Our Bodies, Our Blog

“After Tiller” Focuses on Real Life Stories of Abortion Doctors and Their Patients

By Rachel Walden |


After Tiller” is an important new documentary that explores the controversies around third-trimester abortions in the wake of the assassination of Dr. George Tiller.

Only four doctors in the United States now offer the procedures; the filmmakers explore how these providers “risk their lives every day in the name of their unwavering commitment toward their patients.”

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Reviewing it for The New York Times, film critic A.O. Scott, referencing a scene in which a young, pro-life woman’s request for abortion is discussed, calls it “one of the most illuminating discussions I have seen about the complicated reality of abortion.”

He concludes:

Documentaries can rarely be judged as works of dispassionate, neutral reporting since few of them aspire to uphold those journalistic criteria. Rather, a documentary should be assessed as a representation of the world as it is, from a perspective that is itself part of that world. “After Tiller” is impressive because it honestly presents the views of supporters of legal abortion, and is thus a valuable contribution to a public argument that is unlikely to end anytime soon.

New York Times editorial page editor Dorothy Samuels praises the film for taking “a complicated subject beyond the familiar muck of abstract and often ill-informed talking points to deliver a frank portrayal of the real life situations of the physicians and their desperate patients.”

Similarly, Jason Bailey, writing in The Atlantic, calls it “a rare consideration of the abortion debate that moves past labels and abstracts and takes a long look at the people involved. It is a showcase for empathy, a quality lacking in many conversations on the subject.”

The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is starting to open around the country. Scheduled screenings are listed online. Not playing near you? You can request a screening to bring “After Tiller” to your town. You can also follow @AfterTiller on Twitter, and like the documentary’s page on Facebook.

Want to learn more? Head over to PBS, where Tom Roston talks with “After Tiller” filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson on the Doc Soup blog.

Trust Women: Dr. George Tiller

By Wendy |

From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011 Entrant: Zoe French Nominee: Dr. George Tiller Like what you’re reading? Our Bodies Ourselves needs your support to continue providing trusted health info!Act NowDr. Tiller was an abortion provider, one of only three nationwide who provided abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy. He was murdered at church by an anti-abortion activist on May 31, 2009.

Scott Roeder Found Guilty in Shooting Death of George Tiller

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

After deliberating for only 37 minutes, a Kansas jury found Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of George Tiller. Watch closing arguments by Roeder’s attorney and the prosecutor. You can also view the guilty verdict being read. Roeder, 51, took the witness stand Thursday and admitted killing Tiller, who was one of the few doctors in the country to perform late-term abortions. Like what you’re reading? Our Bodies Ourselves needs your support to continue providing trusted health info!Act Now“I did what I thought was needed to be done to protect the children,” said Roeder. “I shot him.” Roeder said he was not remorseful. After the killing, which took place in Tiller’s church, Roeder said he felt “a sense of relief.” Roeder was also found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault. Sentencing is set for March 9. District Attorney Nola Foulston said she would be requesting the “Hard 50,” meaning Roeder would not be eligible for parole for 50 years. The Wichita Eagle has a good collection of background information and trial stories, along with links to other media coverage and related abortion issues. Jeanne Tiller, George Tiller’s widow, and the Tiller family, released this statement: “The family … More

In Honor of George Tiller: What Does “Trust Women” Mean to You?

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

This post was written in connection with the annual Blog for Choice Day, Friday, Jan. 22. Apologies for the delay! This year marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the fifth anniversary of Blog for Choice Day, started by Jessica Valenti and NARAL Pro-Choice America. NARAL is dedicating Blog for Choice 2010 to the legacy of Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered last May in his church foyer as he welcomed parishioners attending morning mass. Tiller provided abortions to women who often had no place else to turn and whose health, or the health of the fetus, was threatened. Like what you’re reading? Our Bodies Ourselves needs your support to continue providing trusted health info!Act NowScott Roeder, 51, a vocal anti-abortion advocate, admitted in November that he killed Tiller, and he claims the killing was justified. Roeder’s first-degree murder trial started on Friday — yes, Roe v. Wade’s anniversary. Tiller was the focus of anti-abortion groups for years; he had survived previous attempts on his life, including being shot in 1993. Committed to his work, he sometimes wore a button that said, simply, “Trust Women.” This year’s blog question, “What does ‘Trust Women’ mean to you?” can be answered with an equally … More

Scott Roeder Confesses, Says Killing Dr. George Tiller was Justified

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Scott Roeder, the man accused of shooting abortion provider George Tiller, confessed to the killing today and said that he plans to argue at his trial that his actions were justified. Roeder, 51, talked to an AP reporter for more than 30 minutes by telephone. He has been charged with one count of first-degree murder in Tiller’s death and two counts of aggravated assault for allegedly threatening two church ushers who tried to stop him when he shot Tiller in a church foyer in May, just before the start of a Sunday mass. The confession has no bearing on Roeder’s “not guilty” plea. His trial is scheduled to begin in January. Like what you’re reading? Our Bodies Ourselves needs your support to continue providing trusted health info!Act Now“Because of the fact preborn children’s lives were in imminent danger this was the action I chose. … I want to make sure that the focus is, of course, obviously on the preborn children and the necessity to defend them,” Roeder told the AP. “Defending innocent life — that is what prompted me. It is pretty simple,” he said. Roeder also said he has no regrets about killing Tiller. “No, I don’t have … More

Anti-Abortion Militants Visit George Tiller’s Killer – And Women’s Health Advocates Ask Why

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy Rachel Maddow devoted more than seven minutes of Monday night’s show to the elevated threat against doctors who provide abortions, noting that “perpertrators of violence [against doctors] are not just being turned into martyrs — they’re being turned into leaders.” The coverage was sparked by a Kansas City Star story on the high number of anti-abortion rights activists who have been visiting and communicating with Scott Roeder, the man accused of killing abortion doctor George Tiller. The list, writes Judy L. Thomas, “reads like a who’s who of anti-abortion militants”: Like what you’re reading? Our Bodies Ourselves needs your support to continue providing trusted health info!Act NowTwo convicted clinic bombers. The man behind the Army of God Web site. Several activists who once signed a declaration that defended the killing of abortion doctors. And federal agents have now talked to many of them. […] The federal investigation into the possible existence of a conspiracy began after Tiller — one of a handful of doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions — was shot in his Wichita church on May 31 while serving as an usher. Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, … More

Dr. George Tiller’s Clinic Closes for Good

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Ed. note: We’ve updated the collection of writings about Dr. George Tiller with more news and policy analysis. The family of Dr. George Tiller announced today it will not re-open the health clinic where Tiller provided abortion services for three decades. The family’s lawyers said in a statement that the clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, will be permanently closed, effective immediately: Like what you’re reading? Our Bodies Ourselves needs your support to continue providing trusted health info!Act NowThe family of Dr. George Tiller announces that effective immediately, Women’s Health Care Services, Inc., will be permanently closed. Notice is being given today to all concerned that the Tiller family is ceasing operation of the clinic and any involvement by family members in any other similar clinic. We are proud of the service and courage shown by our husband and father and know that women’s health care needs have been met because of his dedication and service. That is a legacy that will never die. The family will honor Dr. Tiller’s memory through private charitable activities. The Tiller family wishes to assure Dr. Tiller’s past patients that the privacy of their medical histories and patient records will remain as fiercely protected now … More

I Am Dr. Tiller: New Website Shares Stories of Abortion Providers and Reproductive Health Advocates

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

A new website launched today to spotlight stories of individuals working to make abortion safe, legal, healthy and accessible to women and girls: http://IAmDrTiller.com Steph Herold, an abortion counselor at a women’s center in Pennsylvania who last month was inducted as an Our Bodies Ourselves Women’s Health Hero, and her partner, Yahel Carmon, created the interactive site. (Herold was nominated by her sister, who submitted a video interview and wrote that her older sibling is “a college senior who already has helped countless women with her passion for variety of different kinds of activism.” Here’s yet another reason to cheer on Steph, now a recent college graduate.) “The goal of this project,” Herold told OBOS, “is to serve as a memorial to the lifework of Dr. George Tiller and as a living testimony to the courageous lives of abortion providers.” Like what you’re reading? Our Bodies Ourselves needs your support to continue providing trusted health info!Act NowThe idea for the website was sparked by a staff conversation at the women’s center on how to respond to discussions that it’s OK to take the life of an abortion provider. Herold said she and Carmon decided to do something that would “personalize abortion … More

“What’s the Matter With Kansas?” Film Features Protests Against Dr. George Tiller

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Good reading today at Salon’s Broadsheet. First, Lynn Harris writes about the George Tiller Memorial Abortion Fund, which our own Judy Norsigian mentioned yesterday. “A generous donation from a venerable benefactor also came in via U.S. mail on Monday, the day after the shooting,” writes Harris. “It was $500 — and it was sent, days before he was shot, by Dr. Tiller himself.” The doctor’s own gift — remarkably spooky, remarkably generous — “makes clear that the Memorial Abortion Fund is a fitting tribute to this compassionate provider of critical abortion care,” said [NNAF executive director Stephanie] Poggi. Like what you’re reading? Our Bodies Ourselves needs your support to continue providing trusted health info!Act NowIf you’re inspired, you may donate to the fund here. And for the love of God, may there never be a Dr. Carhart fund to match. Next up is Judy Berman’s post on the documentary “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” based on Thomas Frank’s bestselling book that explores the progressive state’s rightward turn. In the clip below, Tiller calmly recalls the pickets, the arrests and the 1993 attempt on his life. There’s also footage from the 1991 protests, part of the “Summer of Mercy.”

Support & Honor Women’s Health Care Providers and the George Tiller Memorial Fund

By Judy Norsigian |

Dr. George Tiller’s murder offers us all an opportunity to reflect upon and honor the work of so many women’s health care professionals who continue to offer abortion services despite ongoing threats to themselves and their families. That such a kind and dedicated human being could be attacked and killed like this sends all of us reeling once again. How is it that those who purport to care about life can spew forth the kind of hateful rhetoric that foments destructive passions in already unstable individuals like Dr. Tiller’s attacker? I think about a few physicians I know who have had to walk around their communities wearing bullet-proof vests. Even though there has not been a shooting like this one in some years, they are well aware of the recent increase of harassment and violent incidents related to abortion clinics in this country. Like what you’re reading? Our Bodies Ourselves needs your support to continue providing trusted health info!Act NowTerrorist behavior like this is designed to deter other women’s health care practitioners from providing abortion services. And it is precisely because of this that we must all be outspoken in our support of all physicians willing to provide such services … More