Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court established women’s basic reproductive rights in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, anti-abortion crusaders operating under the guise of evangelical authority have made significant inroads in the legal and political battle over women’s bodies. In recent years, nearly 300 Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws have been passed by state legislatures, forcing healthcare clinics to abide by arbitrary standards and stringent, sometimes ridiculous regulations that make it increasingly difficult for independent providers to perform safe abortions. Director Maisie Crow’s balanced but deeply committed documentary Jackson tackles this subject with frankness and sensitivity, focusing on the financially strapped individuals who are most impacted by the limitations being placed on abortion access. Set in Mississippi, a state where the number of abortion clinics has shrunk from fourteen to one, the film shows how cultural stigmatization and familial pressure — not to mention “pro-life” protestors’ constant calls to close that last clinic — affect young mothers (like twenty-four-year-old April Jackson) who are faced with unplanned pregnancies. One of the most intelligent and stirring exposes on the subject of reproductive justice ever made, Jackson is sure to spark difficult but necessary public conversations about women’s rights and healthcare accessibility for years to come.
– By David Scott Diffrient