The terrific documentary 12th & Delaware gets its name from a volatile intersection in a small Florida town: On one side of the street is an abortion clinic, while on the other sits a pro-life facility that counsels pregnant women to keep their unborn children while encouraging protesters to harass the neighbor’s business. Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s previous documentary, Jesus Camp, exposed the frightening indoctrination of young Evangelical Christians into the conservative movement but overdid the scaremongering to such a degree that one felt sorry for the film’s subjects. But while Ewing and Grady remain deeply concerned about the Right’s grassroots fervor, 12th & Delaware is a much more nuanced affair, focusing the majority of its 80 minutes on the pro-life supporters in order to understand the heartfelt passions that inspire their advocacy. That sense of fairness toward the opposing viewpoint complicates and enriches this remarkable film, as does a collection of heartrending portraits of women—often young, poor, and under-educated—who are caught between the two sides of this Florida street, quite literally, during the documentary’s emotional finale.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 8, 2010