After Tiller: Sanctifying late-term abortion – and lying about it, too

A shot from "After Tiller" (L to R: LeRoy Carhart, George Tiller, Susan Robinson, Shelly Sella)

A shot from After Tiller. (L to R: LeRoy Carhart, George Tiller, Susan Robinson, Shelly Sella)

Abortion advocates are salivating over the darling of the Sundance Film Festival, pro-abortion film After Tiller. The film follows Shelly Sella, Warren Hern, Susan Robinson, and the notorious LeRoy Carhart – claimed to be the “last four late-term abortionists” in the United States. The way pro-aborts are fawning over this movie, you’d think that filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson had just uncovered America’s own Mother Teresas.

At Slate, Amanda Marcotte sings praise:

Inside the clinic walls, however, we see a very different story. Yes, there are a couple of cases of women around the 24 or 25 week mark who, because of rape or because they are teenagers from very religious families, put off abortion until they started to show, and to their credit, filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson didn’t flinch from that. However, most of the patients getting later term abortions in the film very much wanted to have their babies but, after getting a horrific diagnosis of serious fetal abnormalities, decided to terminate. Babies who would be born with organs on the outside, babies who would never be able to move, babies whose lives would be a few short days of unending pain before death: The almost-parents tell their stories haltingly, often weeping at how unfair it is to have to choose between two terrible options. The doctors struggle, too, often trying to parse which medical conditions are serious enough to justify abortions after 28 weeks.

As Dr. Shelley Sella of Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico, explains, these very late abortions really are much more like delivering a stillborn baby than performing an abortion. For the doctors and the patients, the experience is much more like having to take a dying family member off life support than it is a failsafe for when the contraception didn’t work.

Carrie Nelson at The Frisky has similar praises about the seemingly sacred work these doctors perform:

I am relieved that, for my friend’s sake, this is probably not a choice on which she will need to act. In all likelihood, her baby will be healthy and safe. But in case a difficult decision needs to be made, it is critical that such options exist for parents to consider. I thought about our conversation when I saw Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s new documentary, “After Tiller,” an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Like my friend, the majority of the women featured in are women who want to be mothers. They want to have healthy, happy children, and they want to provide their children with the best lives possible. Yet, when faced with the reality that their babies will not have the lives for which they planned, the mothers choose the option that they believe will demonstrate the greatest display of love and dignity. “After Tiller” shares these stories through the perspectives of the mothers seeking third-trimester abortions and the doctors providing them.

… The importance of the work is the reason for their perseverance; at one point during the film, Dr. Robinson laughs with a mix of dedication and sadness, exclaiming, “I just thought the other day, ‘I can’t retire. There aren’t enough of us.’” Through interviews and scenes observing the doctors participating in their daily work routines, viewers gain insight into the motivations that initially inspired them to pursue this work and the passion that drives them to continue with it in the face of death threats and legal challenges to reproductive rights.

Sarah Erdreich sticks to the party line at the Huffington Post:

What is clear is that only a small percentage of all abortions occur after the 24th week of pregnancy, and that the vast majority of those terminations happen because of severe health concerns on the part of the woman or fetus. Perhaps After Tiller will help increase awareness of this fact and empathy both for the women that are in these situations and the medical professionals that help them.

Sarah Seltzer at RH Reality Check also repeats the “mostly for medical reasons” claim, applauds the film as “remarkable,” and boasts of the abortionists’ “humanity:”

But thanks to the intrepid young filmmakers behind After Tiller, Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, the providers’ deep humanity, and that of their patients, has been rendered visible, exquisitely so.

In short, After Tiller is a remarkable film.

… The film illuminates the stories of actual women who get third-trimester abortions: a clearly confused rape victim, a financially struggling woman who was unable to pull together the money she needed to get an abortion earlier in her pregnancy, and mostly the bearers of desperately wanted children who learn about crippling birth defects and terminate in an act of mercy.

And on and on it goes.

What all of these fawning pro-abortion articles fail to mention, however, is the epic lie of this film. We are led to believe that most women who undergo late-term abortions do so because there are problems with the pregnancy. The baby has an “abnormality” – like, say, the horrific affliction of Down syndrome? – and so the woman is simply forced to abort her unborn child. The abortion advocates want us to think that this is why most women choose to kill babies who are often mature enough to survive outside of the womb.

This is, of course, blatantly false. Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute has owned up to that, finding that only about 2% of late-term abortions are due to some kind of fetal anomaly or abnormality. Most of the time, late-term abortions are performed for the same reasons earlier abortions are performed: convenience. The women don’t want a baby, and so they have an abortion.

But that won’t sell the sanctification of late-term abortion and the martyrs who perform them, will it? So the pro-aborts lie.

They need it to seem more palatable to the American public. Most Americans abhor the thought of late-term abortion, and a movie singing the praises of abortionists like LeRoy Carhart isn’t likely to go over well with the general public…unless, of course, they can humanize the process.

They want to sanitize the gruesome realities of late-term abortion, to make people think that the work these butchers are doing is somehow noble and heroic. That’s why they show the heartbreaking footage of would-be parents grieving the loss of their pregnancies, and the doctors grappling with the work they do.

It’s pro-abortion propaganda, pure and simple. The truth is that the sanctifying of these abortionists is based on nothing more than an epic lie.

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