EXCLUSIVE: Storyboard Entertainment has secured the rights to the book To Offer Compassion: A History of the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion which was co-authored by Doris Andrea Dirks and Patricia A. Relf who will serve as co-producers on the project. Hired on to adapt the feature project is Mr. Robot writer/producer Kor Adana.
The project will center around the true story of church administrator Arlene Carmen, who in 1967, started the Clergy Consultation Service (CCS), an underground, illegal abortion counseling program that used a network of 1,500 ministers and rabbis from all over the country to help 500,000 women receive safe abortions.
The book will be released in paperback this summer. Dirks and Relf said they have “spent hours talking about the details of the clergy’s work” and “have been glad to share … resources and original interview tapes.”
“I live in Ohio, where the state legislature has passed a law that would effectively ban abortion and take us back to where we were in the 1960s, with women seeking abortions from illegal and dangerous sources,” said Relf. “Kor clearly feels the urgency to tell the story of what happened in those days and how compassion can make real change.”
The journey for the book began in 2002, when Relf discovered that a Cleveland Presbyterian minister in 1969 was charged with a crime for referring a young woman to a doctor in Massachusetts for an abortion. Relf further learned that the minister was part of a nationwide network of 1,500 ministers and rabbis led by Arlene Carmen that referred women to competent doctors for abortions. Dirks knew that they had an important piece of history on their hands, and the two of them set out on a 15 year labor of love to bring the story to the page.
“Arlene’s vision and drive to help others were unparalleled, and we hope to honor her and the entire CCS by bringing their story to the screen through the important research that Patricia and D.A. have been doing over the last fifteen years. This project would not be possible without their trust in Kor, and we are honored to share this remarkable story with the world,” said Storyboard co-founder Jason Potash.
Storyboard’s other socially relevant film and theater projects include: the LGBTQ themed Giant Little Ones from director Keith Behrman starring Josh Wiggins, Darren Mann, Maria Bello, and Kyle MacLachlan which premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and is currently playing in theaters; the company also received a Tony Award nomination for their production of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel’s Indecent, which currently has productions around the world including The Ahmanson Theatre as part of Center Theatre Group’s 2018-2019 season.
Adana is repped by ICM Partners, Industry Entertainment, and Jeff Frankel at McKuin Frankel Whithead.