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Film on Auburn Politician’s Abortion Vote Coming to Carriage House


An award-winning documentary exploring an Auburn state assemblyman’s vote that changed the country’s history will be screened next week at the Carriage House Theater in Auburn.

In 1970, Assemblyman George Michaels switched his vote to break a tie in the assembly and legalize abortion in New York State, laying the groundwork for Roe v Wade. It would also end his political career.

Deciding Vote‘s co-directors Rob Lyons and Jeremy Workman were inspired to make the film after seeing a clip of Michael’s changing his vote on the house floor.

“We were so inspired by [the clip] and seeing this example of political courage and moral courage that we hadn’t really seen in our lifetime,” Lyons told Finger Lakes News Radio. “A huge story at the time, but under the courage of Roe, this story has kind of gotten lost to history a little bit.”

While acknowledging that the film deals with a contentious subject, Workman, says the team wanted to showcase the effect one person can have on history, not pick a side in the abortion debate.

“We kind of looked at it as this isn’t necessarily a film where we’re trying to put forth a political position,” Workman told Finger Lakes News Radio, “and I think we were really struck at this idea of how one person can make a difference, and how a single decision can have this ripple effect and these impacts in our world,”

Despite having a national impact, the film discusses just how local this event was.

Workman continued, “We realized just how much of a local story this was in Auburn and how important it was within Auburn… and that’s what kind of shifted our gears a little bit to say it’s this political story and this story of moral courage but it went beyond that and into this community and about this family in Auburn.”

Deciding Vote won the Richard D Propes Social Impact Award at the 2023 Indy Shorts International Film Festival.

The screening will take place on August 23rd at 7:00p at the theatre located behind the Cayuga Museum. There will be a Q&A with the directors after the film. Admission is free and you can learn more or reserve a spot at: cayugamuseum.org/deciding-vote or by calling 315-253-8051 with questions.

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