Attie & Goldwater Productions

MOTHERLESS: A legacy of loss from illegal abortion

Produced and directed by Janet Goldwater, Barbara Attie and Diane Pontius; Edited by Kathleen Soulliere (1992, TRT: 30 minutes)

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"Motherless presents the human face of coercive reproductive health policies. An important reminder about why we cannot return to the days of the back alleys, this film is a 'must see' for everyone, especially current and future lawyers, medical professionals, and public policy makers."
               —Kathryn Kolbert, Esq., University of Pennsylvania
                 Annenberg School of Communications

MOTHERLESS is a half-hour documentary which explores the tragedy of death from illegal abortions.
Three women and one man, whose mothers died due to complications from abortion before its legalization, discuss the trauma of loving and then losing a mother at a young age. Two of their mothers died in 1929, one in 1950 and one as recently as 1960.

Social and historical context is provided by a physician who treated hundreds of women dying from septic abortions, and a medical historian familiar with the widespread nature and causes of this tragic phenomenon. They discuss the medical, legislative and
social history of abortion from the late nineteenth century until 1973. MOTHERLESS offers a rare and deeply moving insight into the human tragedies behind the statistics. It captures the feelings of these survivors as
they remember and mourn their mothers, four among the thousands who died.

Since broadcast, MOTHERLESS has become a popular educational tool in classrooms across the country. It is considered an invaluable "start-up" tool for Medical Students for Choice groups, and is an official component of the American Medical Women's Association curriculum for obstetrics and gynecology.

"Motherless profoundly humanizes the present debate, that in the name of compassion so often becomes strident and accusatory . . . exceptional quality, exceptional impact."
                            —John C. Raines, PhD, Temple University
                               Department of Religion

CINE Golden Eagle, 1993
Silver Apple, National Educational Film and Video Festival, 1993
Honors, International Health and Medical Film Festival, 1994
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights, Sarah W. Boote Founders Award, 1994

Regional PBS

Women in the Director's Chair, 1993
Sinking Creek Film and Video Festival, 1993
Fifth International Video Week, Saint-Gervais, Geneva, Switzerland, 1994

           Linn Duvall Harwell was five when her
           mother died in 1929

Sharon Magee was four when
her mother died in 1960

           Jim Friedl was four when
           his mother died in 1929

Gwen Eliot was
five when her
mother died in

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Phone: 610.664.7316