12th & Delaware (HBO)
In 1999, an anti-abortion organization in Fort Pierce, Florida, bought a house across the street from A Woman’s World, an abortion clinic, and established the Pregnancy Care Center. The center provides health services and alternate counseling — some women understandably mistake it for the clinic — while serving as a de facto home base for protestors who patrol the clinic’s sidewalks day and night. 12th & Delaware, named for the intersection, covers a two-year span during which filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady had stunningly intimate access to both camps. They show us pregnant women, from young teens to middle-aged, grappling with their decisions during interviews with counselors at both facilities. They show us activists with missionary fervor waving tiny, plastic fetuses at women entering the clinic and imploring them in God’s name to choose life.The clinic’s surgeon, meanwhile, defensively wears a sheet over his head as he’s driven into and out of its attached garage. One-on-one interviews with people on both sides are respectful. Their sincerity is taken as a given. If this somber documentary doesn’t resolve the long-standing debate, it presents the two positions honestly and fairly. For its poignant portrait of women facing exceedingly difficult decisions at a literal intersection of opposing ideologies, 12th & Delaware receives a Peabody Award.
Executive producer: Sheila Nevins (for HBO). Producer: Sara Bernstein (Supervising Producer for HBO). Directors: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing. Cinematographer: Katherine Patterson. Editor: Enat Sidi.
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