Population Media Center (PMC), a Vermont-based global sustainability nonprofit and broadcast production partner, has submitted an endorsement of Vermont’s proposed Reproductive Liberty Amendment protecting reproductive liberty. Simultaneously, in other regions of the United States, PMC staff are on the ground documenting the arduous journeys of real people seeking abortion care despite legislative, geographic, socio-economic, and other barriers for a 10-episode, docu-style PMC podcast, Crossing The Line.
“While PMC is a global organization working on reproductive healthcare around the world, our headquarters are here in Vermont. For our staff, our families, and every community, access to reproductive health services is crucially important,” says PMC President and Founder Bill Ryerson.
If passed, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment will amend Vermont’s Constitution to protect every person’s right to make personal medical decisions with their health care providers and other experts on issues relating to accessing abortion services, birth control, vasectomies, and gender-affirming healthcare.
“As a young woman and a Vermonter, it’s empowering to know that my employer and colleagues are willing to stand up for women’s rights and health rights that affect me personally, and it makes me even more proud to support PMC’s mission,” says Carolyn Gilbert, PMC’s Senior Program & Partnership Development Associate.
Approval of the Reproductive Liberty Amendment would make Vermont the first state in the nation to secure reproductive rights on a state constitutional level for all constituents.
“Vermont is making history by pursuing this amendment, and it is even more powerful that our headquarters is located in this very state,” says Kelsey Perrotte, PMC’s Administrative Assistant.
Vermont is moving closer to securing reproductive autonomy for all, but the fight for abortion access in other states such as Texas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma has been heightened to a new level. The soon-to-be-released podcast, Crossing The Line, will illuminate the real stories of people crossing state lines to access safe abortion along with the heroes and volunteers who help them along the way.
Later this year, the United States Supreme Court will announce its ruling on a challenge to a Mississippi pre-viability abortion ban that directly violates Roe v. Wade. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion access in many states will be diminished overnight due to trigger laws already in place.
“Every day, additional abortion restrictions are being implemented across the country. There are 13 states that will immediately ban abortion if Roe falls and 13 more that will quickly follow suit,” says PMC’s Head of U.S. Content Lisa Caruso, who conceived the podcast Crossing The Line.
Across the country, a team of embedded documentary filmmakers is sensitively witnessing and documenting the challenges people face for Crossing The Line.
“Each day, lowered viability limits, the threat of citizen arrests, and lack of geographical access are causing patients, doctors, and volunteers on the frontlines to travel even further and pay more to receive and provide safe abortions,” says Caruso.
Telling real life stories has been shown to affect people’s attitudes and behaviors in dramatic ways, and PMC expects Crossing The Line to move listeners to act.
“Not only are we sharing first-person narratives and giving a voice to the battle for reproductive autonomy in the United States, but we’re also anticipating that listeners of Crossing the Line will be moved to take action through the associated social impact campaign launching in conjunction with the podcast,” says Caruso.
A behind-the-scenes preview of Crossing The Line featuring Caruso and audio footage from the frontline in the fight for reproductive rights will take place on Zoom at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17. Registration is open to the public. Register at PopulationMedia.org/podcastpreview.
“Crossing the Line will help put the human reality of these restrictive laws in front of the American people,” says Ryerson.
Since 1998, PMC’s award-winning radio, video, and web series in the United States and abroad have flipped the script on social issues through the power of entertainment and inspired behavior change across 30+ languages, 50+ countries, and 500+ million lives.
“Previously, in the U.S., our program, East Los High on Hulu, modeled positive options for addressing teen pregnancy, including the use of abortion services to resolve an unintended pregnancy,” says Ryerson.
During the first month of streaming on Hulu, East Los High made Hulu’s top ten list and motivated more than 27,000 viewers to access digital Planned Parenthood services.
While the Reproductive Liberty Amendment will protect the right of Vermonters regardless of what happens in Washington D.C., the fate of reproductive health care access for the rest of the country is yet to be determined.
For more information on the Reproductive Liberty Amendment in Vermont, visit ReproLibertyVT.org.
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