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Interview with "Parallel Mothers" Actress Penelope Cruz; Interview with "The Abortion I didn't Have" Author Merritt Tierce. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 20, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It's one thing if it's a
minor incursion, and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, et cetera.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): As Ukraine's fate hangs in the balance, I ask Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, just back from that country, what
President Biden really means ahead of tomorrow's crucial Geneva summit between the United States and Russia.
PENELOPE CRUZ, ACTRESS: I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
AMANPOUR: The award-winning Spanish actress Penelope Cruz tells me why she loves working with director Pedro Almodovar and their latest film,
MERRITT TIERCE, AUTHOR, "THE ABORTION I DIDN'T HAVE": There's so much pressure put on mothers to uphold the idea that having a child is the most
important, best thing that can ever happen in your life.
AMANPOUR: Merritt Tierce tells Michel Martin about the abortion she did not have and how it changed her views in ways that may surprise you.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
And all eyes are on Geneva, where a high-stakes summit between the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and the Russian foreign minister,
Sergey Lavrov, takes place on Friday over the Ukraine crisis.
In a two-hour press conference to mark his first year in office overnight, President Biden muddied the waters a little, saying a minor incursion from
Russia could provoke a different response from the United States. Well, he clarified today that Russia would quote pay a heavy price if so much as any
Russian unit crossed Ukraine's border.
But his earlier comments clearly struck a nerve, Ukraine's President Zelensky tweeting: "We want to remind the great powers that there are no
minor incursions and small nations, just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones."
Joining me now on this is Senator Chris Murphy. He's a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he has just returned from Ukraine as part
of a bipartisan congressional delegation, and he's been briefing President Biden.
So, Senator, welcome back to the program.
I don't know. Your heart must have just, I don't know -- I don't know what you were thinking when you heard President Biden say, well, a minor
incursion, maybe -- I think maybe Putin will have to do something. He seemed to think that this was going to happen, and there seemed to be a
tiny green light that was being telegraphed from the White House.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Oh, I don't read it that way.
I mean, I had spent a bunch of time with the president earlier in the day, and so I knew what he was talking about. I'm glad he did clarify his
But he's been crystal clear all along that, if Ukraine is invaded by Russia any further than Russia has already encroached upon Ukrainian sovereignty,
there's going to be a significant reaction from the United States and our allies. And he has telegraphed that over and over. We have dramatically
increase the pace and amount of aid that we're sending to Ukraine.
And we are going to make sure that Russia pays both an economic price and a security price if they move forward with these plans. So I think the
president has been pressing all the right buttons. Of course, he's got some persuasion to do in Europe. I mean, right now, it seems as if the Europeans
don't take this threat as seriously as the United States does.
They have never taken the threat of Russian dominance in Ukraine as seriously as we have. And he's going to try to make sure that NATO is
unified, because that's really what Putin's end goal is here. In the short term, he wants to get Ukraine back in his orbit. But, in the end, his
biggest and most important goal is to smash NATO. And we can't let him do that.
AMANPOUR: OK, so you said the president's being crystal clear from the beginning.
He did say it depends on what he does, talking about Putin. If it's a minor incursion, then we're going to have -- what did he say? We're going to have
-- potentially end up fighting about what to do and what not to do.
So can I just get it crystal clear what you thought he meant by that? Did he mean and was he telegraphing that he was more worried about having to
persuade European allies how to react, depending on what Putin did?
MURPHY: So I knew what he meant.
But I just want to be clear, he clarified the comments for those that were confused. To make clear, what he's talking about is, if Russia does not
move its conventional military forces further into Ukraine, and instead engages in continued cyberattacks or information warfare, in that case, it
makes sense that our response would be proportional.
And I get it that sometimes it's a little disarming to hear the president tell you what he actually thinks. But that's what he's doing in these press
conferences, right? He's telling you that he thinks Putin probably at this point has to do something. He's telling you that it's hard to get the
Europeans to go along with us, especially if Putin plays games and doesn't move all the way to Kiev.
So I get it that sometimes folks want to hear just talking points and sound bites from the president. But I think it's refreshing the way that he talks
about his honest opinions about what Putin is going to do and how hard it is sometimes to get our European allies to move with us.
AMANPOUR: OK, so you just said what you just said, but your tweet was quite clear.
You said: "Just finished meeting with POTUS on our trip to Ukraine. I conveyed to him my impression that the Ukrainian people are ready to fight,
but they will need clear signals that the U.S. is committed to the long fight for Ukrainian sovereignty. POTUS gets it."
Well, certainly -- and you were there, and you have probably heard from your Ukrainian interlocutors. The signal they got the other night was not
as clear as they would have liked.
The president, Zelensky, he's tweeted, and some of the Ukrainians. For instance, the foreign minister said: "One can't be half-invaded or half-
aggressive. Aggression is either there or not."
And some of the Ukrainian said it sounded like a green light. So, I mean, of all days, given the fact that Antony Blinken is going to be meeting with
the formidable Sergey Lavrov on Friday, what do you think? How do you think that meeting is going to go off after all of this?
MURPHY: Well, I do worry that President Zelensky sometimes seems more interested in Twitter fights with American leaders than he does in making
sure his country is protected.
I don't know what good it does to have President Zelensky being in a Twitter war with the president of the United States, especially after the
president made 100 percent clear what he intended with those remarks, especially given the fact that President Biden's entire diplomatic team is
working the entire world to protect Ukraine from invasion.
I don't know how many different ways that President Biden, the Congress, and the State Department could make clear to the Ukrainian president that
we are prioritizing the security of that country.
No, we are not going to send hundreds of thousands of American troops. That is not something that my constituents would support. But we are doing
everything short of that to make sure that Ukraine is protected. And so I do worry about some of these tweets we see from President Zelensky.
I'm a fan. I'm a supporter of his, but I don't think that they're constructive.
AMANPOUR: So let us just, just to be clear, play the very latest from President Biden clarifying his and the United States' position on should
Russia send so much as a unit across that border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I have been absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any, any assembled Russian units move across Ukrainian
border, that is an invasion, but that it will be met with severe and coordinated economic response that I have discussed in detail with our
allies, as well as laid out very clearly for President Putin.
But there is no doubt, let there be no doubt at all that, if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: OK, that is clear enough.
Now, I want to go back to what you said about the other key part. And that is the European and NATO allies. I'm trying to get you to explain to us why
there might be some chinks in that armor. The secretary-general of NATO came out very strongly again today about the commitment not to give into
any Russian demands.
And you have said that it's been tough getting Europe on board with the intelligence that the United States has. What is the essence of the
MURPHY: Well, I do think that there has been a disagreement about the likelihood of a Russian invasion.
I think that that gap between us analysis and European analysis has been getting smaller, as we have been able to share more intelligence. But I
also think, as expected, there is less enthusiasm, as there always is, in Europe for tough sanctions against Russia.
Why? Because it's Europe that bears the brunt of those sanctions, much more so than the United States. That's a natural difference of opinion that
you're going to have in an alliance where many of your members do lots of business with Russia, and your biggest member of the alliance, the United
States, does very little business with Russia.
But I think the Biden administration has done heroic work. I think we are very close to having a significant set of coordinated sanctions to
translate to Russia and to make clear that there will be some significant damage done to his economy if he moves forward with this.
AMANPOUR: Senator, can I just ask you to really try to tell us as much as you feel comfortable saying about what you think Putin's next move will be?
And let's face it. President Biden did -- I don't know whether he slipped up, but he indicated that he was he will have to do something. He sort of
implied that Putin has his back to the wall and might have to do something, whatever that something is.
What do you think the next few days and weeks are going to look like? And what do you think Blinken and Lavrov are going to be able to talk about,
given the way the talks ended in sort of a dead end, according to the Russians, last week?
MURPHY: You know, I try to do everything possible not to creep into the brain of Vladimir Putin. I can't guess what he's going to do.
I think he's operating from a position of weakness. He has tried over the last eight years everything, but for a full invasion of Ukraine, to try to
get Ukraine back into his orbit, right, information warfare, an invasion of Eastern Ukraine, the taking of Crimea. He has been unable to do that. In
fact, the opposite has happened.
Ukraine has become more determined to be aligned with the West the more that Putin provokes. And so his means of last resort that he's left with
right now is contemplating a conventional invasion.
I do not know what he is going to do. I know that the intelligence we have is serious about the planning that's being done inside the Kremlin for an
invasion. And I think we just have to wait and see and hope that he starts to get better advice.
What I do know is that Putin has been getting some really bad advice. People have been telling him that he's going to be greeted as a liberator
when he comes into Ukraine. The opposite is going to happen. He's going to be met with a vicious and bloody insurgency that could last for decades.
And, hopefully, some of that information is finally getting to him.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you to go back into the U.S. Senate, obviously, your home, your professional home?
And, obviously, the rest of the world is also looking at some of the travails that the administration is facing in the Senate on one of the most
crucial elements that defines America and our democracies, and that is voting rights. The president's legislation failed last night, when two of
his own members of the party sided with the Republicans on this issue.
I guess one of the first questions I want to ask you is, why did the Democrats push that through, knowing that it was going to fail? What was
the strategy behind doing that?
MURPHY: Well, I will answer that question.
But let me quickly connect this back to the conversation about American national security. Countries want to align themselves with the United
States, not primarily because of the strength of our military, but because of the strength of our democracy, because democracy has delivered
prosperity to American citizens.
And so we need to breathe new life into American democracy as a mechanism to win new friends abroad and keep existing friends close to us. They see
how fragile our democracy is. They watched January 6, and they wonder whether American democracy is going to be around for another 10 years,
another five years, and whether they'd be better off cutting deals with somebody else. So this is intimately connected, domestic policy and foreign
On the question of why we had a vote last night, I think there is a moment where you have to sort of show the public where your member of Congress and
your member of the Senate is. Sometimes, in the service of a long-term goal, a defeat where everybody knows which side members of Congress are on
is important. It can be a mobilizing action for advocates.
I think that's what yesterday was about. And, remember, we did actually get all 50 Democrats to support that voting rights bill. The only difference
was on the rules of the Senate. I hope that yesterday actually advances the cause, mobilizes more people to action to get this done.
AMANPOUR: And you think it will come up again? I mean, how does it work, for the rest of the world to understand? Have you now -- is that now it for
the rest of this administration?
Or does one -- how do you keep trying to get this vital backbone legislation through?
MURPHY: Well, we won't stop.
I mean, the simple answer to the rest of the world is that we do believe that there are some inherent weaknesses in American democracy posed by
these state law changes that are making it harder for people to vote and giving the vote counting power only to Trump allies.
So we're going to continue to try to change the laws. We're going to be doing outreach to Republicans over the course of the next several weeks and
months to see if there's some common agreement on a narrower set of changes.
But, to many of us, this is about the existential health of the United States. And so we can't let this rest.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, the president made defending democracy against autocracy the central plank of his presidency, and also building back
better, building out of COVID and out of the last four years in a better way.
He indicated that he might -- that he might settle for sort of chunks of this at his press conference last night. Let me just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: It's clear to me that we're going to have to probably break it up.
I'm not going to negotiate against myself as to what should and shouldn't be in it, but I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can
now, and come back and fight for this later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So can you see any realistic route to that? I mean, look, time is ticking on. Everybody's talking about who might be in control of
Congress in November in the midterm elections. It doesn't look good at the moment for the Democrats.
What can you tell American people who want to see some of this money coming their way about it?
MURPHY: Well, it is important to remember how popular the president's Build Back Better agenda is, because it's rooted in tax cuts for the poor
and the middle of class.
It's about dramatically cutting costs of child care. It's about finally dealing with climate change, lowering prescription drug costs. All of that
is wildly popular amongst the American public. And I think Republicans will pay a price in the midterm elections if they still stand on the outside.
I will be eager to hear more from the White House about how they think we can break up this agenda. The problem is, right now, we don't have any
Republican support for any of it. So we need to use this narrow process in the Senate where, once or twice a year, we can pass things with 50 votes.
If you break it up into smaller pieces, then you're stuck with trying to get 60 votes for those -- for some of those pieces. And I just haven't seen
Republicans being willing to do anything about the cost of child care or be willing to take on the drug industry yet.
So I will be eager to hear more from the administration.
AMANPOUR: One of the things -- and I'm always quite taken by this.
American people are not known for making decisions and popularity polls based on foreign policy, and yet the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan
really affected the American people. And you were a supporter of President Biden's exit from Afghanistan.
But, more recently, as it sunk into a humanitarian crisis there, you have said the question of what the U.S. should do is a moral knot almost
impossible to untangle.
Let me just play what you said recently on the Senate floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURPHY: Make no mistake, Madam President. The Taliban, and, frankly, 20 years of corrupt Afghan governments, they do own this debacle. The choices
they made have led to this day.
But our hands aren't clean. Our mismanaged occupation, it is part of the story. And, right now, as the Afghan economy collapses and families face
starvation, burying our heads in the sand is not a solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Senator, what is the solution today, as so many face famine there, and the Taliban has really played to type? And what is the moral
knot that is almost impossible to untangle?
MURPHY: Well, I appreciate your focus on this important question and all the work you have done highlighting the humanitarian emergency in
I think it's important to be honest with the American people when you have got a complex foreign policy question with equities on both sides. And this
one is tough in Afghanistan, because, on one hand, the Taliban does own this emergency. We told them, don't take Kabul. You aren't ready to govern.
There is going to be a nightmare that will occur if you knock out the government with no plan for what comes next.
And the worry is, by sending in a bunch of aid, you are ultimately going to reward the Taliban and incentivize other insurgency groups to ignore those
warnings in other countries. On the other hand, how can America let people die? The people that we have stood next to for two decades, the women, the
children, the families that we have supported, how can we let them die in a famine?
So I think you untie this knot by funneling aid directly to the organizations and charities on the ground, going around the Taliban. That
is not easy. But the United States is holding about $7 billion worth of Afghan money that we have frozen after the Taliban took control. And I
think that we should be willing to move that money back in Afghanistan, so long as we can find a way to, for instance, directly pay the salaries of
health care workers and teachers, instead of allowing the Taliban to take that money and pay those salaries themselves.
None of this is easy, but I think there's a way to do both, help the people of Afghanistan without unduly, unreasonably benefiting the Taliban.
AMANPOUR: Well, let's hope that happens, because it really is a terrible tragedy for the people there.
Senator Murphy, thank you so much for being on our program again.
And our next guest is the international superstar Penelope Cruz. She's starring in Hollywood's new female-led thriller "355" and also in the much
more story-driven managed film "Parallel Mothers."
It reunites the Oscar-winning actress with the equally celebrated director Pedro Almodovar. The story is about two accidental mothers immersed in
love, deep loss, lies and historical memory.
Here's some of the trailer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR (through translator): I love the idea of having a child with you, but I don't know if I can allow myself that now.
CRUZ (through translator): It isn't a matter of allowing ourselves that. It's already here.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR (through translator): If she comes back, it will just stir things up again.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS (through translator): I can't miss this chance. If I leave the company, I will never work again.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS (through translator): Then go on tour.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR (through translator): She's going to be very dark, like you.
CRUZ (through translator): Yes, she's very dark.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR (through translator): If there are doubts, the only answer is to do the test.
CRUZ (through translator): I have no doubts.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR (through translator): But I do.
There, my love. That's it.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS (through translator): She's getting more ethnic, eh?
CRUZ (through translator): I only slept with Arturo.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS (through translator): Then she looks like your father.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, a story of mothers and also a bit of a thriller. The film is getting rave reviews. And Cruz herself has won best actress at the Venice
And I have been speaking with her about the film, about motherhood and why she keeps coming back to Almodovar.
AMANPOUR: Penelope Cruz, welcome to the program.
CRUZ: Thank you so much. It's an honor to be talking to you.
AMANPOUR: This film is remarkable. And it's so full of passion and angst and emotions.
And I just wondered. I think your director, Pedro Almodovar, said that it was one of the most difficult roles that you have ever played, either with
him or with anybody else. Would you say that?
CRUZ: I agree with him, but I don't say that complaining. I feel very honored and very lucky that he can trust me with this kind of material.
He has done that other times with me. We have done seven movies together. And I'm very lucky that he can imagine myself doing things that I -- maybe
I cannot even see myself doing, out of fear or -- but it's constantly an amazing challenge, and it is the director of why I decided to become an
actress when I was very young, and -- well, not to become an actress, to try to become an actor. It was because of his inspiration.
So, it is -- I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have this long relationship with him professionally, and also as like one more member of
AMANPOUR: Well, listen, this is all about family drama, of course, in all its different forms, "Parallel Mothers."
And it starts -- well, about eight minutes into the movie, you are giving birth to a child. So, I guess my question is, do you think -- and it's very
gritty, and it's very realistic. Could you have played this role, the whole role, not just that scene, before you were a mother? Or does being a mother
inform how you play this role?
CRUZ: I feel -- I have always wanted to be a mother since I was a little girl myself. And all my roles when I was playing with other friends, it was
like, I want the role of the mother or the role of the doctor. I don't know why.
CRUZ: And then I think Pedro saw that in me, because I have a very strong maternal instinct.
And from my first movie with him, "Live Flesh," I was giving birth in a bus. And then there has been characters like -- but I had not gone through
the experience myself of giving birth and becoming a mother, but I feel I understood.
I think now that I have two, it's almost on another level, which is, in every part of my cells, I understand that love in my soul. I understand
that love and the fear that a woman could experience in that situation. And I don't know. It's tricky to answer that in an honest way, because I feel
like I have played other things where I needed -- I didn't need to go through the experience to understand it.
I think the most important thing is to be able to put yourself in the shoes of that other person, that other situation, and to find that empathy and
that compassion, and to do it to honor the people that could be in such horrible threats, such horrible situations.
Even what happens to these women is very peculiar, because their babies are exchanged in a hospital. But that has happened.
But what about all the other women in the world that experienced any kind of threat in terms of losing a child or that have lost a child? So that was
my engine everyday of trying to find the truth to honor that, even if it was...
AMANPOUR: Well, Penelope, I'm very glad that you mentioned the hospital baby switch, because I was worried about it being a spoiler alert or
But, clearly, that's the -- well, we discover that that's the fundamental pivot of this movie. You are the woman, Janis, who's around 40. You have a
kid. You got pregnant by accident, but you don't regret it. You really want to have this baby.
In the hospital, you meet Ana. She's much younger, maybe half your age. She also has a baby or falls pregnant by accident. She doesn't really want it.
She sort of regrets it. And it's a huge drama that then pivots on this baby-swapping.
I don't want to give away the whole story in case there's one or two people in the world who haven't seen the film yet. But you all had to rehearse,
according to Pedro Almodovar, for about -- all the way through for about three times before you started -- you started actual rolling.
And you were crying a lot. And he said, no, no Penelope, don't cry. Your passion, your -- as he called it, the guiltiness of your character can
emerge in different ways. Tell me about that and how hard it was to restrain the emotion of crying.
CRUZ: Yes, he knows me very well. So he knows that I am -- I get emotional very easily, which for me has been a savior in many ways, to be able to
express myself in an open way. I mean, I don't care to cry in front of people.
If I was not able to express that, I think I would have had some problems. But he wanted to dry our own tears. He didn't want our own tears to mix
with the ones of the characters. And the script was such an amazing -- it was so well written. And everything was alive.
And we would start reading, and we would start, like, crying and hugging each other. And he was there watching it. It's OK. It's OK. We're going to
have the time to go through all of this process. But there is no reason for you to be crying in this scene, to be hugging each other. This is your way
of expressing yourself. This is the way of expressing also affection or the way you try to connect with the person you're talking to.
This is different. This is a completely different being with a -- that has to learn the skills of a different kind of communication that is so much
more manipulative also, out of survival. As she has to become the greatest liar in life also out of survival.
If she doesn't accomplish that, she's going to lose what she loves the most. And that was very challenging, but it was also a lot of -- I don't
know if I can use the word fun, but it was an incredible ride every day to have to be able to find that way of communicating, which is so different
from my own or the one from Milena, because we are very similar in that way, Milena, who plays Ana, very, very very similar.
AMANPOUR: So, you have mentioned Milena, who plays Ana. And, again, it's an amazing character and an amazing portrayal.
I'm going to play a small clip. But this clip that I want to play is when you meet up again a little bit later. You have gone your separate ways. And
you go to a cafe. And she happens to be the waitress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILENA SMIT, ACTRESS: What can I get you?
CRUZ: Hello. Coffee with milk and a blueberry muffin.
Ana? Are you Ana?
SMIT: Yes, Janis, it's me.
CRUZ: What are you doing here?
SMIT: I work here.
CRUZ: You have changed so much. I didn't recognize you. You look wonderful.
SMIT: Thank you. I will bring you the coffee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Just a quick first question this.
I think that Pedro brought you or you knew about this script a long, long time ago, like in the 1990s. And you may have been approached to play the
Ana character. And, anyway, it didn't happen. And you didn't play the Ana character. You played the older woman.
What do you think about that? Would you prefer to play the younger character? Do you prefer the one that you're doing right now, the older
CRUZ: Actually, he shared with me the story like almost 20 years ago, and I love every single character in this film.
But I always had this strong connection to Janis, to the character that I play. At that point, I would have been too young to do it. But now, when he
came back to me and talked to me about the story, and I told him, "Pedro, I remember because you told me this so many years ago."
But he writes all these stories that he puts away in a drawer and then he does something else. He didn't remember that I knew the story.
And when he said, Janis, I felt like, of course, I had this connection to this photographer, to this character who is so, so different from all the
characters I have played.
I mean, it made all the sense, and it was a very emotional call because he called me in the middle of the (INAUDIBLE) and lockdown, at the beginning
of the virus, and he told me I'm writing, which I was very happy to hear that because he's much happier when he's creating. And he told me, this is
what we're going to do when we're able to leave the house again and when we are able to go back to work.
And it was a phone call that, you know, gave me a lot of -- like, first of all, I was, of course, terrified for health and for everything that --
every horrible thing that was going around, like we have lost somebody or friends that have lost somebody. And I mean, it was really, really scary.
But, you know, to -- I care about him so much. So, also, to hear that he was writing, that he was still looking at the future with so much hope and
that -- and then, we were able to do it. And to start and it finish it, because I didn't know the film where we had to stop for six months.
AMANPOUR: Pedro has spoken about the difficulty of filming in the COVID environment. And there are pictures of him and, you know, everybody is
obviously taking their precautions and it's a difficult thing. How difficult was it for you, you know, there's so many close encounters,
there's so much -- this is a real sort of physical drama as well. How difficult was it shooting this kind of film during COVID and the
CRUZ: I filled in the sale (ph), which is his production company, it's amazing and they are very professional, very serious, responsible. They
took a budget for that because it was not cheap to have that kind of control every day. And the crew was also -- everyone was very responsible
with what they are doing also. Our (INAUDIBLE) and everyone was tested almost every day. And also, there was a component, I guess, luck, you know,
that things kept going and most important thing, everyone was healthy.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, obviously, that is the most important thing. Back to the story for a minute. I just want you to comment on something that
certainly myself as a viewer and I'm sure many, you know, we connect so much, not just with his storytelling, but with the color. I mean, Pedro
Almodovar is just full of color. He can be telling the most grim of stories and yet, the settings, the clothes, the curtains, everything is so colorful
and vibrant and alive.
CRUZ: I always pay attention to that in all his movies, when I was a little girl growing up and watching his films, and that was already like
something that I liked studying. Like, why did he decide that and that? And then, working with him, you realize that nothing is there just because he
likes it. Just -- everything is there for a reason.
He spends so much time with every department. The colors are another character in his films. And actually, for example, in this movie, the way
he uses red, it's very rare. It's very -- it's not very often, but there is the time when she comes back, when my character comes back from hanging out
at night with a character of Arturo and come back and look at the baby in the crib, and Elena (ph) started to -- sleeping next to her.
And it's when the aspect of this thriller starts. And he's wearing this red jacket. And it's there for a reason because so many people have come to me
and talked to me about that section of the film, that it feels like it's thriller, like (INAUDIBLE). And I am convinced that even the component of
that jacket, of that color being present in that moment makes at least some member of the audience, some members of the audience really concern about
how is he going to handle this situation. Is he going to lose her mind and do something crazy or is he going to speak her truth -- the truth, which is
only one truth?
I think it's fascinating the way he decided every single thing or every department. And at the same time with a great collaboration.
AMANPOUR: So, you just said this is where the thriller starts, the film (INAUDIBLE) starts. And of course, you do have this, you know, terrible
moment of having to come to terms with the truth, having to speak the truth about the baby Cecilia who you think is yours. I'm not sure that I want to
give too much more away, but that truth cost you a lot personally.
But you also mentioned, Arturo, who is the forensic anthropologist and he's, you know, the lover with whom you had this baby. And you met him when
you were taking pictures of him. And that's a whole another sub story, but actually a major story, and that is trying to come to terms with the truth
of the horrors of the fascist regime of General Franco and how many, many were killed and dumped in graves anonymously, including your character's
Talk to me about how that fits in with the personal drama.
CRUZ: To me, it's fascinating how he wrote these two stories, how they cross paths in such a natural way and how they represent the dilemma -- the
moral dilemma of my character, because in one way, he's trying to teach and inspire a younger generation to sharing knowledge and real information,
it's not an opinion, it's real information about happened in our country in the past.
But it goes beyond any political idea, any political site. Her message is about human rights and I think that's also the Pedro's message. Setting a
very beautiful way, but it is human rights. It's like the minimum amount of dignity that any human being would need in this life, and she's fighting
for that, to honor her own family, but at the same time, she's been this huge liar. She's -- about the most sacred thing in her life, about her own
daughter. So, this moral dilemma was very, very interesting to play every day.
AMANPOUR: And at the very end, the film ends with this incredible scene of all of you women, all the sort of connected different, you know, strands of
this family seeing the fact because Arturo and his team have dug up the mass grave and they have discovered, you know, your great grandfather and
the others in the family and in that village who were murdered by Francisco Franco's people.
And I was very, very moved when I saw the end legends, and I'm obviously going to read it. Partly it says, no history is mute. No matter how much
they lie about it, history refuses to shut its mouth. So, very strong way to end that film.
CRUZ: It is beautiful and really inspiring. Yes. And, you know, I have been with Pedro for 30 years. And even before I met him, when I was growing
up watching his movies and his interviews, I remember asking my parents, why this man is not like a president of our country? Because, you know,
what he represented in a time of change that was like, you know, this breath of fresh air, but with such clever ideas and such huge heart also
and the combination of all those things and also incredible sense of humor.
And I remember, I looked at him as a -- more as a political figure and not just a director. And the more I know him, the more I feel that way. It's
really, really inspiring.
AMANPOUR: Penelope Cruz, thank you so much for joining me.
CRUZ: Thank you. I love talking to you. Thank you so much, really.
AMANPOUR: And Cruz there talking about the powerful film and the powerful collaboration she has an artist.
And as we explored there the reality of motherhood is different for everyone, our next guest shared her own experience in a powerfully honest
"New York Times" magazine article, "The Abortion I Didn't Have," ot's titled.
Merritt Tierce was 19 years old when she became pregnant and she says it broke her. But also in many ways, gave her her life back. And she shares
that with Michel Martin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Merritt Tierce, thank you so much for talking with us.
MERRITT TIERCE, AUTHOR, "THE ABORTION I DIDN'T HAVE": Thank you, Michel. Thanks for having me. It's a real pleasure to be here.
MARTIN: You know, your piece for the "New York Times" magazine is so remarkable. It's about the fact that at 19, you finished college early.
Obviously, you're a great student. You were headed to Yale Divinity School. You got pregnant by a man that you liked, but had not any plans to marry.
You came from a background in which it was understood that you would not have an abortion. That was not even to be considered. You married and had
another child. Those are the facts, right? But the piece is about so much more. What made this the time to say this, to tell this story?
TIERCE: Those are the facts of my story, but the pieces about the feelings. And so, it took me a year to write the piece and then, I actually
decided I couldn't publish it because I was so afraid of hurting my son and my parents and my kid's father and I just felt like it wasn't worth the
chance that I might hurt someone.
And then, everything that has been playing out in the Supreme Court with respect to access to abortion and restrictions on abortion over the past
year started happening, and I have a deep background in abortion rights activism, but that definitely catalyzed my reconsideration of whether or
not this essay would be worth publishing.
And I started talking to my kid's dad and my children themselves and friends. Everyone said this is a perspective we don't hear enough. And this
is -- these ideas need to be out there, because the conversation as it is, it's so black and white and so polarized and people aren't willing to sit
in the complexity of it. And so, then I felt like maybe it was the right time and -- that I could understand why I would publish it.
MARTIN: You write about -- you know, you come from a religious background, which is a conservative religious background where marital sex is wrong,
but knowing that premarital sex is supposedly wrong doesn't keep you from having sex. But it does keep you from using birth control and having an
abortion, right? So, those are the first sort of set of complexities that you kind of deal with in the piece. Can you just talk about that at all?
TIERCE: When I was 19 and having sex with my kid's dad, we thought it was wrong and we weren't really in a relationship. We were sort of dating, but
we were very, very young. And -- but we felt like it would be sinful to use contraception. And we needed to be -- you know, we were really trapped by
our faith. We needed to be good more than we needed to protect ourselves.
But then I got pregnant. And then, there was no room within our world or our values for us to choose abortion. And then, there was a lot of family
pressure to get married because of the shame that surrounds premarital sex in Christianity. And so, my life, you know, it really got away from me,
which is, you know, a way of saying it just -- suddenly, I wasn't -- I didn't understand why own life. I was suddenly in a different universe.
I thought that I would be an academic. I hadn't thought about having children or getting married yet. So, it was really traumatic in that sense.
And I think what I was trying to write about is that there's so much pressure put on mothers to uphold the idea that having a child is the most
important best thing that can ever happen in your life. And so, there's no room within that to say, yes, I love my son, but this experience was so
traumatic for me.
And those two things, they don't have to be mutually exclusive. I just wasn't ready to be a parent, which I knew at the time. That's why I didn't
want to be a parent. But the way I have experienced that feeling now has been this just very deep -- I don't know what else to call it except grief.
That I didn't get to be the parent that I would have wanted to be to my children. And I love them so much that that is a very powerful feeling.
But -- that I think even, you know, parents who choose and plan their pregnancies and their children also have that feeling. And so, it really
hurts me a lot to think about my kids when they were young and how it was so difficult for me that I just wasn't very present.
MARTIN: You write, we insist as a child isn't absolute good, then becoming a parent must always be, by retroactive inference, always and only an
absolute good. I want to report from the other side of a decision many people make and say, yes, it can be true that you will love the child if
you don't have the abortion. It's also true that whatever you thought would be so hard about having a that child would ever make you consider not
having a child at that point in your life, maybe exactly as hard as you thought it would be. As undesirable, as challenging, as painful as you
What other remarkable things about your piece and your desire to tell the story is that there are always these two narratives in your head at every
point, how you're supposed to feel about being a mother versus how you really did feel about being a mother? It was almost like it was a voice in
your head that you couldn't still. Does that sound right?
TIERCE: Yes, it does. I mean, I have experienced this really profound split in myself because I do love my kids and I -- because I love them, I
wish that they could have had a different experience of life. I mean -- and I have to say, you know, that my kids are doing really well because I had
so much family support.
I had -- their dad is a really wonderful parent and I had the support of my parents who were amazing grandparents and their dad's mom. And these four
households really protected my kids and showed them a lot of love. And so, I think that is really critical and I don't think that most people who end
up in -- who find themselves in my situation can count on that.
But to go back to your question, I think, yes, there's a lot of pressure to hold up the myth that having children is the most important experience in
life, and a lot of it -- you know, a lot of that burden is laid at the feet of women and mothers. And if you want to say anything that's not that,
really silenced and shut out. And so, the split is enforced in that way, I think, we just don't welcome much conversation about how difficult it is to
be a mother, how difficult it is to be -- you know, to provide everything that a child needs and how much of a sacrifice we require from mothers.
We insist the narratives stay only on how great it is to have kids and how great kids are. And I feel like that is really not serving women and it's
just dishonest. The public conversation has not made much room for us to speak about how hard it is and how you are kind of relentlessly forced into
choosing between yourself and your children. And --
MARTIN: What -- really at the core of what you were saying here because part of what you were saying with this piece is that you said this was the
beginning of your contemplation of death. Not because you were talking about taking your own life, but because it was your -- you understood that
to go forward with the pregnancy meant the death of your dreams for yourself, and that is something that for some reason is not to be spoken. I
mean, is that --
TIERCE: Yes. It's not to be spoken because those are -- that's just supposed to be less important than having a child. It's supposed to be less
important, you know, than upholding the myth of the sanctity of life and how beautiful it is to have a family. The dreams of the individual woman
that have to be either put on hold or just abandoned often when she has to navigate a pregnancy that comes, you know, at the wrong time or isn't fully
wanted, that's not really allowed as part of the conversation.
MARTIN: Tell me more about why you hesitated to publish this piece? Are you -- were you afraid your children would feel that you had wished you'd
never had them?
TIERCE: Yes, I guess that's the most raw way to put it. And I -- you know, I mean, sI think even with all the contraceptive methods that are still
available now, almost half of pregnancies are still unintended. So, my experience was not that unique. But if you have the baby, you're supposed
to pretend like you always meant to have the baby and you wouldn't have it any other way.
And yes, I didn't want my children to have to consider the idea that they weren't wanted. You know, if I could go back, I wouldn't have an abortion,
but I would definitely give my son a different mother, a different experience of the worst 10 years of his life. And I would give myself a
different experience of parenting.
MARTIN: We're speaking now at the anniversary -- around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade once again. There's a very real possibility that Roe v. Wade
will be struck down. That abortion will again be outlawed in many parts of the country. It's already highly inaccessible in many parts of the country
by design. What do you make of that? How do you receive that?
TIERCE: I think it's more than Roe will be overturned and I think a lot of people will be really shocked by that in the U.S. But it's been coming for
a long time. It's been coming for 50 years. And it's already an unfolding tragedy in the states where abortion is restrictive like Texas. And I feel
like for so long it's been spoken of as a women's issue and as an issue of bodily autonomy, which it is.
But I think that that is really leaving out the part that's about the family. Abortion is a parenting. And abortion is a family decision. And
most people who have an abortion already have children. They already have at least one child. And so, there's not some magical difference between
people who have an abortion and people who choose to parent. It's the same people at different places in their lives. And I think this is a huge myth
that abortion is a selfish choice or that if you knew what it meant to love a child, you wouldn't choose abortion when the people who choose abortion
have children. They know exactly what it means. And that plays a big part in their decision.
I had two abortions after my kids were born. And absolutely, I felt like I couldn't give them -- you know, that I would be able to give them less than
I was able to give them if I had more children to care for and it wouldn't be fair to any of the children involved in that situation or me or their
dad or the extended family. Abortion is a family issue. And when people can control how many kids they have, their families are stronger and society is
stronger. That's just a fact.
MARTIN: What do you say though to people who argue that this is all secondary to the child's life? I mean, this is what it comes down to for
many people is that --
TIERCE: Yes. I think that --
MARTIN: -- babies are being killed and therefore, that has to stop and that is the end of the story? What do you say to them, people who believe
TIERCE: That's -- I say that's not good enough. I mean, it's just not. And I think that when Governor Abbott signed the Texas law last spring, he did
say -- the dropped the (INAUDIBLE) rhetoric. And this time around said it was about, you know, the sanctity of life and it was about what we're --
that that sanctity is endowed by our creator, and he brought it back to this -- you know, this kind of unassailable position that there's just
something inherently sacred about life.
And I don't know what to say to that. If once the child is here, there is no support. It's like what are we saying? We're saying, God wanted you to
be here kid, but now, it's all up to your mom and we're not going to support her, we're not going to give her any social support to deal with
the challenges of actual life? That's not good enough.
If we can say it's a fact that life is sacred, why do we feel like that stops at just allowing the life to exist? Why don't we feel like that
demands from us that we make sure everybody has the best chance they could possibly have in having a good life?
MARTIN: Your kids are of an age where, obviously, they can speak for themselves. It's always tricky speaking for your kids no matter what age
they are. But if you don't mind my asking, how do your children feel about the piece, especially your son, your first born?
TIERCE: I have had some amazing conversations with them about it. And they both were really proud of me and both of them said some version of, mom,
you know, regardless of all the things in here that we need to talk about or that we could talk about, just as a piece of writing, this is so
beautiful and we're glad it's out there and that people will get to read it.
And so, they had a very generous response to it. But then I think it has helped us have a more open conversation about their lives. And I think it
has provided some clarity and it's given me a reason to say, you know, if you have any memories or thoughts or feelings about when you were little,
and, you know, I'm here to validate your experience. And I don't want us to all live in myths about what things should have been like. I just want us
to be able talk about what things were like and what things are like.
So, the fact that I wrote this, I think, gave me a very specific way to say that to them at kind of the beginning of their adulthood and a very
specific reason to say, this is why these issues are so deeply important to me because I want you to have a better experience of parenting, I want you
to have -- I want you to be able to pursue whatever dreams you have for yourself. Especially -- and I want you to have the family that you want to
have when you want to have that family, and this is why.
And it's a complicated thing to navigate, to say that, I didn't have that and I love you so much. I want you to have that, when we're talking about
the facts of their existence. But, you know, they are both fully able to have that conversation and hold that complexity.
MARTIN: Merritt Tierce, thank you so much for talking to us.
TIERCE: Thank you so much, Michel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What an incredible story. And finally, tonight, a young woman who successfully pursued her own dream to become the youngest woman ever to
fly solo around the world. 19-year-old British Belgian aviator, Zara Rutherford, took off in August and flew more than 30,000 miles across more
than 40 countries before landing her microlight plane safely home in Belgium earlier today.
Rutherford says she undertook her epic journey to inspire more young women to follow their own dreams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZARA RUTHERFORD, YOUNGEST WOMAN TO FLY AROUND THE WORLD SOLO: For me, the world record is really to show that whether you're a girl or boy, you are
capable of being up there in the sky and flying a plane. It doesn't matter what gender you are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And she heads to university in September to study computer engineering.
That's it for now. And if you ever miss our show, you can always find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. You can find it at
cnn.com/podcasts and on all major podcast platforms. Just search for Amanpour or scan the QR code on your screens right now.
Remember, that you can always catch us online and social media. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.