A pro-life leader is calling on PBS to cancel an upcoming airing of the documentary that she says offers a sympathetic portrayal of four late-term abortion providers who are carrying on the work of slain abortion doctor George Tiller.
The documentary, entitled “After Tiller,” “is nothing short of pure propaganda intended to demonize the entire pro-life movement and drum up support for late-term abortion,” Judie Brown, president of American Life League, said Wednesday.
Ms. Brown called on PBS to cancel its scheduled Sept. 1 airing of the documentary, saying it was inappropriate for a network funded in part with taxpayer dollars to run such a program.
A spokesperson for the PBS series POV, which is airing “After Tiller” at 10 p.m. EDT Monday, said program officials selected “After Tiller” because “it takes the issue of late abortions and explores the complex moral and ethical questions that the doctors and patients wrestle with prior to every procedure.”
“The personal stories captured in ‘After Tiller’ do not deliver easy answers, yet add another dimension to an intense national debate,” the spokesperson said Wednesday.
POV — which for 27 years has been showing independent documentaries with a “point of view” — called its presentation of “After Tiller” as the film’s “national broadcast premiere.”
Dr. Tiller was well known for his Wichita, Kansas, clinic, and was at one time the nation’s most prominent and outspoken performer of third-trimester abortion services. On May 31, 2009, he was gunned down inside his church by Scott Roeder, an abortion opponent with a history of mental illness. Roeder is serving life in prison, without possibility of parole for 50 years.
Pro-life organizations quickly denounced the murder of Dr. Tiller and other vigilante acts.
“After Tiller” producer/directors Martha Shane and Lana Wilson said they made their film to explore why women seek abortions very late in their pregnancies, and how Drs. LeRoy Carhart, Warren Hern, Susan Robinson and Shelley Sella are working to fill the void left by Dr. Tiller’s murder.
“For all these doctors, the memory of Dr. Tiller remains a constant presence, serving both as an inspiration to persevere and a warning of the risks they take by doing so,” PBS said in its press materials.
The film — which has been shown on Capitol Hill — is also intended to generate interest in medical schools teaching students how to perform abortions, and to build opposition to state-level laws that ban most abortions after 20 weeks gestation.
Outreach partners for the film include NARAL Pro-Choice America, local chapters of Planned Parenthood, Medical Students for Choice and Physicians for Reproductive Choice.
Pro-life supporters said they were appalled that PBS would seek to “humanize” late-term abortions and the doctors who perform them.
“Promoting abortions after viability as a great service? Your taxpayer dollars at work …” wrote Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com.
“How did we go from ‘Barney’ to this?” asked web editor Cortney O’Brien at TownHall.com, referring to the famous purple dinosaur star of the PBS children’s show.