NRL News

The plaudits pour in from film critics for “After Tiller”

by | Nov 1, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Abortionist Susan Robinson

Abortionist Susan Robinson

“After Tiller” is a documentary we’ve written about several times before. The work of two young film makers, it is an unabashed attempt to convert the popular understanding of abortionists who kill babies in the third trimester from moral monsters into nothing short of heroes.

As The Village Voice put it in its gushing review, “Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s wrenching, humane film is as convincing a brief as I can imagine in favor of that most controversial of all pregnancy-terminating procedures: third-trimester abortions, which today are performed by only four American doctors.”

But what is most “wrenching” about the reviews is how they handle what goes on in the abortion clinics of these four acolytes of the late abortionist George Tiller, who was killed in 2009. (Note: these are the last four to OPENLY admit they perform third trimester abortion. There are no doubt more.)

"After Tiller" filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson.

“After Tiller” filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson.

To end the week, I’m going to discuss the review penned by the Washington Post’s lead film critic, Ann Hornaday. To put her remarkable comments in context, we should take a moment to look back at what we’ve already learned about the documentary and the four abortionists.

Over the last several months abortionist Susan Robinson has given the most interviews. As we’ve pointed out in the past, every time she does, Robinson inadvertently scrapes away more of the mythology that surrounds what they are doing to babies who have long since passed viability.

For example, in “Abortionist Susan Robinson says ‘other doctors look down on you and think of you as like the lowest of the low,’” we learned that Robinson offered a bevy of extenuating circumstances—excuses—to get around the simple truth that she will abort some unspecified percentage of huge, mature babies for reasons most people would not believe are commensurate with the gravity of killing a viable unborn baby.

In “Abortionist Susan Robinson and snapping third-trimester photos in ‘a grotesquely morbid way,’” we learned that Robinson did not know about the long list of parents ready to adopt children with Down syndrome AND that, “I think that the public perceives first of all that late abortion could be completely eliminated if people would only get their act together and have their abortions earlier, which is completely untrue.”

And in “In justifying abortions over 30 weeks, abortionist Susan Robinson continues to inadvertently reveal the truth,”, we learned all kinds of things. To name just one, how loose are the criteria for aborting these babies?

According to Caitriona Palmer, “Many others who come to Robinson are carrying fetuses destined to be too ill or disabled to live productive lives outside of the womb.”

By “productive lives,” you know Robinson is talking about babies with Down syndrome and babies with maladies that are not fatal.

If you read Hornaday’s review, you’d come away thinking “After Tiller” puts “Citizen Kane” to shame. Get this hyperbolic opening:

“’After Tiller,’ a lucid, even-tempered portrait of physicians who perform late-term abortions, exemplifies the crucial role documentaries have come to play in civic discourse, which is so often whipped into partisan fury and emotionalism. In between straight-up journalism and op-ed histrionics, nonfiction narrative films — when done as well as this one — fill in the spaces between the facts with human stories that have the power to change the way viewers think about an agonizing personal and political issue.”

Nothing in the many, many Hornaday reviews I’ve read over the years would lead me (or anyone else) to believe she would need a “non-fiction narrative film” to reach her predictably sympathetic conclusions. She was already in their camp. This documentary is like catnip to Hornaday.

To Hornaday, these abortionists, who we are led to believe almost stumbled by accident into the grisliest business imaginable, have emerged “thoughtful and dedicated.” But that’s just the early plaudits.

As is always the case, we’re instructed that those who protest such abortions know not of what they speak. They have “no idea of the compassion, moral inquiry and deep caring that is going on inside.”

No, I did not make that up. That’s Hornaday at her gushiest.

But to be fair to Hornaday after giving us the standard line–that “More often than not, the reasons for a late-term abortion are medical, having to do with fetal abnormalities that would mean a short, painful life for the baby after delivery”—she writes, “But eventually, ‘After Tiller’ gets around to the much gnarlier ethical questions of women who, for whatever reason, have simply put off their decisions, circumstances that the physicians and their staff members grapple with openly and thoughtfully.”

“Gnarlier”? How about grotesque?

And what does it say that the date for the review is October 31—Halloween?

How about fitting?

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Categories: pro-abortion