My Foetus, a 60-minute documentary shown at 11pm on Britain’s Channel 4, shows footage of a four-week-old fetus being vacuumed from its mother’s womb.
The documentary also shows images of the dismembered remains of 10, 11 and 21-week fetuses, their broken limbs measured by a tape.
Filmmaker Julia Black, 34, who herself had a late-term abortion when she was 21, said she was moved to make the documentary by her own wanted pregnancy later in life.
Channel 4 said it was sensitive to concerns the program might shock, but insisted it was about educating and feeding debate on an issue that has sparked strong emotions across Europe and the US.
From 1996 to 2000, an average of 170,000 abortions were carried out each year in England and Wales, according to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
Anti-abortion activists, who have long used graphic imagery of gruesome abortion procedures as publicity tools, welcomed the film.