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'After Tiller': Difficult Decisions for Patients and Doctors

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Friday, Aug 29, 2014
The work of Dr. Susan Robinson forms the focus of Martha Shane and Lana Wilson's intelligent, conscientious documentary, After Tiller, premiering on PBS' POV series on September 1.

“Of course you don’t want an abortion. Nobody wants an abortion.”


Dr. Susan Robinson provides abortions, in particular, for women in their third trimesters who, for any number of reasons, need to end their pregnancies. Robinson is one of four such providers in the US who do this work, work they once did with Dr. George Tiller and work they now continue to do, after his 2009 murder in his church in Wichita. The work, and more importantly, the people who choose to do it, form the focus of Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s intelligent, conscientious documentary, After Tiller, premiering on PBS’ POV series on September 1.
  
In lieu of recent Supreme Court decisions allowing abortion protestors closer proximity to women seeking services and make it more difficult for some women to afford services, the film remains utterly topical. It follows these doctors as they persist and also as they ponder their work, their dedication to their patients, their understanding of their risks. No one wants an abortion, and certainly, no one wants a late term abortion, which is, essentially, a full labor and then delivery of a stillborn baby. As one assistant explains this over the phone in some detail, helping a potential patient to be prepared for what’s coming, you might flinch, but the film does not. After Tiller is clear about what’s at stake for women and for providers, the difficulty of their decisions and also, their sometimes desperate necessity.


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