Independent Lens: Trapped

Trilogy Films LLC Bigmouth Productions, Cedar Creek Productions and the Independent Television Service

The legalization of abortion when Roe v. Wade became law in 1973 by no means halted reporting on the polarizing issue. Trapped is notable, though, for focusing on the motivation and politics surrounding “TRAP” laws, designed to restrict access to abortion, especially in Southern states. In three short years, such laws decimated clinics across Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, leaving some women in precarious, life-or-death situations. Director Dawn Porter takes a behind-the-scenes look at people working on a daily basis to keep clinics open and the challenges therein, humanizing a side of the battle rarely seen. It explores the motivation of the doctors, nurses, and clinicians who help ensure this legal right, often at the sacrifice of their personal lives and financial well-being. The story also traces the origins of TRAP laws to right-to-life lobbyists who provide templates for politicians, who share the information across state lines in a broad-based movement to “legally” repress abortion rights. Conversely, we hear from women leading the fight against such laws in the legislative and judicial arenas. For timely storytelling of an ongoing national debate that carries implications for similar hot-button issues, Independent Lens: Trapped receives a Peabody Award.


Director: Dawn Porter. Producers: Dawn Porter, Marilyn Ness. Writers: Dawn Porter, Sari Gilman. Executive Producers: Cindy Meehl, Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen. Co-Executive Producers: Diane L. Max, Audrey Rosenberg. Supervising Producer: Amy Shatsky-Gambrill.