“From left, to right, to center, they are still human.”
-an Exhale After-Abortion Talk line counselor
Navigating the Divide is the story of the first ever confidential abortion counseling talk line to refuse to take a side in the fight for access.
In 2002, when Aspen Baker and four others started Exhale, the only existing abortion resources were entrenched in either the pro-choice or pro-life camps. Exhale refused to attach either label to their nonjudgmental, nonpolitical service. To many, they were seen as naive, or worse, a potential saboteur to the fight for abortion access. Starting with just $1000 and six cell phones, they received their first call on their very first shift: a father asking how to talk to his daughter about her abortion. They heard honest, raw stories that no one else heard. Some disclosed feelings of loss; others called to celebrate, but what they all shared was an overwhelming sense of isolation.
Today, Exhale is a national, multilingual talk line and abortion story sharing platform that describes themselves as “pro-voice,” a third alternative to a two sided debate.
Through powerful interviews with Exhale's founders, critics, and supporters, as well as an intimate glimpse into the talk line and Exhale’s storytelling tour, this film captures one woman's quest to create an alternate to the pro-choice/pro-life schism. Navigating the Divide investigates the influence of this work in a time when the fight for abortion access is raging again.