Bozell Column: The Abortionist Saints of Sundance

Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival featured a documentary celebrating four “amazing” abortionists who evacuate wombs in the third trimester of pregnancy. The critics in attendance loved it. The Philadelphia Inquirer boasted it drew “two standing ovations -- one for the doctors.”

Sundance attendees in Utah were greeted by police and armed sheriffs in green jumpsuits that made a show of force outside the the theater. They had to have their bags searched and were inspected with hand-held metal detectors. After the movie was shown, two police officers stood at the front of the auditorium as the directors and the four abortionists featured in the film answered audience questions.

The message was clear: pro-lifers are dangerous.

The film’s name is “After Tiller,” as in late-term abortionist George Tiller, shot to death in 2009 inside his Lutheran church on a Sunday in Kansas. The film-makers are two deluded women in their twenties, Martha Shane and Lana Wilson. They claim this film is non-political, that it’s calm in tone.

“Our agenda is not political, but humanist,” they declared in a statement. “The nation’s shouting match over abortion has become increasingly distanced from the real-life situations and decisions faced by those people most intimately involved,” and so they aspired to “shed more light, rather than more heat” on the issue.

“Those people most intimately involved” in an abortion are the ones aborted. For them, there is no shouting match. They have no voice.

As for the film’s tone, consider this quote: “We’re 40 years after Roe v. Wade, and the women in America are in worse shape than they were 40 years ago. Their rights are being trampled in the street.” This quote came from abortionist and activist LeRoy Carhart in the film. This was the line singled out by Marlow Stern as he began his promotional article for The Daily Beast.

A trailer for the documentary shows there’s more venom where that came from. After Tiller was shot, Carhart said “There were no other thoughts in my mind but to carry out the mission.” But in Kansas, said Carhart, “The Republican Party said I was an abomination and should be driven from the state.” He demonized the pro-life movement: “You don’t give in to terrorists because it only gets worse.” 

The film also stars Dr. Warren Hern, who is perpetually bombastic and coarse. He says in the trailer, “When I walk out the front door, I expect to be assassinated.” The Daily Beast put this Hern quote in large type: “When abortion doctors are assassinated, the political right has celebrated those assassinations. It’s a very serious and dark matter in American society.”

This is a flagrant, shameless lie. Not one serious pro-life group on the political right has done that.

The filmmakers say they want to “shed light” and not have a “shouting match” in a debate that’s “extremely polarized,” and they hope Americans would “evaluate their positions in a more honest, thoughtful, and complicated way.” But they’re just the latest in a long line of extremely polarizing leftist propagandists, angrily blurring the truth.

Shane and Wilson claimed the media’s coverage of Tiller’s death was too balanced and  incomplete. The media incorrectly called Tiller “controversial” and “got talking points from the both sides of the issue and ended it there.” More distortions. In fact, Tiller news stories often omitted or sidelined the pro-lifers’ horror, and celebrated the abortionist just as these people do.

When asked how they got the two female abortionists in the film to talk, Shane and Wilson  admitted their two subjects first granted interviews to Rachel Maddow for her MSNBC special “The Assassination of Dr. Tiller.” They failed to acknowledge other in-depth celebrations of Drs. Carhart and Hern, like the very one-sided half-hour on the prime-time PBS program “Now” just weeks after Tiller’s death.

Leftists warn of “anti-choice extremists,” but see nothing extreme in killing a perfectly viable baby in the last weeks of pregnancy, which even most “pro-choice” people refuse to support. Shane thinks these abortionists of last resort are some of America’s greatest doctors. They “provide amazing care by any standard” and “they’re unbelievably good listeners. This should be a model for all medical care in this country.” Then Wilson claimed they made a movie that does “not tell people what to think.”

The Catholic League’s indefatigable Bill Donohue sums it up brilliantly: “‘After Tiller’ tries to put a human face on an inhuman practice, and it fails. Here’s the proof: the film never shows the patients’ faces, though permission was granted.”

Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center