Abortion Helpline: This Is Lisa


What is the Hyde Amendment and why has its repeal become a litmus test for progressive politicians? In 1976, only three years after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, the Hyde Amendment was enacted with the explicit intention of denying poor individuals—those receiving Medicaid—access to abortion. Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa gives voice to individuals affected by discriminatory policies like the Hyde Amendment. At the abortion helpline in Philadelphia, phone counselors—all called Lisa—arrive each morning to the nonstop ring of calls from people who are seeking to end a pregnancy . . . and can’t afford to. What do women do when faced with this dilemma? Some may call an abortion fund where counselors struggle to stretch funds raised from private donations to last all week so that Friday’s “Lisa” won’t be empty-handed when the phone rings. The urgent calls fielded by the helpline counselors are juxtaposed with archival footage of Rep.Henry Hyde as he lays groundwork for this bleak scenario, saying “We cannot save the unborn of the rich . . . Thank God we can save some of the children of the poor.” In the film, we see how a person’s ability to raise money to pay for an abortion often comes down to a dangerous matter of timing. Will her call be answered when the coffers are full, or will she have to keep looking for money and push her procedure into a later,more expensive and complicated time frame? Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa shares the stories of the callers for whom getting through to the helpline in time can literally be life-changing—for them and their families.


Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, Mike Attie
13 min