Documentary film After Tiller was nominated for two Emmy Awards: Best Documentary, and Outstanding Coverage of a Current News Story.
The Point of View (POV) documentary follows the aftermath of the murder of Dr. George Tiller in 2009 in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Tiller was one of the last remaining third trimester abortion providers in the country. He was assassinated in the atrium of his church, after facing decades of threats and harassment, surviving a shooting in 1994, and having his clinic bombed in 1986. Dr. Tiller’s story represents the lived realities that many abortion providers and clinic staff experience daily at the hands of anti-abortion extremism.
Since Dr. Tiller was murdered, only four doctors remain in the United States openly performing third-trimester abortions. After Tiller follows these four doctors as they confront various obstacles- harassment, state efforts to close or limit abortion clinics, as well as emotional dilemmas from working in such a hostile environment- revealing the inspiration Dr. Tiller was for these doctors, but also the warning that his assassination serves to them of the risks they take through doing the work they do. The film has been called a “deeply humanizing” portrayal of the realities of violence against abortion providers in the face of anti-abortion extremism.
“Reality is complicated,” say Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, directors and producers of After Tiller. “Yet when it comes to the abortion issue in America, we are often presented with two very different, black-and-white versions of what is right and what is wrong — no exceptions granted. As a result, the national shouting match over abortion has become increasingly distanced from the real-life situations and decisions faced by those people most intimately involved — the physicians and their patients,” Shane and Wilson continue.
The Feminist Majority Foundation has long supported clinic defense through its National Clinic Access Project, which most recently brought increased security measures to the last remaining abortion clinic in Montgomery, Alabama, in the face of a week of harassment and protest led by anti-abortion extremist group Operation Save America. FMF has advocated for safety buffer zones around clinics to ensure that patients, doctors, and healthcare workers can enter these facilities without harassment, intimidation, and violence.
The 67th annual Emmy Awards will take place on September 20th this year.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 6/19/09; 7/20/15; 1/15/14; PBS After Tiller Press;