About the Film
Motherless is a brief documentary centered on the stories of four now-adult children whose mothers died due to complications from illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade. A medical historian familiar with illegal abortions and a physician who treated hundreds of women dying from abortion-related complications provide further context. They discuss the medical, legislative, and social history of abortion from the late nineteenth century until 1973. Motherless offers rare and moving insight into the human tragedies resulting from unsafe and illegal abortions.
About the Filmmakers
Motherless was produced and directed by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Diane Pontius in 1992. Motherless was Attie & Goldwater Production’s first documentary. Since then, the pair has continued a creative collaboration focusing on critical issues facing women and girls, making widely acclaimed documentaries for festivals and broadcast in the US, South America, Europe, and Asia. The pair has received the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a Leeway Transformation Award, and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in Media for their work. Learn more about Attie & Goldwater Productions here.
“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, Constance Hess Williams Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College
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