an After abortion

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Amy Welborn picked up Television's Most Persistent Taboo from yesterday's New York Times. It's an article about how abortion is portrayed on television.

When a Canadian television show portrayed a 14-year-old choosing an abortion, it implied a lack of misgivings or regret on her part. That's different from abortion plots on Everwood, Six Feet Under, OC, and The Sopranos, where the characters who have had abortions are portrayed with varying degrees of ambivalence, regret or shame.

Barbara Nicolosi of Act One wrote about Abortion at the Cineplex for BeliefNet last year:

Also presented as heroic are the pregnant women who push ahead, trying to make their best choice, even if it causes them anguish. Interestingly, the only ones who don't show any ambivalence about abortion are the post-abortive women. The pro-choice dogma here is that all of a woman's angst comes before the procedure. Once the fetus is terminated, however, so are the doubts and struggles. As one post-abortive woman shrugs in If These Walls Could Talk, "You know, people told me I would feel depressed and guilty. But, honestly, all I felt was relief." We know the filmmakers are being dishonest here because everywhere in America, churches and counselors, family and friends are finding themselves called on to help women pick up the pieces after their abortions.

I know. I was there one long evening with a suicidal college junior who had aborted her four-and-a-half-month fetus that day. She had been enthusiastically escorted to the clinic by volunteers from the campus women's center, and then dropped off summarily afterward back at the dorm. The girl was crying at that point and one of the women's center volunteers proposed that she get drunk and then forget about it. I'll never forget her lying in a heap on the floor of her dorm room, smelling of alcohol and pleading with me to tell her that her baby hadn't felt any pain.

Going back to the Canadian show, it's a very short-term view of the world to imagine that a 14-year-old who has an abortion and no regrets is going to grow into a 25- or 40-year-old with no regrets. Abortion is a permanent "solution" to a temporary problem.

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