I don’t want to get into it too much here, because I’ve already discussed the situation at length, but a couple of years ago, when my wife and I sat down with a specialist with monoamniotic twins, we were basically told that the odds were not particularly good, and that there was a real possibility that either one or both of the twins would die in utero. That, as difficult as it might have been, we could accept. What we could not, however, was the other possibility: That one fetus died, thus severely endangering the quality of life of the other: The scenarios were grim: Brain damage, blindness, mental retardation, stillbirth, etc.
“What do we do if that happens? If we know that the outcome won’t be a favorable one for the surviving baby, our oldest, and our family? Is it possible to terminate?”
“Yes,” he said. “In Florida or Colorado. There used to be a doctor who would perform them in Kansas, but he was shot and killed.”
That terrible scenario haunted us for months, the thought that we’d lose one child, and then have to jump on a plane and fly to Colorado to terminate the other. Because that’s the thing with third-trimester abortions. It doesn’t matter how pro-choice you are, no one would EVER make the decision to have one unless the only other options were worse. Women don’t just decide at 25 weeks, oh hey! I changed my mind. I don’t want this baby after all. Let’s fly 2,000 miles and have a gruesome procedure performed that will probably traumatize us for the rest of our lives!”
The only scenarios in which someone would choose to have a third-trimester abortion is if the mother’s life were endangered, or unless you believe that termination is better than the other scenario: A baby that will suffer for the rest of its life. To me, that’s a fucking cruel thing to inflict on something you love, and the doctors who are still around to perform these abortions — all four of them — are goddamn heroes because they risk their lives every goddamn day to spare some suffering for others (there will still be plenty of suffering).
That is what the documentary, After Tiller is about: The remaining four doctors still performing this procedure in the wake of the death of their mentor, Dr. Tiller, whose clinic was firebombed in 1986, who was shot in both arms in 1993, and who was shot through the eye and killed in his church in 2009.
Why? Because he provided mercy.
Here’s the trailer. After Tiller opens this fall.
(via The Daily Beast)