I'm struck by how television is all about women keeping their pregnancies these days. I can't remember the last time someone on prime time TV seriously considered having an abortion. On the OC, not only did Anna not seem to consider an abortion, the writers veered away even from the story of her "losing the baby."
Partly, I imagine, this is because it's not exactly "entertaining" to contemplate terminating a potential life, to say the least, and TV is primarily about entertainment. On a medical level, you may be talking about a blastocyst, but on a story level, you are talking about a baby.
Also, to choose between keeping or terminating a pregnancy is to choose between an immediate
sad thing, and the mother eventually
having a miserable life. TV is all about the now.
But I think the Christian right has successfully changed the zeitgeist. They've convinced the so-called liberal media that a pregnancy is
the same thing as a baby, leaving pro-choice screenwriters in the awkward position of having to justify killing a baby. Instead, Murphy Brown keeps her baby.
But you gotta watch it, people. Once we've changed our rhetoric to the point where no ever sees a likable TV character actually going through with an abortion, we're well on your way to rescinding Roe v. Wade
I'm not sure that women on TV ever had abortions. That's because, in most people's lives, an abortion is a traumatic event, not something positive and wonderful. Many ideologues would have us think that having a fetus terminated is essentially the same thing as removing a cyst. But in human terms, if a fetus is something less than a child - and even far right wingers secretly know that it is, or they'd be demanding murder indictments for abortion doctors and the women who go to them - it is also something more than a "blastocyst." A woman who's pregnant talks doesn't talk about "the fetus" - she talks about "the baby."
I'm pro-choice, but you have to recognize the human reality.
Nip / tuck has dealt with abortion. In the first season, I believe Julia considered an abortion when she got pregnant while she was trying to go back to school; later, the doctor told her not to get out of bed, and she went to class anyway, then miscarried as a result. In the second season, the lesbian anesthesiologist Liz got pregnant with Christian's baby, but aborted when she learned that the child might have a disability. Everwood had a character get an abortion in the first season, although the 18 yo girl was not a regular. But most shows do avoid the topic completely. I remember when Party of Five attempted to tackle abortion; Julia got pregnant and almost had an abortion, but reportedly FOX didn't want to go through with the storyline so Julia miscarried before the abortion instead.
Claire had an abortion on Six Feet Under 2 seasons ago. I didn't think it was written especially well, but it was dealt with very matter-of-factly in terms of her decision. Also, Everwood did a terrific episode about abortion in its first season.
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