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Connie Cook: A Documentary

Free Screening at Cinemapolis 

Visionary, reformer, legislator, lawyer, pragmatic politician, pilot, fencer. These words and more describe former Assemblywoman Constance E. Cook, who as a Republican decriminalized abortion in NY State in 1970. Roe V Wade is based on her work. St. Johns Episcopal Church is hosting a free screening of the film, by Sue Perlgut and Nils Hoover, on Saturday, June 24 , 2023, 1:00-2:30 p.m. at Cinemapolis. Filmmaker Perlgut, and others will be on hand for a talkback. An attorney will join the conversation to discuss the current landscape of reproductive rights after Dobbs. For more information, go to 

More about Connie Cook

Constance Eberhardt Cook was a woman ahead of her time. She was a pilot, a graduate of law school in 1943, one of only a few female corporate lawyers in NYC in the 1940’s and an important historical pioneer in the fight for women’s rights. She represented Tompkins County as a Republican in the New York State Assembly when there were only two other women there in the 1960s and early 1970s. Through the political process, she implemented legislation concerning broad-based public control of education and the decriminalizing of abortion. Her efforts regarding abortion became the critical model for the rest of the Country. Mrs. Cook spent more than 10 years in the NY State Assembly, always aware of her constituents’ needs. In 1974, she was the first woman vice-president of Cornell University and she sued the Episcopal Church so that women could be priests and she won. Cook was an innovator and many changes that have taken place in American life came about because of her drive, determination, and humanitarianism.

About the documentary (

This interview-driven documentary has a diverse cast of family, friends, politicians, and colleagues of Cook’s who were interviewed in their homes and offices, along with archival footage of Cooks’ life and work. The film was an official selection of the High Falls International Women’s Film Festival and the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival in 2015.

About CloseToHome Productions

Sue Perlgut, award-winning filmmaker and theatre director formed CloseToHome Productions to reach a wide-ranging audience with videos that feature topical and socially relevant issues. She has produced many videos and four documentaries, 101 Ways to Retire—or Not!, Beets and Beans: Living and Dying with Hospice, Connie Cook: A Documentary, and It’s All Right To Be Woman Theatre. Perlgut is a recipient of many local and national grants for her writing, directing and film work.