Distribution and Rights:

Maysles Films, Inc. & HBO


• Directors: Albert Maysles, Susan Froemke, Deborah Dickson
• Filming: Albert Maysles and Susan Froemke
• Editor: Deborah Dickson
• Producer: Susan Froemke
• Co-producer: Nell Archer
• Research Director: Martha Wollner
• Original Music: Wendy Blackstoneer

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Abortion: Desperate Choices

Albert Maysles, Deborah Dickson, Susan Froemke, 1992, 67 min

Film Synopsis

An intensely personal exploration of an explosive issue -- abortion in America. Wrenching first-person narratives from seven decades of women, each one facing an unplanned pregnancy -- and the dreadful decision that no one wants to make. Both pro-life and pro-choice, both out front on the picket line and inside the clinic, these women's stories turn politics into heart-searing drama: a pregnant 17-year-old and her pro-life mother whose conflict unfolds in front of the camera; a 22-year-old who became a pro-life protestor when she learned that her mother nearly aborted her; an unhappy mother-of-two who's expecting a third when her marriage suddenly hits the rocks; a 71-year-old grandmother who still grieves for her mother, an early victim of illegal abortion. In this fusion of past and present, the history of abortion is the history of women -- told at a time in America when yesterday's back-alley abortions may be the only choice left for tomorrow.


The battles here are inside the mind.
– Robert Koehler, LOS ANGELES TIMES, May 5, 1992

In the waiting areas and operating rooms of the Women’s
Health Services clinic in Pittsburgh, Abortion: Desperate
Choices finds deeper resonances in words like choice and
life than are heard on the street outside· The camera
makes no judgements; somehow it manages to be
sympathetic and unsparing at the same time.
– Walter Goodman, THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 4, 1992


Premiered on HBO series American Undercover
three CableACE Awards

The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award.

1992 Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Informational Special

1993 World Fest Special Jury Award, the Charleston International
Film Festival

1993 World Fest Bronze Award, Houston International Film and
Video Festival

1992 New York Festivals Finalist Award

1992 Peabody Award Winner

Vancouver International Film Festival, 1992