The 2010 midterm election resulted in a seismic rightward shift in America. Newly elected legislators often backed by Tea Party activists brought with them a hard line conservative agenda, and abortion was high on the list of targets.
From 2011 to 2013, hundreds of regulations were passed restricting access to abortion in America. Reproductive rights advocates refer to these as “TRAP” laws, or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. While these laws have been enacted in 11 states, Southern clinics, in particular have been hit hardest and are now in a fight for survival. In Texas, less than half of the clinics open in 2013 are still functioning. In Alabama, five clinics struggle to keep their doors open. And in Mississippi, just one abortion clinic remains. Some of the most common requirements with which clinics struggle to comply include: requiring physicians to obtain admitting privileges from local hospitals for any doctor performing abortions, requiring that clinics undertake expensive renovations such as widening hallways by a few inches to accommodate wheelchairs and gurneys they will rarely use, and requiring other regulations usually reserved for hospitals even though abortion providers rarely require such a high level of care.
But even in this hostile environment the doctors, clinic owners and staff refuse to give up. Trapped interweaves the personal stories behind these regulatory battles: from the physician who crisscrosses the country assuring medical services are available; to the strong women who run the clinics; to the lawyers leading the legal charge to eliminate these laws; to the women they are all determined to help. In this feature length character driven film, our main characters fight alongside a dedicated cadre of attorneys to preserve abortion rights in a country living with the mistaken belief that Roe v. Wade still protects a woman’s right to choose.
** 2016 Sundance Film Festival