Last week I saw the film After Tiller, a documentary that explores third-trimester abortion care in the United States by focusing on the only four doctors publicly known to offer this procedure. The screening was hosted by the Reproductive Health Access Project and the film was followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers, Martha Shane and Lana Wilson.
I don’t want to give too much away–but I will say that the doctors in this film are truly inspiring and thoughtful in their care towards their patients and their work. I really, really recommend this film to everyone, no matter your background knowledge on abortion or where you fall on the pro-choice-anti-choice spectrum.
The film looks specifically at the four physicians’ experiences and perspectives, a view often overlooked in political debate on abortion. As Lana and Martha said in the Q&A, they went into this project with no expert knowledge on abortion in the United States, neither political or medical. What they found was a fascinating, emotionally charged story. And what they produced is a small, yet powerful glimpse at the only truly direct participants of abortion care – the patients and the providers.
As an aspiring physician and abortion provider, this film served as an encouraging reminder that abortion is about so much more than the tug-of-war between lawmakers and activists–though activism is very important! At the most basic level, abortion is about compassion. After Tiller reveals how simple or extraordinarily complex an abortion can be to those most affected by it.
While I am definitely not a professional film reviewer, all I can say is go see it! And make sure to tell your friends to see it too! You can find out when After Tiller is coming to a city near you–and if it’s not screening in your area, you can request a screening.