Lucia, Before and After

A film by Anu Valia

In this meditative "anti-road trip", Lucia travels from Odessa to El Paso, Texas to get an abortion, only to find that she has to wait the state-mandated, twenty-four hours before she can have the procedure. With nowhere to go, she spends the night in a town she doesn't know while awaiting her fate.

"Lucia, Before and After" was made in conjunction with Refinery29's Shatterbox Anthology grant, with support from Women at Sundance and Killer Films.

Written & Directed by Anu Valia
DP: Charlotte Hornsby
Editor: James Codoyannis
Produced by: Buffalo Picture House, Refinery29
Production Design: Amelia Steely

Starring: Sarah Goldberg

Sound Design: Patrick Burgess
Costume Design: Jami Villers
Production Sound: Kevin Rosen-Quan

I just want them to experience this with her.
— Anu Valia, Director

Excerpt from Sesali Bowen's Refinery29 Interview: Access to safe and legal abortion has never come with the relative security of other kinds of reproductive health care services. Whereas banning the procedure hasn’t proven successful, lawmakers have found loopholes to create other barriers. TRAP laws that nitpick about the width of hallways or distance from one medical facility to another have come to pass in states like Texas and Oklahoma.

When the proverbial hands of abortion providers can’t be tied any tighter, these same lawmakers target the patients in need of abortion services. Mandatory ultrasounds and 24-hour waiting periods suggest that patients seeking abortion aren’t clear about the weight of their decision and need state intervention to handle it responsibly.

Shatterbox film director Anu Valia recognizes these undue burdens for exactly what they are. In her new short film Lucia, Before and After, Valia documents the brief (but still unnecessarily long) process of one woman, Lucia, as she waits the mandatory 24 hours before she can receive her abortion in Texas. By focusing on that relatively tiny span of time, abortion is framed as just one of the many decisions and circumstances someone might have to navigate in the grand scheme of their daily lives. The film infuses the “abortion narrative” with the humanity that it deserves.

Mike Ambs

I love to film things, tell stories, and read on the subway. I'm pretty sure blue whales are my power animal.