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story.lead_photo.caption Three women with ties to Jefferson City recently walked the red carpet in New York City to view the premier of a documentary they were featured in: “Abortion: Stories Women Tell” by award-winning independent filmmaker Tracy Droz Tragos. From left, Reagan Nielsen, founder of the Mizzou Students for Life; Kathy Forck, a significant leader in the Mid-Missouri pro-life community; and Susan Jaramillo, a global pro-life speaker, author and ordained minister.

Three Mid-Missouri women walked the red carpet at the Tribeca Film Festival this week in New York City, as they were featured in one of the films premiered there — “Abortions: Stories women tell” by award-winning independent filmmaker Tracy Droz Tragos.

Kathy Forck has been the ramrod of the 40 Days for Life movement in Central Missouri, including constant prayer vigil at the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic and the growing Midwest March for Life. She co-leads Team PLAY, a group of Missourians whose goal is for Missouri to be the first abortion-free state, and she is a regional adviser for Sidewalk Advocates for Life.

Saturday, Forck was in Columbia leading the National Day of Protest against Planned Parenthood, joined by Reagan Nielsen, founder of the Mizzou Students for Life, who also was featured in the documentary.

The premier of “Abortion: Stories Women Tell” on Monday at the Bowtie Cinema, New York City, was the first time Forck, Nielsen and Susan Jaramillo, a third pro-life Missourian who was invited, had seen the film.

Although Forck said it had a pro-choice slant, she was excited to see some of Missouri’s faces and places in the film.

Nielsen agreed: “It wasn’t balanced, but I’m glad we were included. People need to see there are loving pro-lifers out there.”

Likewise, Jaramillo — a global pro-life speaker, author and ordained minister who was conceived in rape and has had three abortions — said she was disappointed the show did not tell the pro-life women’s full personal stories or motivations for their involvement.

Jaramillo helped start The Remnant Generation in Uganda, which includes a pregnancy center and provides education programs on abortion across Uganda. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation research study regarding the national effects abortion has on women.

Nielsen is the midwest regional coordinator for Students for Life of America. While earning her degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, she founded Mizzou Students for Life, serving two years as its president.

Three other women, who are pro-choice, featured in the film also were invited to the premier. After watching the show, one of the pro-choice women asked to meet with Forck next week to learn more about what free resources are available to women with unexpected pregnancies.

“It’s amazing how God works,” Forck said.

Some of their pro-choice counterparts said they were surprised pro-life women were kind and cared about women, Forck said.

“We hope we are breaking that stereotype,” Forck said.

Jaramillo said she felt the overall show painted a sad, desolate and sometimes graphic picture of the abortion experience.

The 93-minute film by the Missouri native looks at the contentious issue from a different perspective, focusing not on the debate but on the women involved. Some struggled with unplanned pregnancies; others were medical care providers at clinics; and the local women told the story of those hoping to sway decisions for life.

Tragos chose to explore the topic because 43 years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, it “remains one of the most divisive issues in America, especially Missouri, where each year sees more restrictions,” according to the Tribeca website,

“‘Abortion: Stories Women Tell’ portrays an intimate window into the lives of these women through their personal stories, which come to life brilliantly through the gentle and respectful approach by the filmmaker and her team,” the website says. “Some are heartbreaking and tender, some are bleak and frightening, while others simply inform us of the strength and capacity of young women to overcome and persevere through often-tragic circumstances.”

Tragos’ other works include “Rich Hill,” exploring rural poverty’s affects on adolescents, which won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2014; and “Be Good, Smile Pretty,” her first film in 2004, which won Best Documentary Emmy, telling the story of a family’s grief 35 years after the Vietnam War.

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