"A Private Matter" is based on the true story of Sherri Finkbine and the events in her life during the 1960s.
After becoming pregnant (for the fifth time) Sherri Finkbine (Sissy Spacek) learns that some tranquilizers (Thalidomide) she had taken have seriously deformed her unborn child. She and her husband decide, with the help of her doctor, to have an abortion. But this is the 1960s, and abortion is illegal.
Her doctor has made arrangements to have the procedure performed within the law, by claiming that the child is endangering the mother's life. Everything is about to work out just fine, until Sherri has the uncontrollable urge to talk about her situation with a local reporter.
This sets off a media frenzy and immediately Sherri is the most hated woman in the world. She and her husband are fired from their jobs, reporters are surrounding their home at all times, and most importantly, no one in the country (and eventually other countries) will perform the abortion. This causes emotion problems for all involved.
This is a fascinating story and it's hard to believe that this only happened 30 years or so ago.