In June of 2022, the Supreme Court ended 50 years of constitutional protections for abortion in America with their decision on Dobbs versus Mississippi, which overturned Roe versus Wade. In the absence of Roe, we have seen a tsunami abortion bans passed by states from Mississippi to Ohio. Even before Roe was overturned, research shows that the aggressive anti-abortion laws passed over the last decade forced nearly 1 in 10 people to travel out of state to get abortion care; these laws far disproportionaly impact people of color and other marginalized groups, long denied equitable access to healthcare. It is now impossible to overstate the healthcare crisis the end of Roe is triggering as states where abortion remains legal are inundated by patients from anti-abortion states, and those who cannot afford such travel will remain pregnant against their will.
How have we arrived here when 7 in 10 Americans support access to abortion and 1 in 4 women will terminate a pregnancy? I began this film with genuine curiosity: how has the anti-abortion movement been so successful at advancing their goals, when they are so blatantly outnumbered? In filming over the most pivotal year for abortion since Roe was decided, I discovered an anti-abortion movement that is organized, motivated, politically savvy and willing to go to great lengths to get what they want.
The creative team has met the challenges of this film with nuance and journalistic integrity, depicting its subjects’ views accurately while applying a sharp critical lens. BATTLEGROUND respects that people have come to their deeply-held positions on abortion from diverse backgrounds, experiences and beliefs. Viewers from all sides will probably strongly disagree with some of the voices in the film, and that’s OK – hearing from people with different points of view is a healthy part of our democracy. However, imposing one’s personal beliefs on others’ healthcare decisions through gerrymandering, stigma, voter-suppression, misinformation and other methods is not.
BATTLEGROUND is fundamentally the story of how a minority of people are manipulating the levers of power to subvert our democracy and advance their agenda against the will of the majority. While the film depicts the clash of abortion and politics in America, it is really about the erosion of our democratic systems and the disintegration of the separation between church and state.
The team behind this film are unwilling to accept an America where women’s and pregnant people’s lives are gambled with for political gain. If people do not understand the motivations and machinations that have created this situation, we will be unable to change it. That means fostering civic engagement at all levels, shifting culture, engaging the next generation with the same vigor as the anti-abortion movement is and exposing the detrimental outcomes when abortion is politicized.
As the producer and writer of Bully and the director of Netizens, I have a record of creating films that transcend political affiliations and catalyze measurable change. BATTLEGROUND is a unique opportunity to unleash a national dialogue about the future of American democracy and abortion rights – and inspire audiences to effective and focused action.