws, and a look into how individuals are creating their own solutions in order to ensure that nobody has to face these decisions alone.


6. When Abortion Was Illegal

This fascinating documentary explores what life was like for women seeking abortions before Roe v. Wade, when the procedure was illegal in many states. We hear from those who had to resort to drastic measures and from the brave individuals that faced punishment and risked their livelihoods to help them. Follow their stories as they journey through a time of immense secrecy and fear — a far cry from the medical safety standards of today. Through these powerful stories, we gain a greater understanding of why Roe v. Wade was essential and what it meant for women’s rights in America.


7. How the Anti-Abortion Rights Movement Took Down Roe

Roe v. Wade, the historic Supreme Court decision that granted women access to legal abortion in 1973, is under threat. VICE News takes an investigative dive into the anti-abortion rights movement and how it’s been able to push its agenda over the past several years. We examine their strategies, look at what they have planned next and consider how this could affect millions of Americans.


8. The Abortion Hotline

The Abortion Hotline in Chile is a powerful force of change. Despite the fact that abortion remains illegal and punishable by imprisonment, a dedicated group of young activists have taken it upon themselves to answer calls from pregnant women in distress. Mafe leads this passionate team, offering advice on how Misoprostol can be used as an effective ulcer treatment – but also as a method to induce abortion.


9. The Racial Politics of Abortion

From 2016, acclaimed filmmaker Dawn Porter offers a unique and intimate insight into the stories of Black women who seek out reproductive services in America. With an eye for the politics of abortion, this documentary provides an invaluable snapshot into the lives of Black health care providers, mothers, pro-choice and pro-life activists. It shows how laws restricting abortion access can have a significant impact on Black women and their families.


10. Abortion misinformation in the United States of America

Misinformation about abortion is rampant in the United States, with certain media outlets playing a key role in amplifying these inaccuracies. The Supreme Court’s ruling on reproductive rights has shifted the landscape of American law to restrict access to abortions and other reproductive choices. This shift has been met with vehement protest from many who feel their basic freedoms are being denied. Documentaries have emerged to further explore the issues surrounding abortion, helping educate viewers on this hot-button topic.


11. Backstreet Abortions in the Philippines

Abortion has been a controversial issue in the Philippines. In 2012, the government made a historic move by signing the Reproductive Health Bill, which would provide free contraceptives to its poorest women and introduce sex education into schools. Despite this initiative, religious opposition and inefficient bureaucracy have meant that the RH Law is not adequately providing for those most in need.


12. Forbidden abortion in Poland

In Poland, Dore van Duivenbode takes an in-depth look into the current abortion debate. An interview with determined proponents and dissenters alike reveals a harsh truth – in this country, abortion is only allowed under three specific circumstances. This documentary seeks to explore the implications of this law, as well as how it affects people’s lives. With strong opinions on both sides of the debate, viewers are left to decide for themselves how best to approach this controversial issue.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B