A still from Under G-d by Paula Eiselt, an official selection of the U.S. Shorts program at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute
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Sundance Film Festival Review: ‘Under G-d’ is an Important and Informative Short about Reproductive Justice

There is an assumption many people make that religion says abortion is not permitted. That’s a narrow view, however, which doesn’t speak to the different faiths that exist within the United States and the world, and addresses only the loudest and most conservative voices. Many high-profile cases of “religious freedom” involve the right of a Christian to publicly practice their faith in the company of others, like a Washington high school football coach who wished to pray on the field before games. Rarely do they cater to minority religions who do not benefit from the Christian hegemony in the United States.

Paula Eiselt’s short film Under G-d looks at several individuals and organizations who are working on behalf of underrepresented faith groups to sue for the rights of their adherents to be protected specifically when it comes to abortion. The notion of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signing a fifteen-week abortion ban in a church is an insult to the separation of church and state, and a synagogue opted to challenge that by invoking the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that has thus far been used mostly to protect only those whose religion 61% of Republicans apparently believe is prominent enough to declare the United States a Christian nation.

In just twenty-three minutes, this documentary proves that there are multiple religious perspectives on abortion, and that the imposition of one group’s beliefs as laws does a direct disservice to those for whom is it religious law to protect the life of the mother. While Jews are at the forefront of many of these efforts, the participation of different faiths drives home even more that only the most vocal and well-funded are truly having their beliefs protected. This short film is both a chronicle of actions that have been taken and an educational call to action to all those who seek true freedom of religion within the United States.

SCORE: ★★★

Under G-d is screening as part of the Documentary Short Film Program at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.


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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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