At a time when we are campaigning for women's right to choose abortion and for their right to be in control of their own body generally, documentary maker Lorna Tucker unveils a painful chapter in the history of abuses against women. Amá follows the stories of hundreds of Native American women who were forced to undergo sterilisation over the past 60 years as part of eugenistic practises in the United States.

Jean Whitehorse in Amá

Jean Whitehorse in Amá

Produced by Ged Doherty and Colin Firth, and directed by Lorna Tucker - who released her critically acclaimed documentary on Vivienne Westwood entitled Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist this year - the film is set to make its world premiere at the fourth edition of Global Health Film Festival in London, being chosen as the the Opening Night Film for 2018.

Tucker and Firth will be introducing the film at the Curzon Soho next month along with Native American subjects from the movie. Amá has taken around nine years to create and follows the lives of a number of indigenous women who were subjected to sterilisation abuses, as well as those who had their own children forcibly removed from their care.

We hear from the likes of Jean Whitehorse who thought she was the only one to have doctors secretly sterilise her during the summer of 1967, only to find that her friend Yvonne Swan from Washington had suffered the same treatment. We also hear from Comanche activist Charon Asetoyer, who started a radio station in South Dakota as a platform for women to speak out about these abuses, as well as numerous doctors who have met women who didn't even know whether they were sterilised or not.

It marks a huge part of the civil rights movement; this attitude towards "improving and civilising" an indigenous nation that's not spoken about nearly enough considering the United States is not the only place we've seen such atrocities.

Compulsory sterilisation has been and continues to be taking place all over the world for various purposes: In Canada and Peru against indigenous peoples, Sweden and Switzerland also as part of eugenistic legislation, India and China as part of population control, Germany in World War II under the Third Reich, Israel against Ethiopian-Jewish immigrants in the 2000s, in Russia only recently against people with disabilities, South Africa against HIV-positive women... The list goes on.

That's why women and their bodies is such an important conversation to be having. Because it doesn't end at what women have a right to choose for themselves on a global scale, but their right to be treated as equals no matter what their ancestry or medical history. As long as men have power over women's bodies, these attacks on our human rights will continue to occur.

"I'm thrilled that Amá will be having its world premiere at the Global Health Film Festival as it is totally aligned with the reason this film was made", Lorna Tucker said in a statement. "To bring stories that are often overlooked, or ignored to a global audience, whilst using the film's Native led outreach as a catalyst for change.

"When I started working with the women in Amá, it started as an exposé of the horrific abuses endured by Native and poor women of colour in America. But now I feel it also represents a timely warning of what happens when men in power dictate the rights of a woman's body."

Amá will premiere at the Curzon Soho, London for Global Health Film Festival on December 6 2018 with another screening to take place at the Wellcome Collection, Bloomsbury on December 8.

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