Guest post by Lisa Keogh
I don’t find it difficult making decisions, which is probably a good thing considering that a lot of writing and directing is about making decisions. How long should we linger on close-up? Is there really another world or is it all in her head? How the hell are we going to shoot this if it keeps raining?
Most of the time when we claim to agonise over a decision what we’re looking for is the permission to make the choice we feel is instinctively right.
For me, there is no drama in the decision of whether or not to abort an unplanned pregnancy, because drama suggests conflict between right and wrong. Instead, when it comes to abortion, each woman makes the choice that is best for her life – she just needs to give herself the permission to accept it. And society needs to support her to make that choice. Every child, whether planned or unplanned, should be a wanted child.
Too many women are imprisoned by the cloak of shame around abortion. The dramatic arts have played their part in adding to that cloak and in attempting to lift it. It all comes down to how writers handle the issue. Making films about “the dilemma” implies there are only certain circumstances where abortion is acceptable. It makes people believe they have the right to examine a woman’s choice about her own body and to make her justify why she does or doesn’t want to proceed with a pregnancy.
Instead, I believe we need to trust women. Instead of focusing on the dilemma of whether or not to have an abortion, exploiting the suspense of a “will she/won’t she” plot, what needs to be examined is that Ireland is exporting its abortions. 12 women a day are leaving our island to access services that should be free, safe, and legal on their doorsteps. How many other women are ordering pills over the Internet and facing prosecution? How many others are forced to continue with a pregnancy because they don’t have the means, knowledge, or support to make that trip?
That’s where the drama is for me – that’s where the story lies. So I made a short film.
25,000 women have left Ireland in the last five years to access abortions. That’s a lot of stories about taking the boat – about finding the cash, arranging childcare or time off work, booking flights or ferries, about lies told and secrets kept.
Taking the Boat is the story of just two of those women.