Motherless: A Legacy of Loss from Illegal Abortion

Motherless is a documentary which explores the tragedy of death from illegal abortion. 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.

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