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Sundance doc sheds light on 3rd-trimester abortion

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 23, 2013 at 11:02 am •  Published: January 23, 2013

The film shares the stories of several patients undergoing third-trimester abortions. Most elected to have the procedure after learning of severe fetal anomalies that would prevent their babies from living healthy lives. In such cases, the pregnancies were planned and the parents hold funerals for their stillborn infants.

One young patient, a college student, was raped and in denial about her pregnancy for months. Another spent several months saving up for an abortion, and by the time she had the money, she was more than 28 weeks pregnant.

The film shows how women often ponder their decision "for days, for weeks, some of them for months trying to get help and not being able to find it," said Carhart, a Vietnam veteran who has been providing abortions since the late 1980s.

The film also includes the protesters who regularly march and chant outside these doctors' offices and offers their arguments against the procedure. The film itself has drawn no protesters in Park City.

"Abortion is not a public policy," Carhart said. "(Opponents) are using abortion for political purpose, and it's not for the betterment of the people in this country."

Shane and Wilson said they hope their film humanizes the doctors and offers a sense of "the wide-ranging circumstances" that motivate women to choose third-trimester abortions. It has not yet been acquired for distribution.

Wilson said viewers opposed to abortion might be "really surprised about some of these people's circumstances, especially fetal-anomaly patients, and really have to think, 'Should we be having these blanket laws applying to everyone?'"

Robinson hopes the film makes abortion easier to understand and accept — and ultimately guarantees its accessibility.

"I hope that it will make it clear to viewers that this is a very complex topic and women consider these issues very deeply," she said. "I hope that it will help de-stigmatize the whole issue of abortion so that it's a little less cloaked in secrecy and shame. It needs to stay legal. It needs to stay safe and it needs to come out of the shadows."


AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: