Leona's Sister Gerri
The tragic and grisly photograph-a woman on a motel floor, dead after an illegal abortion-stirred a nation and inflamed a movement. Now, Leona's Sister Gerri tells the powerful and thought-provoking story of the anonymous woman behind the image and how she became an extraordinary icon for the ever-controversial abortion issue. Through tears and laughter, Gerri Santoro's tale of desperation in the days before legal abortion "unfolds in an intimate, unpretentious style" (The New York Times) as told by her family and friends. Gerri was a tree climbing kid who grew up on the family farm, then a spirited adolescent, a young wife, and later the devoted mother of two little girls. But she was also a battered wife who suffered years of abuse before eventually leaving her husband and returning to Connecticut. There Gerri became pregnant by a lover who agreed to perform an abortion and then left her when the operation went awry. Nine years later, in 1973, Ms. magazine published the heart-wrenching photo, which even now cries out from protest placards as a potent symbol in the struggle for a woman's right to choose. Directed by Jane Gillooly, rousing and all-too-real, Leona's Sister Gerri cuts through the leaden rhetoric of one of America's most divisive issues to pay respects to an extraordinary woman and her tale.
Starring Leona Gordon, Geraldine 'Gerri' Santoro
Director Jane Gillooly