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Melissa Silverstein Headshot

12th & Delaware

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12th & Delaware directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) is a really good documentary. It's interesting, provocative, engaging and very well shot.

The film tells the story of what happens at the intersection of pro-choice avenue and anti-choice lane (this one in Fort Pierce, Florida) where one side of the street is an abortion clinic and the other side is a so-called crisis pregnancy center. These intersections are where the battle for choice is happening nowadays and are becoming more and more common in the abortion debate.

Here's the rub. The film also shows how the pro-choice movement is losing the war. Did you know that there are only around 800 abortion clinics in the country compared to over 4000 crisis pregnancy centers? When did this happen?

For those in the pro-choice movement this is a great film to rile up the troops. As a person who has done her share of marching and protesting the anti's led by the crisis pregnancy center executive director Anne Lotierzo come off as zealots. The movie shows how they lure women and girls who are in crisis to their center (lots of times the women think they are actually making an appointment at the abortion clinic which is exactly what the crisis pregnancy center wants) and ply them with food and false information. They do everything they can to make sure these women don't get an abortion even lying to them about the status of their pregnancy. They are horrible. The propaganda that they distribute made my blood boil. Young women walk in for information and the truth and walk out with a pamphlet that says that abortion causes breast cancer.

But then you get to the other side of the street to the clinic and I was shocked at the lack of security and precautions taken to protect the clients as well as the employees and doctors. Don't they know that an abortion doctor has been murdered in Florida? You can tell by the protesters who spend day after day on the streets outside that this clinic is going to have trouble. Soon. I kept thinking to myself haven't they read any of the reports on clinic safety? How can the door to the clinic not be locked so anyone can walk in?

And, in a moment of abject shock, Arnold the clinic director's husband (and it seems the person who is in charge of security) pulled out of the garage on his way to pick up the doctor to perform abortions in a bright yellow mustang that you can hear blocks away. Way to be discreet. While the doctor does cover him or her self up with a sheet, the antis don't have a really hard time in tracking down where the pick up and drop off happens. The film shows one of the protesters following the mustang. He is clearly getting ready to take the harassment of this doctor to another level which he freely admits.

The film scared the crap out of me because the filmmakers chose to let the two sides speak for themselves. They didn't have any experts or choose to refute any of the misinformation. I understand why they did that as filmmakers, but as a pro choice person it makes me really anxious to have a lot of false info floating around. I hope that there is some way to clarify the truth vs. the lies cause we are already so far behind.

Film airs on HBO in August.