Here's a great new documentary for anyone interested in activism and reproductive rights! VESSEL centers around Dr. Rebecca Gomperts's law-bending campaign to bring—via a very statement-making boat—medical abortions to women who live in countries where abortion is illegal. The story of Women on Waves is fascinating (Emily Bazelon wrote about it here), and I watched this documentary before interviewing Gomperts a few weeks ago; there are a dozen moments that have stuck hard in my mind.
The film shows Women on Waves sailing into harbors in Brazil, Portugal, countries far away from the United States. But as reproductive rights get rolled back at an alarming rate in America, the work that VESSEL details—women helping other women whose bodies are being controlled and policed by male lawmakers, sometimes to horrible ends—does not seem foreign at all. The women in this film are rule-breaking and fearless; it's a great, fascinating thing to see them work.
The movie has been showing over the last week in New York City at IFC, but it's available, through VESSEL's website, for streaming through iTunes today.