Last night’s screening of the documentary Hush at the Nashua (N.H.) Public Library attracted a modest audience. It also attracted online criticism and denial of its documented claims.
I don’t know how many of the deniers actually saw the film.
This was the second time I watched it, and if anything it increased my respect for the director who refuses to shut up about her findings and experience, even in the face of disbelief or outright condescension. Something on my Twitter feed this morning serves as a brief illustration: “Unfortunate this film gets any play. It ignores available scientific evidence & distorts issue.” (At least that tweet was polite.)
The lengthy list of references at the end of the film was displayed very quickly, and only a screenshot would allow close scrutiny. There’s an abbreviated list at hushfilm.com, as long as “available evidence” is at issue.
Director Punam Kumar Gill is steadfastly pro-choice but refuses to turn away from research pointing to conclusions that most abortion advocates don’t want to hear: links between abortion and breast cancer, between abortion and subsequent preterm births, and between abortion and adverse physical and psychological outcomes for women. She’s still pro-choice. She is also, as one of her interviewees put it, pro-information.
I’ve already written about the documentary elsewhere, albeit briefly. A few thoughts about last night’s screening:
I recognized four elected officials in the audience, all of whom remained afterward for conversation. New Hampshire’s lack of an informed consent law for abortion and failure to collect abortion statistics were topics of interest.
The film ended twenty minutes before the library closed for the evening. A library employee assured us we were welcome to stay for discussion as long as the building stayed open. I can attest that discussions continued outside on the library plaza after closing time.
No facilitator was needed. As soon as the lights came up, about four groups formed spontaneously. One woman who was there said this morning that her group’s discussion led to her, a pro-lifer, having a conversation (not an argument) with a pro-choice viewer of the film, lasting several hours off-site. The film’s director and producers would probably be pleased at that.
By far, most of the people who attended were women. I overheard several of them talking about bad experiences with condescending doctors. They don’t trust health care providers to be candid with them about abortion or anything else. It was only a generation or two ago that such medical condescension was recognized as misogyny, treating women as less-intelligent creatures who really oughta leave their health (and that of their children) to the professionals.
There was a collective gasp from the people seated near me during the film as the director was shown being escorted off the premises of a cancer research agency. All she, a pro-choice woman, had wanted to do was ask questions regarding information the agency promulgated online and in print dismissing any link between abortion and breast cancer.
The library hosted the screening after a city resident asked for it and kept following up until she heard “yes.” Maybe that gives you ideas.