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Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein Team Up for New Documentary, The Business of Birth Control

Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein Team Up for New Documentary, The Business of Birth Control

By The Sunday Paper Team
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More than a decade after their first groundbreaking film, The Business of Being Born, cracked the birthing industry wide open, award-winning documentarians Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein are back with their latest project, The Business of Birth Control.

This week, the producing duo answered some questions for us about their new film and the power of documentaries to expose the truth, change hearts and minds, and move humanity forward.

Why did you want to make your latest film, The Business of Birth Control?

It felt like a natural progression of our work with our first documentary The Business of Being Born. Most of us spend many more years trying not to get pregnant and navigating our birth control options. We also saw a huge disconnect when talking to Millennials and Gen Z about the lack of non-hormonal birth control options. Their values don’t align with taking synthetic hormones.  We thought, why is no one telling this story?  As liberal, pro-access women we understood that exposing the darker side of the pill would raise some hackles; but we also knew that advocating for informed consent and body literacy for younger generations takes precedence.

What do you hope people, especially women, will learn from this film?

We hope people take away the important issue of informed consent. If we aren’t informed about potential side effects, we can’t make choices about our own health.  Fundamentally, we feel that if you are on hormonal birth control and do not feel good—whether that means you are having symptoms of blood clot development or you have become depressed or anxious—you deserve to know that it might be your contraceptive method that is the cause.  You have the right to that information and you should not have to suffer unnecessarily as a result of this gap in education or gaslighting that can occur in a healthcare setting. A few days ago, Hailey Bieber eloquently detailed her frightening experience with a mini-stroke and brought much-needed awareness to the connection between migraines and increased risk of stroke and blood clots on the pill.  Tragically, a young woman featured in our documentary was unaware of this connection and died from a pulmonary embolism.

We want those who watch the movie to walk away feeling informed, empowered, and confident that they can take back control of their reproductive health and we are prepared to stand with them. We just launched an educational masterclass series and community to support those who watch the film and want to take the next steps with us.  It’s also a perfect vehicle for parents of teenagers who are trying to navigate these decisions.

The Business of Being Born changed the way many view childbirth in this country. What do you think is the power of documentaries to change hearts and minds?

That documentary was just cited in a systematic review in the "Birth" journal as a key resource for those looking into homebirth and midwifery care! So, the impact has actually been documented in a study. We have seen firsthand the effect of our documentaries on people’s lives. Documentaries allow us to open our minds in unexpected ways which is so essential in these polarizing times. There is something so powerful about hearing and watching the stories of others to move and enlighten. They can be life-changing and they can be culture-changing. Movies move us, but documentaries move us to action.

You can learn more about the master class and stream The Business of Birth Control here