Stand With Us: Reproductive Justice in Utah

Stand With Us is a project for the University of Utah’s Social Justice Documentary Filmmaking course, created by Grace Mathews, Sage Bennett, Meghan McGinnis, and myself.

While politicians on Capitol Hill have been working to defund Planned Parenthood on a federal level, Planned Parenthood of Utah has been frequently targeted by the state as well. In 2015, Governor Gary Herbert cut $225,000 from Planned Parenthood’s funding. This was taken from funding designated for STD testing, STD tracking, and sex education services offered by the organization.

We sat down with volunteers, patients, members of our university’s chapter of Students for Choice (a Planned Parenthood advocacy groupย found on several college campuses), and employees to talk about common misconceptions about the organization, their personal experiences with Planned Parenthood, and why it is important to be an advocate for access to reproductive healthcare in the current political climate.

One of our greatest artistic challenges was finding acceptable b-roll for our film. To protect patient confidentiality, we were unable to film anything inside of the clinic itself. I went through the public domain footage available on archive.org and found film reels from the 1940s and 1950s about the reproductive system, childbirth, pharmacists and nursing schools to use in place of clinical footage. I love the vintage educational video vibes that the clips add to the final product. It gives the film a stronger visual element, and the funny dialogue from the old school, baritone narration helps to make what is generally a taboo subject easier for the audience to feel comfortable engaging in.

This was a truly fulfilling project to work on, both artistically and sociologically. I am grateful for the help from our documentary subjects Makele White, Kiman Kaur, Ali Timmons, and Ashton Bell, as well as from everyone else affiliated with Planned Parenthood of Utah and Students for Choice who assisted us with this project.

If you are interested in getting involved with Planned Parenthood or becoming an ambassador, visit PPACUtah.org for more information.

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Hey there, I'm Ellen. 23-year-old film & gender studies student. Art house valley girl. A full-on Monet. I wish Sofia Coppola directed my life.

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