While those ambitions have been thwarted in the inability as yet to overturn Roe, they have been successful both in tilting the Supreme Court’s composition and gradually chipping away at abortion rights at the state level across the country.
Where “Reversing Roe” stumbles, at times, is in the details, as it tackles the issue from a variety of angles — both on the macro and micro level, which includes Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an abortion provider whose clinic is perpetually under siege.
The course of that narrative, however, provides short shrift to or omits elements that seemingly deserve more attention. Off hand, those include legal quibbles about Justice Harry Blackmun’s original opinion, the role conservative media has played in ratcheting up the rhetoric in the context of incidents like the 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller, and examples of hypocrisy on the part of certain politicians featured, among them Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who was forced to resign.
To their credit, the filmmakers incorporate an array of voices on both sides of the issue, taking their timeline practically to the eve of the Brett Kavanaugh nomination that’s currently roiling the debate.
“Reversing Roe” wasn’t destined to please everybody, simply based on the divisive nature of the subject matter. There’s also something to be said for bringing perspective to the conversation and trying to turn down the temperature — not an easy thing to do when the term “baby killer” is being tossed around.
Yet while the documentary sheds welcome light on Roe’s history — on the road that brought us to this crucial juncture –the filmmakers, perhaps inevitably, bypassed some key stops and turns along the way.
“Reversing Roe” premieres Sept. 13 on Netflix.