‘After Tiller’ Made Me Grateful I Had The Option To Abort My Own Doomed Pregnancy

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Despite that the women in “After Tilller” are all anonymous, you can see their hands and bodies. You can see their fidgeting, anxiety and hand wringing. All of them are obviously reluctant, but seem to understand that what they are doing is best for their babies and their families. The doctors are stoic but supportive; offering tissues and words of encouragement. I find it striking that Dr. Sellas gave one grieving mom very similar advice to what my doctor told me when people about the pregnancy :

“The baby was sick. We went for testing. The baby didn’t make it. It’s hard for me to talk about it right now.”

So much of these women’s experiences are similar to mine, though ultimately the decision was not mine to make as it is with these moms. The exchanges between these women and their doctors are moving and gut wrenching and I found this inside glance into this oft maligned and rarely spoken about decision making process fascinating and heartbreaking. The loss these women experienced is no different than mine. No one wants to get an abortion, as we see Sellas say in the film. Sometimes it’s just the best and most humane decision one can make. Which makes the legality of third-term abortions vital.

There is another story of child-loss making the rounds on the internet this week. I’m sure many of you have seen the touching post by blogger Jessica Nelles. She speaks about her previous stillbirth and child loss in simple sentences, each beginning with the phrase “I am strong because…” She then goes on to talk about her living daughter, who she calls (as many so-called “baby loss mamas” call their living children) her “rainbow baby,” because she is the “rainbow that came after the storm.”  It quickly became viral, and in the comments on the various sites where it’s been posted, there is a plethora of support. Not just of her strength and perseverance, but because of her decision to continue her pregnancy after her second son’s possibly grim prognosis.

What struck me is the lack of support for women who choose the opposite. Women who choose to continue pregnancies that yield stillborn babies or babies that will live only a few hours and have a low quality of life are lauded as saints, whereas women who choose to terminate these troubled pregnancies get death threats. There is no middle ground, it seems.

“After Tiller” didn’t focus on the political but instead this highly personal aspect, which I think might be the best way to discuss the issue.

I am very relieved that I didn’t have to make this decision. It wasn’t an easy one for the women in the film to make, and I can’t imagine that it would have been easier for me. I think the most vital thing to keep in mind is the phrase that kept coming up after Dr. Tiller’s murder; Trust Women. Beyond the religious aspects (which, in my opinion, shouldn’t be a consideration when it comes to legislature) and the political, these are women’s lives we’re talking about. It’s their families and THEIR babies they are losing. We need to leave the decision up to them and the doctors they trust to help them.


Here come the trolls! I think this charmer created a Twitter account just for me! I guess I should be honored.



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