Joss Whedon has directed both Avengers movies, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” – now add to that list “UNLOCKED,” a short film pleading with lawmakers to keep Planned Parenthood open.
The video starts at crisis points for three women: one dying of breast cancer, another watching her friend deal with a sexually transmitted disease and another getting pregnant as a teenager, right before she was supposed to go to college on a full scholarship. The video slowly rewinds, showing what lead up to those moments – starting with a visit to a shuttered Planned Parenthood.
Then the video restarts, showing all three women going into an open Planned Parenthood. The one with breast cancer receives preventive screenings and sees another birthday with her family, the one with a friend who gets an STD is trained in peer sex education and passes her knowledge along to her friend and the one who was pregnant is prescribed birth control and goes to college.
“What world do you want?” the video asks the viewer at the end.
Whedon told BuzzFeed he hopes the short film in anticipation of the Senate drafting their version of the American Health Care Act, a planned replacement for Obamacare. The version passed by the House eliminated Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood, who receives 43 percent of its budget from federal funding. The majority of that federal funding comes from Medicaid and Title X. It would effectively block low-income patients from being treated at Planned Parenthood facilities.
House Republicans are blocking that funding due to Planned Parenthood being an abortion provider. Planned Parenthood provided about 320,000 abortions in fiscal year 2014-15, according to the organization’s annual report, which amounted to about 3 percent of their services. The majority of their services, 76 percent, goes to STD testing and contraceptive services, with another 7 percent going to cancer screenings.
The Hyde Amendment already prevents Planned Parenthood and other institutions from using federal funding for abortion services. It has been in effect since 1976.
“Women’s health care is so much just about women's humanity,” Whedon told BuzzFeed. “It is about whether they have control over their bodies and whether they have control over their minds and their education and their decisions. It’s all wrapped up.”
The women in the video were all based on stories of real women that volunteers with Planned Parenthood told Whedon.
“Because I will speak out, and because I have for a long time, I think I get mistaken for a real activist. But then you meet them,” he said, referring to people like the Planned Parenthood volunteers. “You meet people who are truly informed and truly articulate and truly have dedicated themselves and given things up for the cause, and you’re like, ‘Okay, I made a video, so I’m cool too.’”