After Tiller: Absorbing Docu about Abortion

The debut film of New York filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, “AFTER TILLER” offers an informative, absorbing, and emotionally touching look at the lives of four remarkable doctors.

After the 2009 assassination of Dr. George Tiller, one of few doctors in the U.S. who had performed third-trimester abortions, only four doctors are openly performing this controversial procedure.

Some socio-medical context is in order: The seminal Roe v. Wade case legalized abortion, but allowed individual states to ban abortion in the third trimester, with exceptions for the life or health of the woman. Since 2010, bans on abortions after 20 weeks have passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and nearly a dozen states, including Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas (where State Sen. Wendy Davis stalled a bill with an 11-hour filibuster, though the bill later passed).

Late abortion rights is now also a pressing issue on the national front due to the renewed efforts by Senate Republican leaders to bring a similar bill to the floor in Washington, outlined in a July 28, 2013 New York Times article: “G.O.P. Senators See an Upside in a Problematic Issue: Abortion.”

The docu depicts a complex yet compassionate portrait of the physicians, who endure death threats, protests and legal battles, and yet continued show bold courage and unwavering commitment toward their patients’ welfare.

World premiering at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in the Documentary Competition, AFTER TILLER received critical support. It opens Friday, September 20, 2013 at Film Forum.

What’s special about AFTER TILLER is that no matter what your stance is on the controversial issue of abortion (pro-choice or pro-life), an admittedly complex, complicated, unsettling red-button problem, you will still get absorbed in–and feel empathy–toward the risk-taking doctors, not to mention their patients.


An Oscilloscope Laboratories release.
Running time: 88 Minutes
Directed and produced by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson.
Executive produced by Artemis Media Ventures and Belle Max Productions.
Edited by Greg O’Toole.
Director of photography: Hillary Spera.
Cinematography: Emily Topper.
Original score by Andy Cabic and Eric D. Johnson.