Maria and Francisco, Rosa's parents
In January 2003, news spreads throughout Central and South America that a 9-year-old Nicaraguan girl has become pregnant as the result of a rape. Rosa, or Rosita as the girl becomes known in the press, is the only child of illiterate campesinos working in Costa Rica as coffee pickers at the time of the assault. Fearing for their daughter's life and mental health, Rosa's parents are determined to obtain an abortion for their child.

Auxiliary Archbishop Solórzano
In both Nicaragua and Costa Rica, abortion is illegal except when deemed necessary to save the life of the mother. Despite the odds of obtaining a rarely granted exception for a so-called "therapeutic" abortion, Rosa's parents move forward only to be forced into battle with two governments, the medical establishment and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Representatives of both the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican governments attempt to remove Rosa from her family in order to force her to continue her pregnancy. Two Nicaraguan government ministers resign. A women's health group intercedes and — in a landmark victory for Nicaraguan girls and women who are victims of sexual violence — Rosa obtains a therapeutic abortion.

Managua, 2003
In a stunning television announcement, Nicaragua's Archbishop excommunicates everyone connected to her abortion. The public outcry extends across Latin America and Europe. A petition originating in Spain gathers the signatures of 26,000 men and women demanding, "I too want to be excommunicated." The petition is presented to the Vatican's representative in Spain and the Church falls silent.

ROSITA, an hour-long documentary by award-winning filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater, draws viewers inside the drama through interviews, location footage and media coverage captured within months of the actual events. The drama unfolds chronologically, combining the public media reports with the private remembrances of those involved — Rosa's parents, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, priests and journalists.

Costa Rica
The film exposes the machinations of the politicians, doctors and clergymen, but shields the young protagonist from the camera — in keeping with the pledge filmmakers Attie and Goldwater made to Rosa's parents. Yet Rosa is at the heart of the film, revealing herself and her world through her own words and drawings.

Rosa's words are taken from an oral history recorded in the months following the abortion by author María López Vigil. A former nun dedicated to social issues, López Vigil spent hundreds of hours with Rosa and her family before publishing the oral history, Historia de una Rosa .

Drawing by Rosa
Throughout ROSITA, the child's view of her world is depicted through her art — bold paintings and detailed crayon drawings. Using animation, Rosa's drawings of schoolyards, soccer games and farmyard animals are brought to life. As events unfold the focus of Rosa's artwork shifts from the simple joys of childhood to the trauma of violence and upheaval.

Managua, Nicaragua
The image of Rosa is captured in the guileless faces of young girls living in a country where 39 per cent of the population is under 14.   Everywhere the camera goes — retracing Rosa's steps in this poor Latin American country — young girls are seen in the fields, working next to their parents or playing near their makeshift homes. They are in schoolyards and classrooms, their dark hair neatly pulled back and the white school uniform shirts freshly laundered. These girls are not Rosa — yet they are ROSITA.

Rosita was broadcast throughout Central and South America during July & August 2006 on Cinemax Latin America.

To learn more about the issues in ROSITA:
Women's e-news
Red Feminista
Catholics for a Free Choice
Choice Link Up: The pro-choice webring

Email Attie & Goldwater Productions

To purchase or rent a dvd or vhs of ROSITA, contact
Bullfrog Films at or 1-800-543-3764

For inquiries about broadcast, contact ro*co films international