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A New Play – Voices from the Silenced: Pre-Roe Abortion Stories

Victoria Rue, Dr. Laurel Waters, and Martha Boesing

Laurel Waters, MD, FCAP, FASCP, FAMWA and Jeanne Robertson, RN represented the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) at the opening of the powerful new play Voices from the Silenced: Pre-Roe Stories, created and directed by Martha Boesing and Victoria Rue. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Planned Parenthood Northern California. The play opened on February 4, 2023 to rave audience reviews and a packed theater.

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, the outcry across the country was palpable. Victoria Rue and Martha Boesing, both residents at Rossmoor Walnut Creek, realized that they could harness the power of storytelling to share the perspectives of women whose lived experiences reflected an era that most Americans today can only imagine. Many of these “Pre-Roe” stories had never been told before.

Elizabeth Newey and Dr. Laurel Waters

With a population of over 9000, it was not hard to find these stories at Rossmoor. “From the narratives arose a play that remembers what it was like for women in the years before Roe vs. Wade,” said Rue and Boesing. Both women have long careers writing and directing in theatre. Boesing was Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Minneapolis based women’s professional theater At the Foot of the Mountain and has written over 40 one act and full-length plays. Rue’s writing and directing work have been seen in NYC, the West Coast, and Palestine; her most recent plays deal with Islamophobia in the U.S.

Boesing and Rue reflected on why they undertook this project–“Creating this play with a wonderful team of women and sending it out to Rossmoor and the larger world is a way of reaching out and reassuring other women that they can take our hands, hear our stories, and find some comfort in knowing that many of us have walked this path before. And survived. And when we share our truths, things can change.”

The play weaves together stories from over 20 women, told with poignant detail and set against a backdrop of Supreme Court Justices who are figuratively portrayed through puppets. A recurring theme is the isolation and loneliness that the women experienced and the shame that they carried for decades. The message is loud and clear – do we want to return again to those times?

AMWA will be funding the effort to film the play, so that these stories can be more widely shared across the country. Like all other healthcare issues, the complexity of decisions surrounding abortion transcend politics, religion, or ideology. Sharing these stories can help us all recognize the imperative of providing access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care without legislative interference.

Support and be recognized in the film credits

Please support our efforts with a donation of any amount to help support the production, editing, and promotion of the film to further AMWA’s advocacy efforts on reproductive healthcare access. Donations above $500 will be recognized in the film credits. AMWA is a 501(c)3 so all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.

Donate on-line:

Donate by check: AMWA, 1100 E. Woodfield Rd. #350, Schaumburg, IL 60173

(In check memo line, indicate Voices film and permission to include your name in the film credits, as appropriate).

The deadline for donations is March 31.

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