Carol Platt Liebau: Abortion in the Movies

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Abortion in the Movies

From this piece in The New York Times, it seems that some on the left are more than a little upset that abortion isn't presented as a viable (no pun intended) alternative to an unwanted pregnancy in popular culture.

The jumping off point the piece uses is the new, crudely named movie "Knocked Up." Strangely -- from the author's perspective -- when a "career woman" becomes pregnant as a result of a voluntary one-night stand, just as she's on the verge of becoming a news anchor, she doesn't ever consider killing the new life she created. From the piece:

[A]n executive with a Hollywood film production company who spoke on condition of anonymity, unauthorized to speak for the company, noted that the film industry has other tough questions to worry about aside from commercial considerations.

“At a time when women’s reproductive freedom is under attack in the courts, why wouldn’t it come up as part of the conversation?” the executive said. “Are you making a statement by assiduously avoiding the discussion?”

Actually, they're not. Here's what's really going on. Pro-choicers have managed to maintain as much public support for abortion as there is because it's always discussed in terms of women who are poor, desperate and -- we're told -- without any other alternative. But if the pregnant woman in "Knocked Up" had gotten an abortion, it would have been because having a baby at the point would have been inconvenient, what with her new career and the fact that she's been charged with losing 20 pounds before taking over as anchor.

In order to maintain support for legal abortion upon demand in the first trimester, pro-choicers have tried to convince Americans that every woman views abortion only as an incredibly heartrending "choice" she's forced to make in only the direst circumstances. Thus, pro-choicers must avoid any story lines or situations where viewers could conclude that abortion isn't always a matter of women being poor, desperate, abused, raped, the victim of incest, subject to a life threatening condition, or confronted with a severely malformed unborn child.

They understand enough to know that normal Americans will view with repugnance abortion being used as a convenient out for those who -- like the woman in "Knocked Up" -- just got carried away and are reluctant to accept responsibility for the consequences. Seeing an unconcerned or matter of fact attitude about abortion in such circumstances, they rightly understand, will undermine support for abortion rights as a whole.

That's why abortion isn't presented as an alternative in any but the gravest situations -- and why we don't see more of it in the movies.


Blogger stackja1945 said...

Why does the left want to kill an untried and unconvicted person? Help the mother and baby. If the mother is unable to care for the baby there is fostering. Very old-fashioned.

8:24 PM  

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