A few thoughts on “After Tiller”

By now, you may have heard that PBS will be showing a film tonight entitled “After Tiller” as an installment in their POV series. This film has received numerous accolades from abortion rights supporters across the country. In this film four abortionists are interviewed, and we are supposed to admire their “courage” for being willing to perform abortions after 24 weeks gestation. The “courage” is there, in part, due to fear of being “assassinated,” yet they go on doing their “work.” Many pro-life people have described this as an attempt to “humanize” these abortion providers.

But I don’t need to humanize them. I know they…Leroy Carhart, Warren Hern, Susan Robinson, and Shelley Sella…are human. But they are humans committing very grave sin, namely, killing other humans who happen to be unborn. I think of this verse from the book of the Prophet Isaiah often (5:20)

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who change darkness into light and light into darkness, who change bitter into sweet and sweet into bitter!”

I despise abortion in all its forms: medical, surgical, early, late, for health reasons, for monetary reasons, etc. etc. etc. I despise abortion because it destroys the life of a tiny and innocent human being who has no say in the matter. While watching the trailer for “After Tiller,” I heard physicians speak with words which, in other contexts, might be thought of as compassionate. One mother, whose identity is concealed, speaks through tears. She says there is “guilt” no matter what she chooses: if she has the abortion or if she gives birth to a child who will have “no quality of life.”

No quality of life? This phrase is tossed around so easily…too easily. What does it even mean? A child who may need to be in a wheelchair for life? A child who may need to wear diapers and use a feeding tube? These are difficult situations, to be sure, but we should not assume individuals with these issues have “no quality of life.” Many people with disabilities not only experience great joy, but also bring great joy to others. I believe that every human life is made in the likeness and image of God, and so every life must be protected. These 2 verses from Psalm 139 are etched in my heart and mind.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Now many reading this probably agree on that point when it comes to innocent unborn babies? But what about the doctors who abort them?

This film was made to tell the story of these doctors who continue doing late-term abortions even after their colleague George Tiller was shot and killed while sitting in church on a Sunday morning. I remember hearing about that shooting. I was shocked and sickened. As the Executive Director of a prolife ministry, I issued a press release condemning the killing, as did every respectable prolife leader and group in our country. We spoke in solidarity, stating that killing an abortionist is NOT “prolife.” At the time of the shooting, Dr. Tiller was under investigation. Instead of being brought to justice, he became a martyr for the abortion cause. His killing did not deter, but instead emboldened the other doctors. This film shows their determination to continue slaughtering children in the name of “choice.”

But these doctors’ souls are not lost forever. At least, they don’t have to be.

Many well known prolife advocates were once in favor of legalized abortions and were involved with its promotion. Carol Everett owned abortion clinics in Texas… Abby Johnson was the Executive Director of a Planned Parenthood and converted less than 5 years ago. Even Dr. Bernard Nathanson who was co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL; later known as the National Abortion Rights Action League, and now NARAL – Pro Choice America) became prolife and eventually converted to Catholicism before he died! Imagine how the angels sang!!

The stories of conversions should give us hope! As a follower of Christ, I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for every sin, including the sin of abortion! For years, ministries have been in place to help post-abortion women experience God’s mercy and healing. We must also pray that these abortionists have complete and radical conversions. Jesus tells us to love and pray for our enemies. This is not an easy commandment, but it is an essential one. I used to pray for a particular doctor every day, but I admit I have stopped doing it regularly. This film reminds me that I must commit to that prayer again. If you would like to support former abortion clinic workers and pray for their healing, consider supporting Abby Johnson’s ministry And Then There Were None.

I could go on, I suppose. But my main hope is to remind myself and anyone who reads this that these doctors, towards whom we could easily feel hatred and anger, need our prayers. I am not saying I feel sorry for them. Their “work” is not compassionate, let alone needed. I want their businesses regulated, then made illegal…the sooner the better. But no matter what happens with laws and regulations, I believe they need a major spiritual awakening. St. Paul tells us in Romans 5:20

“…but where sin increased, grace abounded the more…”

Will I watch “After Tiller?” Not tonight. But I do intend to watch it later when I can pause it and take breaks and pray. I believe it will be hard to watch, but we have to be aware of what the opposition believes and puts out there. I also believe that PBS, which is funded in part by tax dollars, should show a film with a prolife view (or at least both views.) If I can comment on this film, perhaps my request to the local PBS station will garner more support.  I signed this petition, and encourage you to do the same, as it encourages PBS to show the film “40.”

Whether you decide to watch or not, please pray for everyone involved in the abortion industry. The doctors and nurses, the receptionists who make the appointments. The staff who have to clean up the procedure room and equipment. The legislators and politicians who fight to keep abortion legal and barely regulated. Pray…without ceasing. It is not the least, but the best thing we can do.

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