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Monday, November 11, 2013

Film Follows Doctors Who Provide Third-Trimester Abortions

(Screenshot from "After Tiller")

Bullet holes in the front window of an abortion doctor’s office. (Screenshot from “After Tiller”)

In May of 2009, Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who openly provided third-trimester abortions, was shot and killed while in church.

Tiller was no stranger to risk: he had been shot before, his clinic was bombed, yet he continued to see patients and perform third-trimester abortions.

After his death, filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson started thinking — what would drive people to put themselves in such danger? So they decided to ask.

It becomes impossible to become judgmental towards these women.

– Martha Shane, filmmaker

Their documentary, “After Tiller,” goes into the lives and clinics of the last four doctors who openly perform third-trimester abortions.

“We came into the film both being pro-choice, but knowing very little about third trimester abortions,” Shane told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. “It was a process of evolving. At first you can have a gut reaction to be judgmental … But when you actually listen to these patients stories, you realize that their lives are so incredibly complicated, and there are so many factors, and they are so desperate, and I think it becomes impossible to become judgmental towards these women.”

Dr. LeRoy Carhart is one of the doctors profiled in “After Tiller.”

The threats against him began almost immediately: his clinic was attacked, his barn set on fire — burning his beloved horses and animals alive – and his family was threatened.

But he continued to practice, even moving to Maryland after the procedure was criminalized in his home state of Nebraska.

“The mild personal price that we pay is nothing compared to the price the women are paying everyday to get the care that they so rightly deserve,” Carhart told Here & Now.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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