Filmmaker's Unprecedented Look at Abortion Debate

Meet Stacey, a 28-year-old woman who is about to have an abortion. Watch as she fills out preliminary paperwork at the doctor's office, answers questions such as "Are you definite about your decision?" and later watch while doctors actually perform the procedure, in excruciating detail.

Tony Kaye's latest documentary, "Lake of Fire," takes cameras behind the doors of abortion clinics and inside the homes of anti-abortion activists in an effort to document the heated debate over abortion in the U.S.

The movie's raw, unpleasant moments are uncomfortable to watch, whether you're anti-abortion or pro-choice. You can't even escape the graphic nature of the film by sinking into your seat and covering your eyes. Some of the most disturbing parts of the documentary are actually sounds – from the humming and sucking of the machine in the procedure room to the squeals and moans of the women on the table.

And, despite having spent 15 years and millions of his own dollars producing the documentary, which is in limited release, Kaye admitted that even he is still not certain which side he agrees with.

"I'm confused about the whole thing," Kaye told "If you gave me a piece of paper with a pro-life and a pro-choice box, without thought I'd pick the pro-choice box. I think a woman should be able to choose exactly what she does with her [body]. But I still think there's a person being killed, and that's not good."

Audience members' reactions were equally mixed. Many told that they thought the film was a balanced look at the issue, while others insisted it was largely "anti-abortionist" and some even said it was "very liberal."

More than a few viewers said they had to look away during the movie, which one person called "very difficult to watch."

One scene shows a doctor counting the body parts of a just-aborted fetus to ensure no tissue remains inside the woman and another displays a photograph of a bloodied woman who died after performing an abortion on herself using a wire hanger.

The film's graphic nature, Kaye told, was necessary to showing both sides of the argument.

"That's what an abortion is, and it's a film about abortion," said Kaye, who said he found filming the second-term abortion the most difficult. "'Lake of Fire' is a cinematic experience – it's a brutal one, but it's a cinematic experience."

Despite Kaye's interviews with anti-abortion activists like Randall Terry, who founded Operation Rescue, a movement that organizes protests outside abortion clinics, as well as high-profile abortion-rights professors, activists told that finding a common ground is unlikely.

Abortion Debate Rages On

"This was not a balanced portrayal of the issue," said Carol King, former National Organization for Women board member and abortion-rights activist, who has seen the documentary. "One of the things that has upset me more than anything else is the [comparison] of the anti-choice extremists to pro-choice activists. I have never encouraged in any way to kill people with whom I disagree."

The killing of abortion doctors by anti-abortion advocates — to which King is referring — is documented throughout the film, focusing largely on the 1993 killing of abortion doctor David Gunn.

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