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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on After Tiller

aftertiller

There are probably not many topics that are more taboo and controversial than abortion.  The arguments for and against terminating pregnancies are so strong, that it is nearly impossible to come to an agreement that would satisfy all parties.  Even more controversial are doctors who perform abortions in the third trimester, since this is the point when the fetus is nearly fully developed.  These types of abortions are particularly despised by anti-abortion activists and in 2009 Dr. George Tiller, one of the only doctors in the U.S. able to perform third term abortions, was murdered while attending church.

After Tiller follows four doctors, Warren Hern, Shelley Sella, Susan Robinson and LeRoy Carhart, who the only ones left in the U.S. with the ability to perform third term abortions.  The film attempts to objectively give the reasons why they do what they do and how they persevere, despite constant protests and death threats by religious extremists, who consider abortion to be an extremely evil act that must be punished.

After Tiller is an extremely hard film to watch, especially if you are like me and somewhat divided on the abortion topic.  Many scenes of the film has the doctors talking to patients, whose identities were hidden, and many of the reasons for abortions had me squirming in my seat.  Yes, there were some reasons for abortion I found justifying, such as a girl who became pregnant after being raped.  However, there are many other reasons, especially for third trimester abortions, which I couldn’t morally agree with, such as having an abortion because the baby was going to be born mentally disabled or the parents simply couldn’t afford to raise the child.  If anything, watching After Tiller made me realize that the abortion debate doesn’t have a simple “for” or “against” answer to it.

I guess that’s the whole point of the Pro-Choice movement.  Even if someone has issues with abortions, they should still respect the choices of the women who have them.  As stated in the film, no one wants to have an abortion, but sometimes that is the best course for them to take.  Even the doctors in the film are shown to be highly conflicted and affected by their work.  One of the doctors even admits that third-term abortions almost sound barbaric to some people, since it actually involves inducing labour and delivering a stillborn baby.  It is also stated that, unless you understand what the woman is going through, there is no way you can accept these types of abortions.

Even though I do consider myself highly conflicted about abortions, I also do not condone the actions of the religious extremists, who I try to make these doctor’s lives hell.  I’m a religious person, but I would never use my faith to justify terrible acts.  The assassination of George Tiller is just one of the terrorism-level attacks against these doctors.  Yes, abortion is not a topic that everybody agrees with, but it does not give people reasons to burn down stables or shoot at people.

I would have to say that After Tiller tries its best to be an objective documentary and I would say that your response to the film will likely be based on where you stand on the abortion debate.  Even though much of this film made me personally feel uneasy, I do understand that the subject of abortion is a complicated matter and there is no simple black and white answer to this debate.  There will probably always be women who want to have abortions, so there should be doctors who are willing to perform them, without having to fear for their lives.

10 | LOVED IT  

(Due to the highly controversial subject matter, I am disabling comments for this review)

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).