Pro Choice Voice, Spring 1998
The ProChoice Resource Center, a national organization based in Westchester County, New York, recently launched a new initiative to help local activists cooordinate house parties to reach to and educate new supporters. The Brooklyn Pro-Choice Network was invited to be one of the first test-pilot sites.
The house parties feature Dorothy Fadiman's film The Fragile Promise of Choice: Abortion in the United States Today. This film, the most recent in Fadiman's award-winning documentary trilogy, traces the erosion of access to safe abortions - including the shortage of trained providers. The threat of violence and countless legislative restrictions.
A neighbor's living room is neutral, comfortable territory - an excellent forum for challenging the popular notion that it can't happen here. And Fadiman's film demonstrates that no one, and no place, is immune from anti-choice extremism.
Last summer, BPCN's 1996-1997 clinic escorts were invited to attend a bagel brunch, followed by a screening of The Fragile Promise of Choice. The brunch was organized as a potluck at the home of a BPCN member. Several people volunteered to bring bagels, muffins, beverages, and other brunch fare. Collectively we put together a delicious spread - and all our host needed to provide was her coffee maker and VCR.
A diverse group attended - including lawyers, actors, and high school students, among others - which turned out to be the perfect mix for this gathering. The room was not too large or too small to inhibit conversation or feel overly crowded (in a New York apartment, no less).
After watching the film, guests could not help but share their reactions to this incredibly powerful, moving piece. Everyone agreed this is an excellent tool for heightening awareness about the threats posed by anti-choice extremists. The more people who have the opportunity to view this film, the more quickly the notion that reproductive freedom is safe will be dispelled.
The overwhelming consensus was that if each of us held our own house party - with friends and colleagues who are not currently active in the Brooklyn Pro-Choice Network - many new supporters could be educated and activated.
Therefore, this article is an invitation to join us in doing just that. Imagine . . . if 15 people each held just one house party, at least 100 potential pro-choice supporters could be reached. What a great way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
The ProChoice Resource Center has offered to provide BPCN members with the necessary tools for holding a house party: a copy of the film, and a "how to" manual that includes sample invitations, background information, talking points, and follow-up activity lists for getting involved. If you are interested in learning more about holding a house party, please contact BPCN.