Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  58 minutes
Date:  2005
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English / English subtitles
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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The plight of a nine-year-old Nicaraguan girl, who becomes pregnant as the result of a rape, triggers a battle over whose life has precedence.


ROSITA, a documentary by award-winning filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater, traces a young girl's journey from innocent victim to unwitting victor.

When a nine-year-old Nicaraguan girl becomes pregnant as a result of a rape, her parents -- illiterate campesinos working in Costa Rica -- seek a legal 'therapeutic' abortion to save their only child's life.

Their quest pits them against the governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the medical establishment, and the Catholic Church. When their story gains international media attention, the repercussions ripple across Latin America and Europe.

'Rosita is the riveting, prize-worthy story of how good people rescued a little girl from the combined tyranny of church and state.' Daniel C. Maguire, Professor of Moral Theology, Marquette University

'The film raises questions about whose life takes precedence, and deftly shows how other social justice issues, such as sexual violence, immigration, and economic justice, affect reproductive health...[The film] can be used effectively in the classroom when paired with facts, statistics, historical, and cultural analyses, and behavioral research.' Kimala Price, San Diego State University, Films for the Feminist Classroom

'A heartbreaking true story about a 9-year-old Nicaraguan girl who was raped and impregnated but whose unwanted pregnancy...became a political football between abortion rights advocates and antiabortion forces in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.' The Washington Post

'Rosita truly is eye-opening. It chronicles a violation of her [Rosa's] human rights and her dignity. This film is not just for activists in the reproductive rights movement, it is for all who work in social justice and who work to defend our human rights. Her story is both moving and inspiring and demonstrates the tragic realty of a young woman who was stripped of her dignity and denied her fundamental human right to decide her own future.' Sylvia Henriquez, Executive Director, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

'Emotionally complex...' Philadelphia Inquirer

'Rosita should find an audience with both advocates and opponents of reproductive choice...only the most hardhearted of viewers will not be moved by the quandaries faced by Rosita and her impoverished but proud family. Recommended.' Video Librarian

'This video provides a glimpse into the views of childhood pregnancy and women's rights in a region where the Catholic Church has much influence over public policy and is recommended for collections in Latin American and women's studies, as well as medical ethics.' Educational Media Reviews Online

'Rosita will enrich any social science, Latin American or interdisciplinary studies course, campus education program, or reproductive rights activist event. Many discussions and thematic angles are possible, including a focus on migratory labor, sexual violence, teen pregnancy, reproductive law and justice, abortion, women's health politics, motherhood, medical ethics and religion. For example, the film's representations of the Catholic Church could sustain a hearty discussion about religion's relationship to medicine, the state, and politics of women's health. Rosita is timely, provocative, and sensitive. It should become a cornerstone of anthropology, women's studies, and Latin American studies courses for years to come.' Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthology

'Film-makers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater piece together the complex story of Rosita's young and illiterate parents' fight to get an abortion for their only child...[they] allow the story to unfold through the words of all those involved...Rosita's story is appalling, yet is sobering to reflect that she is one of the very few lucky ones... [the film-makers] have succeeded in portraying Rosita's terrible story without resorting to sensationalism.' The Lancet

'Talk about a film that has all of the elements of great human drama and pits the marginalized against the powerful - such is the story of Rosita...See this movie. You will never forget Rosita. I know I won't.' Marcy Bloom, Reproductive Health Reality Check blog

'A gripping individual story that touches on an important human right - the power of women to control their own reproductive health.' The New Zealand Herald


'Award of Merit in Film,' Latin American Studies Association
'Award of Commendation,' Society for Visual Anthropology/American Anthropological Association
CINE Golden Eagle
Honorable Mention, Chicago International Television Awards
Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, New York
American Public Health Association Film Festival
Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, London
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Cinefestival en San Antonio
Latin American Film Festival, London
Women's Film Festival, Vermont
Chicago Latino Film Festival
San Diego Latino Film Festival
Spaghetti Junction Urban Film Festival, Atlanta
Cine Las Americas, Austin
Western Psychological Association Film Festival
United Nations Association Film Festival
Human Rights Watch Film Festival, New Zealand


Main credits

Attie, Barbara (film director)
Attie, Barbara (film producer)
Goldwater, Janet (film director)
Goldwater, Janet (film producer)
Rodriguez, Sandra (narrator)
Mullally, Sharon (editor of moving image work)

Other credits

Editor, Sharon Mullally; music, Sumi Tonooka; photography, Peter Brownscombe; drawings, Rosa.

Distributor credits

Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater

Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater
Narration adapted from the book Historia de una Rosa by Maria Lopez Vigil
Narrated by Sandra Rodriguez
Animation by Ransom Weaver
Original Score by Sumi Tonooka
Edited by Sharon Mullally
Photographed by Peter Brownscombe
Drawings by Rosa

Docuseek2 subjects

Central America
Youth Issues
Rape and Sexual Abuse
Government Policy
International Relations and Geopolitics
Women's Studies
Reproductive Rights
Social Psychology
Human Rights
Human Rights Law

Distributor subjects

Central America/The Caribbean
Gender Studies
Human Rights
Latin American Studies
Reproductive Rights
Social Justice
Social Psychology
Women's Studies


reproductive rights, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, abortion, Catholic Church, catholicism, religion, Central America, Latin American Studies, health; "Rosita"; Bullfrog Films

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