tl;dr: Tough Topics

Disclaimer: The following post discusses issues regarding late-term abortions.  

While I was an intern at POV last summer, I worked on promoting a film called After Tiller. The film is about the four doctors who are legally and openly performing late-term (third trimester) abortions in the United States. It chronicles their decision to continue in their profession despite the murder of a colleague, Dr. George Tiller (who was killed while attending church in 2009). It’s an uncomfortable film at times, but worthwhile if you’re interested in why a late-term abortion might be requested, and why these doctors continue to risk their lives to help families make painful decisions.



In my opinion, it’s one of the most well made films of POV’s 27th season. But the public disagreed. Something important to know about POV is that it airs on PBS, a government funded television station. So when POV started to publicize the airing of After Tiller, the trolls were unleashed upon the film’s comment section. People were writing hateful vitriol, seething that a publicly funded television show would air any film that dare discuss abortion. Angry commenters threatened to petition PBS to get the film off the air, complaining that their tax dollars shouldn’t be used to fund something they disapproved of.*

But here’s the thing: After Tiller is a film that wants to explore why a woman might choose to have an abortion–from serious birth defects detected during pregnancy, to being financially unable to afford another child. After Tiller seeks to shed some light on this controversial issue; it’s interested in dialogue, not debate. It explores these issues with empathy and compassion, rather than with a political goal in mind. In fact, a colleague of mine at POV expressed that his mother, who is firmly anti-abortion, liked the film and learned a lot from it. I believe strongly that if the world wants fewer women to have abortions, we need to encourage strong sex education programs. And part of a strong sex ed program is talking about tough topics, including abortion rights.

After Tiller is available on Netflix.

I’d also recommend the following resources for more information on discussing tough topics–both of them are great resources to use in a classroom:

Shmoop hosts online courses on every topic imaginable, from Literature to Chemistry. The also have a great rundown on abortion rights, and the link between abortion law and the right to privacy.

ProCon is another great resource for educators. It provides nonpartisan summaries of a variety of controversial topics, including abortion.

*Hey, I’d love to not pay for a lot of things the US government spends our money on. But I do.