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General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Mon 28th Jan '08 9:41PM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
I have been intending to write a post about this subject as it is something that has bothered me for a long time, but this article in the Guardian echoed my sentiments.

http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2248001,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=16

Why is it that in just about every film, or television programme an accidental pregnancy always ends up in the woman having the baby. Soap operas are heinously guilty of this. Pretty much universally the story goes along the lines of:
Young girl sleeps with boy at party (note this is almost exclusively the same occasion that the girl looses her virginity)
Girl becomes pregnant.
Girl decides to have abortion, family advise that she is running away from her responsibility.
Girl has a crisis of conscience and decides to have the baby
All is now well, the girl doesn't hold simmering resentment that causes her to neglect or abuse the child, she is never wracked with crippling post natal depression. The girl in question will never have any appreciable prospects and so having a baby at 14 will never significantly degrade her quality of life.

In fact the only situation where a woman is allowed to have an abortion in a soap opera is where she is the manipulative bitch character who will inevitably get pregnant to the younger man she is having an affair with and then tell him that she has had an abortion in a display of cold hearted cruelty and pantomime style scenery chewing that is usually reserved for super villains announcing that the Eastern seaboard is about to be drowned in molten magma.

I appreciate that for those of a religious persuasion a fertilised egg has a soul and therefore there is no discussion to be had on the subject, but I am disappointed that there is never a situation portrayed there a woman exercises her right to choose to have a termination and it turns out to be the right decision.

I may be a glutton for punishment, but while I'm on a contentious issue I am also very interested (Though perhaps not fully convinced by) the suggestion that increased access to abortion reduces crime rates.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legalized_abortion_and_crime_effect
    

Mrsham
I lost my toes in a game of blackjack
Tue 29th Jan '08 2:39PM
505 Posts
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5th Jan '07
Before I write this post I want to apologise for the tone of something I wrote on abortion on another thread (this one:
http://forum.thedaddy.org/view_thread.html?ref_id=27905&id=28623 )
Re-reading it it seems somewhat disrespectful, in particular towards people who hold to Catholic doctrine, and especially in the context of the earlier posts. I've no idea how it was read by others, but I'd like to apologise for the tone anyway as I'm not happy with it. (It's also fairly incomprehensible) Sorry!

Responding to the Guardian article: It would seem to be a fair cop; The Cider House Rules sprang to mind as a Hollywood (Disney even!) Oscar winning film that gave a broadly pro-abortion-rights view, but that was at the end of the Clinton era. I'm continually disturbed by how much power the US administration has over the big media outlets.

General: please don't buy into the impression given by shriller voices in the pro-life movement that there's no debate to be had on abortion amongst religious people, it's simply not the case. The "pro-life" and "pro-choice" labels are unhelpful in this respect; many religious people of all stripes would want to affirm the woman's right to choose freely on this issue, whilst upholding a personal, non-dictatorial position on the sanctity of life informed by their religion. (e.g. see Giuliani - a US Republican Roman Catholic who supports abortion rights - I'm no big Giuliani fan in general I hasten to add - Obama for President )

[Religious Tangent]
From a personal point of view I think there's scope for a theology that positively affirms women's choice in terms of creating life, when considering the free choice of Mary to give birth to Jesus (whatever one thinks about the literal detail of the story, her "saying Yes", which all Christian traditions have always held as being deeply significant, only has meaning if she were also able to freely "say No"). This is a decidedly non-traditional way of looking at the issue, but not unique by any means. Take it or leave it obviously.
[/Religious Tangent]

I'm not sure about the soundness of the crime/legalized abortion theory (seems plausible), although it would seem to be separate from the abortion debate - or at least, if not, it's a shaky utilitarian argument, and there are already much better utilitarian arguments that would win the day if you were taking that approach.
 

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Wed 30th Jan '08 12:56AM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
I didn't want to give the impression that religious types don't engage in the debate it's just that I know that for some groups it is a moral absolute and therefore not open to discussion.
    

Mrsham
I lost my toes in a game of blackjack
Wed 30th Jan '08 12:56PM
505 Posts
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Member Since
5th Jan '07


General was bold enough to comment:
I didn't want to give the impression that religious types don't engage in the debate it's just that I know that for some groups it is a moral absolute and therefore not open to discussion.



That's fine -- apologies if I misinterpreted what you wrote, and thanks for clarifying.

And I certainly agree with you that UK soaps caricaturing the process of deciding whether or not to have a termination is potentially harmful. What do people think is the motivation here? By which I mean, why is there this one-sided approach? Does it reflect popular opinion?
 

Amanshu*
Giggity Giggity goo
Thu 31st Jan '08 1:55PM
2708 Posts
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25th Aug '04
I think the problem with soaps and this issue is that having the child is, well, fundamentally a better idea. A woman having an abortion is a storyline that lasts for a couple of weeks and then ends. Sure there might be a slight resurgence later on, you might be able to get a bit more of a storyline out of it, but basically it's that moral debate and then its over.

However if she has the baby then that's a good source of story lines for years to come. First you've got the joys of pregnancy, people's reactions to the news, actually having the baby (because it's a soap it's never going to be as simple as going to the hospital), there's getting used to the kid, how do you date with a kid, how do people react when they discover you've got a kid? Not to mention you can turn the kid into a full blown character when they get older and nobody is going to object because they're so-and-so's child.

Plus of course in this kind of show the actress is (most of the time) actually pregnant and this has been written into the show. You can't exactly ask someone to have an abortion for the sake of a storyline!

Of course this only really covers soaps and long running tv shows, not movies. There does seem to be a slew of movies at the moment (well off the top of my head I can only think of Juno and I haven't seen that so I'm just guessing). I'm afraid I've got nothing to add there.

Although I'd have to say that, personally at least, I'd be more interested in a story about someone choosing to have the kid than not. Don't get me wrong I fully support a woman's right to choose. However I go to see movies to see a good story. Someone choosing to have a child when their life would be better if they had an abortion seems like a more interesting story to me. Than someone choosing to have an abortion when their life would be better if they had the child - simply because we'd never know.
   

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