American Life League, an anti-choice group that opposes abortion under any circumstance and opposes all forms of contraception, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia (as well as masturbation), is demanding PBS cancel its Labor Day showing of “After Tiller.”
The group says that isn’t isn’t fair that the movie “humanizes” its very human doctors, who work with very human women who need to terminate pregnancies on a daily basis. “Would PBS ever run a puff piece that was funded by the KKK in order to sanitize and normalize racism?” said Judie Brown, president of American Life League. “Shame on PBS! This has no business airing on a publicly funded network.”
In fact, the documentary isn’t a “puff piece” — it’s a documentary on George Tiller and the aftermath of his death. (And, although it’s needless to say, doctors who perform life-saving surgeries are a far cry from hooded cross-burners.) Dr. Tiller was a physician from Wichita, Kansas who gained national attention (and became a target for violent anti-choice groups) as the medical director of Women’s Health Care Services, one of only three clinics nationwide to provide late-term abortions at the time. After his clinic was firebombed in 1986, Tiller was shot in both arms by anti-abortion activist Shelley Shannon in 1993. On May 31, 2009, Tiller was murdered by anti-abortion “activist” Scott Roeder, shot in the head during Sunday morning service at his church in Wichita.
Made in 2013, the documentary film directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson follows the only four remaining doctors in the United States who openly perform late-term abortions.
“‘After Tiller’ is nothing short of pure propaganda intended to demonize the entire pro-life movement and drum up support for late-term abortion,” Brown says, even though technically, the documentary is a tour through the daily lives of abortion doctors.
American Life League is a group that loves to spend its time in the limelight, manufacturing controversy around ordinary, healthy human sexuality. So of course they don’t want anyone to think that doctors who perform life-saving abortions are human. In fact, it’s pretty easy to go from human to hated in the eyes of the group — Sam Brownback, who has long identified with the pro-life movement, was disavowed by the anti-choice group for merely congratulating Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on her nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Just last year, the group led a campaign against Planned Parenthood, claiming that, because it’s mentioned in It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health, Planned Parenthood seeks to turn children into “sex addicts” through the “gateway drug” of masturbation. (American Life League believes that masturbation is a sin and apparently believes that masturbation is not normal. But don’t worry, that’s not based on science, just religious dogma like most of their beliefs.)
So as far as “prolife” groups go — American Life League is the one that’s extreme.
The hundreds of people who worked on the documentary are all very human, and the doctors are not only human, but often heroes to families forced to make a desperate choice no family wants to make. And that’s exactly why anti-choice groups like the American Life League really don’t want you to see it…
You can watch After Tiller starting September 1, 2014 on your local PBS station. It will be available to stream online from September 2nd to October 1st.
Some pro-choicers are commenting on the site to show support for airing the movie. If you have a DISQUS account, why not make your voice heard? You can show PBS your support here.