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General: Major Films  
TitlePrivate Matter A (1992) (TV Film)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityGeneral Right to Life (Thalidomide)
CountryUSA
Length89
GenreTrue story
Rating3
DirectorJoan Micklin Silver
CastSissy Spacek Aidan Quinn Estelle Parsons Sheila McCarthy Leon Russom W.H. Macy
NotesFrom true story (set in 60s) of woman who wants an abortion after learning she's been taking thalidomide. She has to fight 'right-to-lifers'. I suspect it depends on your point of view on this issue how much you'll like this film but there's a good cast and it should provoke discussion. The story is told in a straightforward manner and makes sure that all points of view are heard though those born with the effects of thalidomide might feel under represented. The issues are highlighted because the woman involved presents a TV show for children and thus when her decision came to light it became a national story. She loses her job of course, as does her husband who is a teacher. While a good deal of hypocrisy is exposed among the medical profession and others I don't feel the woman's inner debate is given enough prominence. One gets the impression that she wanted to make the issue public to highlight the dangers of thalidomide and to allow others the choice of an abortion. So she gives her story to a news reporter with the promise of anonymity but is then exposed. Even then she doesn't publicly fight her case. Instead she seeks another country where an abortion is legal. This is a woman who already had 4 children and another two after the abortion yet I don't feel the film allows us to get inside her mind. Empathy with her would have made the debate more provocative.

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