Taking Issue

© Louis Felder

(Drama, a full-length play)
A young assistant DA must prosecute an embryologist, and a Grand Jury must decide when life begins, which impacts the abortion issue.

19 CHARACTERS, (14 MALE, 5 FEMALE), one set, present time Although the cast is large, many roles can be doubled or tripled.

Edward Cabral, 28, a Deputy DA in Los Angeles, pro-choice.
Susan Cabral, 25, his wife, pregnant, pro-life.
Geneva Hempsted, 42
Geneva Hempsted, 42
Hector Hempsted, 40s, her husband
Pastor Watkins, 50s-60s, church leader
District Attorney, 40s-50s
Mel Kramer, foreman of the Grand Jury
Father Thomas Fletcher, a priest


A young Hispanic Deputy District Attorney introduces the case to the audience: at an in-vitro clinic in Los Angeles, an embryologist accidentally dropped a dish of zygotes (fertilized ova). A minister, who believes that life begins at conception, wants an indictment for involuntary manslaughter, and a conviction could legalize his belief. It would also provide a further legal argument against embryonic stem cell research and the “morning after” pill.

Pro-life and pro-choice groups takes sides. When the issue is picked up by the media, it becomes a political third rail and shunted off to a Grand Jury hearing. The young Deputy District Attorney is assigned to prosecute. He is pro-choice; his wife is pro-life. They are expecting a baby. Because the fetus has severe medical problems, their doctor recommends termination of the pregnancy. The issue (their issue) divides the family and impacts the Deputy DA’s presentation of the case to the Grand Jury (the audience) in the Second Act.

The play does not take sides on abortion; it fairly presents the question at the core of the issue: when does human life begin? There are nineteen characters in the play (which can be doubled) no sets, limbo light, minimum props, present day. It is structured in short filmic overlapping scenes.

Download the script