How two recent films are changing the conversation around abortion
By Angie Han
May 6, 2020
For Bridget, the heroine of Saint Frances, abortion was never a question.
"I'm for sure getting rid of it," she tells her not-quite-boyfriend, Jace, shutting down his tentative suggestion they discuss their options. To Bridget, the answer is obvious. Indeed, it may be the only obvious answer she encounters over the course of the movie, which sees her stumbling almost by accident into a romance, a nannying gig, and a life-changing bond with her employers over the course of a summer.
In and of itself, Bridget's decision isn't so unusual — about one in four women will have an abortion by age 45, according to the Guttmacher Institute. What is notable, about both Saint Frances and another recent film, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, is how the choice to have an abortion is portrayed.
Planned Parenthood Goes to Hollywood
The group is winning in L.A., even as it’s losing in D.C. Can entertainment ultimately make a difference in the abortion wars?
Story by Nora Caplan-Bricker
September 23, 2019
It’s 10 a.m. on a Tuesday at Planned Parenthood’s New York headquarters, and I’m watching TV. Specifically, I’m watching a series of scenes clipped from movies and TV shows, all of which have two things in common: The woman beside me, Caren Spruch, had a hand in them, and each one features an abortion.
Spruch and I began our viewing session with her most recent such project, the Hulu series “Shrill.” Now, seated at a table in a white-walled conference room, we’re watching the first movie she worked on, 2014’s “Obvious Child.” Spruch is petite and animated, with a long face and dark bangs, like a more pixie-ish Anjelica Huston. She calls “Obvious Child” — a romantic comedy about an unemployed 20-something who finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand — “the one that changed the world,” setting a new standard for stories about abortion. She has seen it, she estimates, more than 25 times.
Dec 20, 2016, Rewire
by Gretchen Sisson
The end of 2016 marks the close of a century since the first silent film in the United States addressed abortion. In these past 100 years, film, television, and our popular culture have addressed abortion in evolving ways: from the pre-code films of the 1920s, to the exploitation films of the 1940s, to television plotlines in support of legal abortion in the 1960s, to the alternately stigmatizing and stigma-busting portrayals of the 1990s and early 21st century. The incorporation of abortion into onscreen storylines has been done for shock value, for sex educational purposes, for humor, for drama, and for horror. This presentation is not an exhaustive list of abortion stories in U.S. film and television (there are over 200 of them!), but it is meant to illustrate some of the notable examples, groundbreaking firsts, and trends that have emerged over time.
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