This researcher interviewed dozens of writers, creators, and showrunners about onscreen abortion. Here’s what she learned.
By Alissa Wilkinson
Aug 9, 2022
We’re a screen-soaked culture, and that means that what we see on TV and in movies often serves as a framework to look at the world around us. That’s certainly true for abortion. It’s still rare to see an abortion depicted, and even more rare to see it in a situation that matches the circumstances of most abortions in America; research has found that the most common abortion patient is a low-income, unmarried young mother, without a college degree, who is seeking her first abortion. The majority of abortion patients in America are non-white.
Yet that’s not the average depiction. And this affects not just what people think about abortion, but how viewers treat people who seek abortions, as well as how they think about public policy.
Hollywood has rich history of abortion storytelling, according to researcher
Jenna Benchetrit · CBC News
Aug 06, 2022
In 2004, a Canadian TV show made headlines for a controversial episode in which a pregnant teenage girl decides, much to her boyfriend's distress, to get an abortion. Her mother drives her to the clinic.
Yes, it was Degrassi: The Next Generation — and the infamous episode, entitled Accidents Will Happen, was postponed for American viewers after a U.S. cable channel decided to pull it before it could air.
by Scottie Andrew, CNN
Thu June 2, 2022
(CNN) During the making of "Obvious Child," director/screenwriter Gillian Robespierre had a few balls in the air.
Would Jenny Slate's Donna, a fledgling stand-up comedian with a penchant for potty humor, end up with Jake Lacy's buttoned-up Max? And would Robespierre find investors who'd trust her to make the movie she wanted as a first-time filmmaker?
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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