In 1973, Roe v. Wade took anti-abortion laws to the Supreme Court, and laid the groundwork for reproductive rights in the U.S. On Jan. 21st, Melwood Screening Room and Planned Parenthood of Western PA (PPWP) will honor the landmark decision with Vessel, a feature documentary about one doctor’s fight to help women across the globe.
Vessel begins with a young doctor who lived by the sea, and an unlikely idea. Rebecca Gomperts, horrified by the realities created by anti-abortion law around the world, felt compelled to challenge this. Her method: to provide abortions on a ship in offshore waters. Her project, Women on Waves, begins as flawed spectacle, a media frenzy, faced with governmental, religious, and military blockades. But with each setback comes a more refined mission, until Rebecca has the revelation that she can use new technologies to bypass law – and train women to give themselves safe abortions using WHO-sanctioned protocols with pills. Directed by Diana Whitten, Vessel is Rebecca’s story: one of a woman who heard and answered a calling, and transformed a wildly improbable idea into a global movement.
Vessel will screen at 7 p.m. in Melwood Screening Room. Tickets are $5 at the door. A post-screening party and discussion will take place at Silky’s Pub.