Minutes after the supermodel Christy Turlington Burns gave birth to her daughter, Grace, a decade ago, her placenta had to be extracted from the wall of her uterus, and she began hemorrhaging. It was a crisis – a dangerous and painful one – but a quick medical response averted a tragedy. Around the world, such a response is unavailable to the thousands of women who suffer similar complications every year, and many of them die.
It is with that sobering anecdote that Turlington begins her documentary, "No Woman, No Cry", about the global state of maternal health, which was shown at the University of Miami's Bill Cosford Cinema on Nov. 9 in an event sponsored by Miami Law and Planned Parenthood Global, among other organizations.
Turlington, the founder of Every Mother Counts, an advocacy campaign that aims to reduce maternal mortality around the world, attended the screening and took part in a panel discussion afterwards. Donna E. Shalala, the President of the University of Miami, delivered the opening remarks. Other panelists were Dr. Linda Valencia, Planned Parenthood Global's Senior Program Officer for Guatemala, and Jennie Joseph, Executive Director of The Birth Place/Commonsense Childbirth Inc., both of whom are featured in the film. They were joined by Dee Redwine, Latin America Regional Director for Planned Parenthood Global, and Professor Zanita E. Fenton of Miami Law.
The screening and panel discussion were sponsored also by the University of Miami School of Communication, UM Ethics Programs, Medical Students for Choice, Every Mother Counts, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida, Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and the Student Organization for Human Rights.
"No Woman, No Cry," which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in 2010, takes an unflinching look at pregnancy and poverty around the world, from a remote Maasai tribe in Tanzania to the slums of Bangladesh to a post-abortion ward in Guatemala to a prenatal clinic in the United States.