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ITV Viewers Left 'Heartbroken' By Doc On Anti-Abortion Protesters

ITV Viewers Left 'Heartbroken' By Doc On Anti-Abortion Protesters

Last night, ITV aired its harrowing new documentary, America's War on Abortion, which delved into the reality of anti-abortion protesting in the States.

Abortion is one of the most divisive political issues in America, and in the doc - which is set in Alabama - filmmaker Deeyah Khan takes a look at the horrific abuse women face on a daily basis, when choosing to have a termination.

Viewers have described the heartbreaking doc as a harrowing and devastating watch - you can see a clip below:

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It also hears from staff at abortion clinics who have suffered violence and death threats in their work. This includes volunteers, who believe in a woman's right to choose, and are recruited to shield the women as they are entering the clinic.

When asked about her work, one volunteer named Josephine, explained: "[I do this] for the women who come here who don't deserve to be treated that way.

"Somebody needs to be here for them and to let them know it's OK - you have the right to make this decision. We all need support sometimes."

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Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of the Trust Women's Centre in Kansas, revealed to Deeyah that she had once been "dragged out of her car and beaten to a bloody pulp" by anti-abortion protesters.

The building she works in has been flooded, bombed and now has a limited number of high windows due to the threat of snipers.

The volunteers accompany the women into the clinic (Credit: ITV)
The volunteers accompany the women into the clinic (Credit: ITV)

The documentary also hears from pregnant women who have suffered horrendous abuse outside the clinics - at a time when they are facing one of the most difficult decisions of their lives.

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One woman, who is 20 weeks pregnant, has been told her baby has a number of major health disorders and is unlikely to survive. In what is one of the worst days of her life, the last thing she needs is to face a torrent of abuse outside the clinic.

But the investigation also looks at how - under President Trump - almost all abortions could become illegal in America.

At present, in Alabama there are only three abortion clinics (down from 20, two decades ago). As well as the protesters, laws within the state are piling on the pressure for women.

Patients have to attend two appointments - spaced out by 48 hours - before the termination can go ahead. They also have an extra ultrasound, and have to be asked if they want to see the foetus.

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Filmmaker Deeyah Khan was also verbally abused (Credit: ITV)
Filmmaker Deeyah Khan was also verbally abused (Credit: ITV)
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Many women have to travel hours to get to one of the three clinics and - along with the increasing cost of abortion - it can be incredibly difficult.

One woman named Alex - whose pregnancy is a result of a rape by two men - had to wait until 20 weeks because she was unable to pay for it.

In the doc, Deeyah also speaks to the anti-abortion protesters herself, who greet her with racist and sexist abuse.

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Viewers were utterly shocked at the documentary, with one tweeting: "Watching America's War on Abortion and I'm disgusted.

"The racist/sexist slurs being 'preached' by the pro-life protesters are vile. Threatening to rape someone is not okay, telling someone they're worse than a child molester for making a choice about their own body is not okay."

While another said: "Started watching Exposure: America's War on Abortion after the news. I've had to set it into record because it's making me so angry and I can't go to bed angry otherwise it takes me ages to get to sleep."

"Watching America's War on Abortion.... these poor women are already putting themselves through hell, the protestors should hang their heads in shame, they are disgusting!!" Another wrote.



Meanwhile one added: "If you are in the UK, I urge you to watch - America's War on Abortion tonight on ITV at 10:45PM it's an incredible piece of work and takes an issue that has been so politicised and gives women the chance to reclaim their voice and tell their own stories."

"#Exposure: America's War on #Abortion on ITV right now - a great insight into the pro choice/life debate. Honestly heartbreaking & upsetting to see what women have to go through because of the actions of despicable protestors when making such a difficult decision," tweeted another viewer.

You can catch up on the documentary over on ITV Hub now.

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: TV News, ITV

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Lucy Devine

Lucy is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, she has worked in both print and online and is particularly interested in fashion, food, health and women's issues. Northerner, coffee addict, says hun a lot. Get in touch at [email protected]