After Tiller looks at doctors who perform late-term abortions and their patients

DrSellaAfterTiller.jpg
Dr. Sella, one of the subjects of After Tiller.
In 2009, George Tiller, one of only a handful of doctors who performed late-term abortions in this counry, was fatally shot while attending church services in his home town of Wichita, Kansas. In a one-night-only showing tonight, Physicians for Human Rights Colorado and the Sie FilmCenter will present After Tiller, a 2013 documentary that explores the dangerous existence led by doctors like Tiller, including Boulder's Warren Hern, as well as the complex situations and ethical struggles of the patients who receive the third-trimester procedure.

In advance of the screening, After Tiller co-director Martha Shane spoke with Westword about the challenges she and fellow filmmaker Lana Wilson faced when documenting this complex and sensitive topic.

See also: The story behind BeforePlay.org and its sex-positive meme campaign

Westword: How did After Tiller come to be as a documentary?

Martha Shane: I had been working in documentary for a while and my co-director (Lana Wilson) was working in the art world -- but she had the idea for the film while she was watching the news coverage of Dr. Tiller's assassination. We started to talk about how the mainstream news media wasn't necessarily going to cover this in the way that we could get the questions we had answered.

Here you had this doctor who was probably the most vilified abortion doctor in the U.S., who was killed in church -- we were surprised by some of the details of the person. Like I said, he was the most vilified doctor abortion doctor in the U.S. -- but he was also this religious cChristian and had a military background. What we really started to ask ourselves was, what would motivate someone to do this work when they are at risk of being killed?

At first we thought about making a film about Dr. Tiller's life; then we realized it would be more interesting to be inside the lives of the doctors who are still doing this work.

This story wouldn't be able to be told without consent of all four licensed doctors in the U.S. who perform third-trimester abortions. As is shown in the film, this is dangerous work -- were you ever afraid you wouldn't be able to get all four doctors to participate?

That was definitely a big concern for us. At first, we really only knew about the two male doctors -- Dr. Carhart and Dr. Hern -- and we reached out to them first. We went out first and met them in person with no cameras and presented our idea of the film and they were both really amenable to it. I think a lot of what we talked about -- which was one of our goals of the film, originally -- was to humanize these doctors who have been so vilified by the anti-abortion movement. We wanted to show the different sides of them as people -- even if you don't agree with abortion, maybe these people shouldn't have to worry about being killed.

Dr. Carhart and Dr. Hern got involved pretty quickly but the two female doctors -- Dr. Robinson and Dr. Sella -- took about a year to decide to part of the film. We learned about them and reached out. They had worked closely with Dr. Tiller -- who never did any interviews except the one that you see briefly in the film -- and at first they said absolutely not. But we kept talking to them and eventually they agreed to let us come out and visit the clinic. Once we got to know them a little bit more in person and they were comfortable with us, they agreed to be a part of the film.

I think they really helped to emphasize the stories of the patients and the need to get those out into the world. So often that part of this situation is misunderstood -- the reason why a woman would seek a late-term abortion.


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Sie FilmCenter

2510 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Film

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27 comments
Elise Dunkel
Elise Dunkel

I'm just going to say maybe you should watch this documentary before all the hateful & judgmental comments. If you read, this film was made to try & shine light on these issues, from all perspectives. Educate yourselves before forming an opinion, I will. And that is the point, education & information.

Rene Nimbach-Noriega
Rene Nimbach-Noriega

And Steve krautkramer It is nine of my business what a woman does with her body. But it has nothing tondo with her body. Her body isn't getting poisoned , pricked. Poked proded, and literally ripped apart limb by limb. A tiny human who did NOT have a choice is. So who the eff do those dr.s and those women think they are to decide for another human being how and when it should die?!?!

Rene Nimbach-Noriega
Rene Nimbach-Noriega

Honestly it doesn't matter their story. And sadly those women that choose to commit his horrendous act will most likely suffer with pain and regret for the rest if their lives over the " choice" they made. The drs. That do this are sick . The society that allows it is sick. It is an entirely selfish and cruel heartless act. And shows we have no regard for the human race. So sad. It is no different than the woman who gives birth and abandons or murders her newborn. Period. These are the same people that will not eat meat because it's cruel

Daniel Shalik
Daniel Shalik

If these babies are breathing when they leave the womb they are living human beings and ending their lives instead of protecting them is a crime and not to mention a sin.

A Lisha Kue
A Lisha Kue

F*€k off you don't know the persons story ......n it's not only women's fault cuz a women can't get herself pregnant hello there's a possibility she coulda been raped cuz guys don't give a damn if there willing or a child but only about there dicks being wet ..... but weather she chooses to kill or not is up to her not you some person who don't mean sh!+ .... R you gonna help her out with the kid , finances, or the possibility of the kid being a family members ( incest) or a rape baby helll no your not ..... If your all mighty go save some kid who needs it like a kid being sexually or physically abused n stop worrying about abortion n if you don't like what your reading stop being a nosey ass plus it is not your page I'm posting on its westwords

Jeffrey Fennig
Jeffrey Fennig

Humanize these types of people? Odd choice of words since they're obviously less than human.

Mark Hendryx
Mark Hendryx

You don't know the individual stories about the women who are having these procedures. There are only four doctors probably because of how rare this actually happens. Trashing these people is terrible. You have no idea what they are going through.

Rosebud Cordier
Rosebud Cordier

If doctors are allowed to kill babies, why are women charged with harming an unborn baby when they drink or do drugs while they are pregnant????!!!!????

Jay Cismaru
Jay Cismaru

Suffice to say the best time to get an abortion is s early as possible before there is a brain before there is a heart

Bill Ogle
Bill Ogle

Not sure what a fundie jackass is but at the third trimester it's a baby... regardless of what you believe. You want to have an abortion of course that is up to you... Just figure that out before you are about to give birth.

Skye Cameron
Skye Cameron

Nick Dominic Licon until you recieve a memo from a Higher Power, you are NOT said Higher Power and you don't know what goes on that brings women to that point. Assuming it's all about a screw where YOU or the woman didn't use protection just proves how innocent you are to how evil the world can be, bless your precious little heart.

Steve Krautkramer
Steve Krautkramer

Screw you fundie jackasses! It's none of your business what a woman does with her body! Unless you are going to help them raise unwanted children, STFU!

Nick Dominic Licon
Nick Dominic Licon

Better keeps your legs closed than spend eternal life in hell! Better think twice, screw back alleys these people deserve to die the same way they put this unborn child threw!

Bill Ogle
Bill Ogle

Disgusting... With only four licensed docs in the whole country, I'm sure they're knocking a fat hog in the ass, but wow... Just wrong.

Nick Dominic Licon
Nick Dominic Licon

My mother and my sister where both born prematurely at 7 months, and these dr perform these abortions on the same month span as my mother and sister, any way you look at it they are killing and are murderers! Late stage abortions are murder, no excuses! This should not be allowed! Why wait so long!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

If God didn't want Women to have Abortions, he wouldn't spontaneously abort 100s of MILLIONS of "unborn babies" every year.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... the heart forms at 5 weeks.


hth.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... no, it's still a FETUS until that parasite leaves its host.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... figures a Baable thumping idiot like you would also be illiterate.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Nick Dominic Licon "My mother and my sister where both born prematurely at 7 months,"


That explains your retardation.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... on a very expensive bed, in a very expensive home.


hth.

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