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Liberals and Abortion on TV and Films

The way abortion is portrayed on TV and in movies is annoying. Because Hollywood is dominated by left-liberals, whenever a woman has an unplanned pregnancy, we always see the mom-to-be wonder “what she’s going to do,” making it clear that she has the option to abort. But they don’t say the word abortion, and the woman always exercises her choice to keep the baby. That way, Hollywood gets to help spread the image that “of course” pro-choice is the right position, but the woman makes the “right” choice so as to avoid alienating the pro-life “rubes.”

Well that’s not enough for some of them. The new CBS comedy Accidentally on Purpose is about a late-thirties single woman who gets pregnant after a one-night-stand with a 22 year old slacker, and decides to keep the baby and raise it as a single mother. It’s based on the true story of one Mary Pols, who is upset because the CBS sitcom doesn’t have the pregnant mom consider an abortion. Pols is okay with the decision to keep the baby; that’s what Pols did in real life. But Pols considered an abortion; so she’s upset that the sitcom didn’t at least show the mom wonder–out loud, for the benefit of the rubes in Red states, you see–“Should I have an abortion?” And maybe–in a network sitcom, natch–casually mention that she had had an abortion in her youth. After all, Pols had one–she’s “been down the college-girl abortion route”–what good liberal college girl doesn’t?; its part of the natural learning experience, you see; and Pols even says “it had broken my heart”–but not, she’s careful to note, to avoid the raised eyebrows of anti-choice feminazis, “in a I-shouldn’t-have-done-that way, but” only in a politically correct, acceptable, “I-wish-I-hadn’t-had-to-do-that way.”

The Pols complaint was published on DoubleX, Slate’s spin-off web portal for liberal women. An even more pro-abortion, even anti-choice, piece appeared on the same site, Bonnie Rochman’s I Don’t Support Carolyn Savage Carrying the Wrong Baby to Term. This is about “Carolyn Savage, the Ohio woman who, in the process of undergoing IVF, was mistakenly implanted with another couple’s embryo. She decided to carry the baby to term and just passed the 35-week mark.” Rochman is having none of it. “I’m not lining up behind the well-wishers cheering on” Savage. She wonders “at what point self-interest should trump altruism”. By making it a simple calculus, Rochman seeks to make it clear that the life of the fetus is irrelevant. As one commenter noted,

There are some opinions that make for interesting articles; there are others that you keep to private conversations. This was the later. Publishing this is article is anti-choice, both literally and politically. Literally, Ms. Rochman goes on the record as opposing the choice of women who would make different decisions than she would. What about being pro-choice doesn’t she get? Politically, this only fuels pro-lifers who equate pro-choice with pro-abortion.

It reminds of the sickening pro-abortion comments of some Randians (see Objectivist Hate Fest) who were opposed to women with Down Syndrom fetuses carrying them to term–they believe there is a moral obligation to abort–to “squelch”–an “unhealthy fetus”–and that support of these mothers is the “worship of retardation.” Methinks such bloodcurdling sentiments don’t really help the “pro-choice” cause very much.

[LRC cross-post]

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Matt Dawson September 25, 2009, 12:33 am

    So how’s the Republican Party nomination going? ;-)

    Just kidding, interesting and insightful post.

    • Stephan Kinsella September 25, 2009, 12:58 am

      Heh. I’m actually pro-choice (of a sort). But embarrassed by these moral hooligans.

  • t wirkman v September 25, 2009, 12:48 am

    Hey, in a better sitcom the “father” would have suggested an abortion, and the prospective mother would have rejected the idea with a “once was one time too many” reasoning:

    Elfman: If I’m going to spread my legs and endure cold hands and cold steel as well as hormonal shifts and a night of crying, I want to get something more out of it than blood, dead tissue and a whopping medical bill.

    Then again, maybe not.

  • t wirkman v September 25, 2009, 1:17 am

    I’m in your camp on this. I’m sort of pro-choice. I see a point to prohibiting late-term abortions (for the same reason I think babies shouldn’t be killed). But early-term abortions seem like a real stretch to prohibit.

    But there are few people more annoying than folk who dogmatically support abortion as a human right . . . without ever really addressing the rights of babies. I want a good reason to draw the line somewhere — or at least acknowledge that drawing the line is difficult.

  • Scott Lazarowitz September 25, 2009, 6:12 am

    t wirkman v said, “early-term abortions seem like a real stretch to prohibit,” and “I want a good reason to draw the line somewhere — or at least acknowledge that drawing the line is difficult.”

    Is it really a good idea that those of us at a more advanced stage of growth and development have the power to “draw a line” (as in via Roe v. Wade, etc.) on a particular point of a less advanced stage of growth and development of another, and say that, prior to this stage it’s okay to destroy this individual, but not okay to destroy the individual after that stage of development?

    When does self-ownership actually begin? Does one’s self-ownership actually begin when others at a more advanced stage of life determine that for us?

    If we have natural, inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, when do those rights actually begin?

    In a pregnancy, there are two separate individuals, each with a right of self-ownership, and right to life and liberty. There seems to be an extra responsibility of self control, if one doesn’t want to deal with another individual inhabiting one’s body.

  • twv September 25, 2009, 9:17 am

    I don’t see how we cannot try to draw the line. That’s what we at more advanced stages of growth must do. It’s our responsibility.

    Self-ownership develops in stages. We extend rights to those at lower stages so to allow them the chance to grow into actual self-owners.

    But then, I do not believe that rights are natural. Not in any exact sense other than a highly nuanced one. So I don’t start with “what rights do we have?” but “what rights make most sense?”

    This is where many libertarians leave my company. Natural rights arguments strike me as POINTERS to ideal relationships at best. They never provide knock-down reasons for anything, libertarian or otherwise.

  • Jeffersonianideal September 25, 2009, 6:29 pm

    I have been libertarian for almost two decades after freeing myself from the frozen amber of democrat socialism. Believing that libertarians are pro-choice about everything, abortion is the one area where I have been at odds, on occasion, with other libertarians. That is until the late, great libertarian Harry Browne set me straight on the issue. Harry insisted that the federal government ought not to weigh in on either side of the abortion issue. Dr. Ron Paul believes the same and he too, does not believe in abortion. That was good enough for me even though I realize that having the matter reside with the individual States will only mean they will simply take the place of the feds. States will regulate abortion based on their legislatures, State courts or Red vs. Blue constituents. Few States if any, will stay out of the controversy altogether and leave it for the individual to decide. Additionally, somewhere within the last decade or so, the scientific question of whether life truly begins at conception has all but disappeared from the abortion debate, reducing the dispute to a pro-birth, pro-choice tug of war. Arguing that a sperm and an egg is potential life does not answer the conundrum of they are viable life.

    In terms of the way network television portrays the decision process with which a woman’s chooses to abort or carry to term, I don’t see where this is any different from the way the mainstream media represents any if not every, personal liberty. It hardly matters if the subject is drug legalization, gambling, prostitution, pornography, the free market or the right of a wage earner to keep what they earn. Mass media, in almost every instance, promotes government policy and downplays the autonomy of the citizen. It is foolish to expect conventional media outlets to perform any differently.

    Even if the media takes a stand against abortion, there are now quality of life assessments to be considered. If a woman keeps her child as a single mother, does she possess the financial means, emotional maturity and parental skills with which to raise the child into adulthood? If she chooses to place the child in an orphanage or give it up for adoption, what consequences will this have on the youngster’s future as well as her own? I see nothing amiss in adding these real life conditions into the television dramatization. Similarly, I do not accept the notion that some ethical or moral values would be compromised by allowing for the mother to merely contemplate terminating the pregnancy. Almost 37 years ago, another CBS sit-com, “Maude” broke new ground by bringing the contentious abortion issue into prime-time view. Though Maude Findlay decided to have the abortion, it was not without much anguish, debate and soul-searching. The important thing for anti-abortion proponents in regards to this most recent network show, is that the mosther decided to keep her baby. As with any complex decision in life, the real part of the growth process is the path to the resolution.

    Lastly, most viewers of television and film who watch a show from beginning to end seldom consider the broad brush that a creative license grants its owner. For those who seek accuracy and truth in dramatic productions on the small or large screen, let me suggest one word of caution to be inserted whenever opening titles promote the claim, “based on a true story”. The word is “loosely”.

  • t wirkman v September 26, 2009, 1:21 am

    “Loosely” would be a good name for a TV show.

  • Guy October 6, 2011, 6:06 pm

    Hi Kinsella,
    Why “pro-choice of sort”? A child is not an agent capable of argumentation until a much older age.

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