PBS recently aired “After Tiller,” a documentary that lauds doctors in the United States who openly perform late-term abortions.
The film leaves out essential facts, falsely stereotypes the pro-life movement, and disingenuously sanitizes the practice of partial birth abortion. It has nevertheless won the Candescent Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and has been written about in glowing terms by numerous mainstream movie critics, which resulted in its obtaining of an extremely positive 94 percent rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
A. O. Scott of The New York Times acknowledged that the film is “a partisan document in the culture wars.” The movie critic gave it a positive review nonetheless, opining that the documentary is “impressive because it honestly presents the views of supporters of legal abortion, and is thus a valuable contribution to a public argument that is unlikely to end anytime soon.”
Alissa Simon, reporting from Sundance for Variety, flung superlatives at the film, referring to it as a “rare feat” and framing it as “a calm, humanist documentary about a hot-button topic.” With regard to the content, Simon further stated, “Well contextualized and sensitively shot with extraordinary access, the pic reflects the personal, moral and ethical struggles of the doctors as well as their patients, and deserves the widest possible audience.”
The New York Post’s Sara Steward heralded the film as being “groundbreaking in giving voice not only to the doctors, but to those who always seem to get overlooked in the high-volume political debate about this topic: the women themselves.”
Ann Hornaday via The Washington Post surmised that the movie “does viewers the great service of providing light where there’s usually only heat, giving a human face and heart to what previously might have been an abstract issue or quickly scanned news item.”
Christy Lemire, who writes for the website named for the late Roger Ebert, was wowed by the willingness of those involved in the film project to take on “the politically divisive, emotionally charged issue of late-term abortions and portray it with grace, understatement and humanity.”
Dorothy J. Samuels of The New York Times Editorial Page placed a favorable post on the newspaper's website, praising the documentary for having, in her assessment, taken “a complicated subject beyond the familiar muck of abstract and often ill-informed talking points to deliver a frank portrayal of the real life situations of the physicians and their desperate patients.”
While most members of the film critic community have nothing but praise for the documentary, listed below are some important facts about the film that need to be brought out and some salient points that should be considered in an overall discussion:
- The movie received most of its financing from pro-abortion groups that include the likes of Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
- During a procedure that is lionized in the film, a human being, which has completed a significant portion of his or her development within the uterus, suffers partial extraction with the exception of the head. The infant is then killed, while still partially inside the mother’s body, via penetration of the baby’s skull with an instrument. The contents of the skull are subsequently suctioned out, the remaining step in the procedure being the removal of the dead remains of the baby.
- The physicians who are profiled in the film, Drs. LeRoy Carhart, Warren Hern, Shelley Sella, and Susan Robinson, receive huge sums of money for engaging in the life terminating activity. A price sheet from one of the clinics briefly appears in the film. The sum of $30,000 is listed for a single late-term abortion procedure.
- The attitudes of abortionists who are featured in the film have been revealed in various off-screen circumstances and are quite shocking in their callous nature. Dr. Carhart was recorded in an audio by Live Action, referring to his abortion victims as “meat in a crock pot.” Dr. Hern, in a paper written for the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians, indicated that during the procedure “the sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.” Dr. Sella was accused by a former clinic worker of intentionally killing a baby who was born alive following a failed abortion.
- There is no discussion in the film of babies who are born alive and are then abruptly killed, and no mention of the notorious partial birth abortion specialist from Philadelphia, who is now serving multiple life sentences for the murder of infants post-delivery.
Perhaps in the name of fairness PBS might consider airing an upcoming documentary by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney. The two filmmakers were able to raise almost $2.25 million from 26,500 contributors to make a movie about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the partial birth abortionist whose criminal acts had essentially been ignored by authorities and by the mainstream media as well.
The good news amidst the terribly disturbing is that the truth is still alive and well in the alternative media.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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