Is It Really That Hard to Say “Abortion” on TV or in the Movies?

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Thanks to TiVo, I’m several days late on this one, but last week’s 30 Rock continued in the tradition of television shows such as Scrubs, Friends, and the Nine as well as movies such as Waitress, Knocked Up, and Juno in avoiding abortion in a situation that screams out for its inclusion.   On 30 Rock last week, Tina Fey’s character, a single woman who produces a sketch comedy television show, takes several pregnancy tests that show she’s pregnant.   After consulting her calendar, she realizes that the only person who could be the father is her complete loser of an ex-boyfriend that she slept with once over the past month or so.

[SPOILER ALERT for those who care!]   It turns out at the end of the show that the pregnancy tests were wrong, but throughout the show, when talking about what to do now that she’s pregnant, Tina Fey’s character never once mentions abortion.   Of course, I have no agenda that her character actually have an abortion, but it seems completely unrealistic that she wouldn’t even mention it as a possibility with her friends (or vice versa: that her friends wouldn’t mention it to her).

Again, what we’re seeing is that Hollywood, in mainstream television and movies, doesn’t want to touch abortion.   A medical procedure that over a million women have every year and is one of the most common medical procedures in the country gets completely ignored in situations that it would normally be raised.   I don’t require my television and movies to be ultra-realistic, but consistently ignoring this topic is too much politically-influenced fantasy for me.

– David S. Cohen

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0 Responses to Is It Really That Hard to Say “Abortion” on TV or in the Movies?

  1. leela says:

    While in generally I would agree about the lack of abortion discussion (except for comedic value on Family Guy), I don’t feel like it was justified in this case. 30 Rock has already dealt with Liz Lemon’s baby desire. In season one, the episode “The Baby Show” was about how Liz suggested to a friend that she wanted a baby and actually accidentally kidnapped a staff member’s baby. The character has been set up to want a pregnancy, so discussion of abortion would be out of place.

    One could argue that the Liz Lemon character isn’t as modern as we might hope for in her wants and desires, but she’s funny and I think the concept of Liz Lemon is fairly accessible for many single modern women. I’m particularly fond of her mess domestic habits and poor dietary choices – its part of what makes her so believable.