July 25, 2019
While Hollywood tiptoes around China for approval on various projects, there is one area they should both agree on: abortion. The infamous one-child regime, which has an increasingly powerful seat at America's entertainment table, won't be the least bit offended by Tinseltown's latest mandate -- scenes about ending pregnancies with characters who are proud of it.
The shift started, the New York Times believes, when a women's rights lawyer held court with a group of Hollywood bigwigs and insisted that promoting abortion should be a more prominent storyline. "The stories on abortion do not match our reality," she said. Nor, she went on, were there enough of them. Now that legal infanticide is the rallying cry of the Democratic party, the industry has slowly started heeding the call to glorify one of the most devastating decisions a woman can make.
"You're definitely seeing more of the matter-of-fact 'I am pregnant, I don't want to be, I'm going to have an abortion,'" sociologist Gretchen Sisson told the Times. Her work, which includes "tracking how abortion is characterized onscreen," has taken an interesting turn since last year, she explains. The number of characters who are talking about or pursing these procedures -- "unapologetically," as they call it -- keeps growing. "And it's gone way up in 2019."
"These portrayals," the Times points out, "...are a marked departure from how abortion was depicted, or not, in story lines from the '80s through the early aughts. Characters facing unplanned pregnancies then usually agonized about what to do or, if the show was set in the past, weighed back-alley procedures. Babies were often carried to term or lost to miscarriage. Terminations led to psychological or physical problems or death. It's not that today's characters come to their decisions without deliberation, but that they are decisive and forthright..."
Of course, it's not like most people expected Hollywood to give the realities of abortion a fair shake. As the writer of Abby Johnson's story Unplanned pointed out, "Hollywood's run by the Left. You won't see pro-life stories on TV." Pro-life stories aside, most Americans would just be happy to see an accurate portrayal of their turmoil and regret. To treat abortion as a simple outpatient procedure -- without trauma and pain -- is a disservice to viewers and a misrepresentation of what thousands of mothers experience.
Lost in this rush to normalize abortion are the deeply personal stories of women trying to cope. In powerful studies about the lifelong consequences, women who've had abortions talk openly about their regrets. What may surprise you is that the grief doesn't take sides. It haunts women on both sides of the political debate. According to CareNet, who points to a lot of data about the turmoil mothers experience for years after their procedure. Dr. Priscilla Coleman published a scholarly report that found "women who had undergone abortion experienced an 81 percent increased risk of mental health problems."
In FRC's "Top 10 Myths about Abortion," Dr. Ingrid Skop talks at length about the lie that this procedure has made women's lives better. She quotes Frederic Mathewes-Green, a pro-life feminist, who says no woman looks at this "choice" unemotionally. "...[T]he question remains, do women want abortion? Not like she wants a Porsche or an ice cream cone. Like an animal caught in a trap, trying to gnaw off its own leg, a woman who seeks abortion is trying to escape a desperate situation by an act of violence and self-loss. Abortion," she warns, "is not a sign that women are free, but a sign that they are desperate."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.