Babies and brides
How women fight for a free choice for children

The film by Beryl Magoko and Andrea Ernst is in development. A Thurnfilm production.

For the right to decide freely and independently about one's own sexuality, pregnancies or
children, activists around the world have been taking to the streets for 30 years. They are
willing to be uncomfortable, to go to court - and to risk their own lives.
Together with them, the film meets the women who are currently fighting for these
struggle for self-determination: Patients seeking advice in gynaecological clinics,
midwives in the villages, girls in counselling practices and mothers who are too exhausted after their fourth child to have a fifth child


Gynaecologists, scientists, midwives and lawyers around the world are joining forces
under the term "reproductive justice". In addition to access to contraceptives,
health care and material security for women, the opportunity to decide for or against
possibility to decide in favour of or against motherhood without coercion - regardless of the number
or gender of the children already born. Opposed to them are
increasingly strong natalist alliances that, strengthened by authoritarian political systems
are calling for unconditional motherhood and population growth.
Viewers experience activists who, with courage, perseverance and expertise, challenge the
resolve and overcome contradictions. Among them is Suchitra Dalvie, a gynaecologist in
Mumbai, who goes to court for safe medical abortions -
and at the same time tries to
break the Gordian knot of prenatal sex selection in India.
abortions in India are almost exclusively performed on female foetuses - with even fatal consequences for the pregnant women. Or Ha-na and Jung Se-young in Seoul. Both are
activists of the #NoMarriage movement, and therefore part of an unspoken birth strike.
Hundreds of thousands of women in South Korea have decided to (almost) stop having children.
The country has the lowest birth rate in the world.
Anne Onyekwere, a gynaecologist in Abuja, sees high numbers of children and sometimes hungry offspring in Abuja, day after day.
She fights for safe fertility clinics in Nigeria as well as against the pressure
that forces women to give birth to a son - even though several healthy girls have already been several healthy girls have already been born.
And the audience encounters the German story:
it enabled one of the author to remain childless -
and the other to make several attempts to have children.
After the women's movement of the 1970s and the long disputes about a reform of the
§218 STGB, the major global crises are changing the number of pregnancies.
Today significantly fewer children are born today than two years ago:
The birth rate in Germany from 1.57 per woman in 2021 to 1.36 in autumn 2023.
The film tells the "population question" from the perspective of those who want to solve it "freely and independently".
Conveyed through the commitment and courage of the activists, the film provides
a universal view of the prevailing structures of gynaecology, the justice system
cultural, social and family systems. At the same time, the viewers experience
that the very personal question: "Do I want a child?" can only very rarely be answered "freely and