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Abortion Helpline

ABORTION HELPLINE, THIS IS LISA, shortlisted for Oscars 2021 for Best Documentary Short Subject and winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Shorts at AFI Docs 2020, is a powerful short documentary that exposes how economic stigma and cruel legislation determines who in America has access to abortion. At a women’s health fund in Philadelphia, phone counselors—all called Lisa to protect their anonymity—arrive each morning to the nonstop ring of calls from people who are seeking to end a pregnancy and can’t afford to. In 1976, only three years after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, the Hyde Amendment was enacted with the explicit intention of denying poor individuals—those receiving Medicaid—access to abortion. By giving voice to those affected by discriminatory policies, the film exposes how legislation like the Hyde Amendment ties access to abortion to economic status and denies reproductive justice. As we head into election season, ABORTION HELPLINE, THIS IS LISA is an essential tool for helping Americans understand the brutal legacy of the Hyde Amendment and why its repeal has become a litmus test for progressive politicians.

The Moveable Fest

"Powerful. Each "Lisa" has to fight to keep from offering more than they can while trying to give each woman who calls in a small sense of hope."

"This powerful film shows the brutality of the Hyde Amendment. Through brief glimpses into the experiences of those directly impacted by the Hyde Amendment, this film reveals, in no uncertain terms, that those who purport to care about 'life' do not care about people's lives at all."
Khiara M. Bridges, Professor of Law UC Berkeley School of Law

“This short film is incredibly powerful. In twelve remarkable minutes, it manages to convey all the viewer needs to know about the cruel situation in states in which Medicaid does not pay for abortions: the desperation of those women calling an abortion fund; the compassion— and inadequate resources—of those who try valiantly to help them; the self righteousness and callousness of so-called “prolife” politicians from the infamous Henry Hyde down to the present: and the main message - American society does not suffiently care about poor women or the children they already have."
Carole Joffe co-author, Obstacle Course: The everyday struggle to get an abortion in America

"...moving, totally authentic. It skillfully weaves together the stories of the callers, the reactions of the hot line workers, and the policy context. Bravo!"
Marlene Fried Faculty director of Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program and Professor of Philosophy, Hampshire College

"....Spotlights both the threats to reproductive rights and the price of economic injustice."
Steve Pond The Wrap


Main credits

Attie, Barbara (film director)
Attie, Barbara (film producer)
Goldwater, Janet (film director)
Goldwater, Janet (film producer)
Attie, Mike (film director)
Attie, Mike (film producer)
Attie, Mike (photographer)

Other credits

Editing, Valerie Keller, Sharon Mullaly; camera, Mike Attie; original score, Timothy Day.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Activism, Human Rights, Law, Public Health, Racism, Reproductive Rights, Young Women


Public Health, Social Issues, Gender Issues; "Abortion Helpline"; Women Make Movies