Wednesday, January 9, 2008

abortion clinics are not terrible places

Abortion isn't a sexy topic. It only makes news when we're on the verge of losing our right to it. So I guarantee it'll be back in the news again in the not-too-distant future. Just because Iowa and New Hampshire are sucking the air out of everything doesn't mean we're not still stuck with the justices we have.

Over at RH Reality Check this week, Amanda Marcotte, author of our forthcoming It's a Jungle Out There (please read this brilliant book) draws attention to two of the most popular movies of 2007 and their depictions, or lack thereof, of abortion. In Knocked Up, the main character, Allison, doesn't even seriously consider abortion, even though any woman I know who got pregnant from a one night stand with a guy that immature totally would, and in Juno, the abortion clinic is painted as this horrible space, playing a role in the high schooler's decision to have the baby. This reminded me of an episode from last season's The L Word, in which Kit (who's in her fifties) decides she'll abort and visits a clinic that turns out to be one of those crazy places that shame you for even considering it. The nurses charge at her with photos of bloody fetuses yelling something about killing her baby. She gets the abortion in the end, but that's what you get of the clinic.

So it got me thinking, are there any movies or shows that show positive abortion clinic experiences? Where a woman sits down with a counselor who helps her make the best decision for her? If I were considering an abortion at this point in time, I wonder how I'd feel. The media is all over Jamie Lynn Spears, but mostly I've been hearing that it's a good thing she's keeping the baby. Am I the only person who thinks abortion might have been a good option here? I mean, obviously I'm an advocate for choice, so if her choice is to keep it then that's hers. But she's sixteen.

As a culture, we don't offer balanced accounts of what choice or abortion clinics or even abortion really look like. I feel like this is intentional, controlled by some larger moral force. I'm not a conspiracy theorist. It's just too one-sided to be otherwise.

And yes, Hillary won NH and assholes everywhere are trying to assert that women came out in droves because Hillary almost cried and now we love her. Get a grip. I couldn't even bear to post about it because my fingers started shaking. But I didn't cry.



Kostina said...

I'd venture to say that "Dogma" had a fairly balanced Women's Clinic scene. Girl is in for her second or third abortion, councilor really pushes her toward birth control, and just safer sex and better choices in general. Councilor also shares her personal story of being barren due to a botched abortion she had in her youth. Seems like you're getting two faces of abortion--the blase and the regretful. Of course, the middle ground is missing here--but hey, the movie's not about abortion, that's a side story. Keeping in mind that the councilor is a devout, lapsed Catholic (that's the real crux of the movie--the councilor still goes through all the motions of being Catholic but no longer has faith), I thought the whole clinic episode was pretty damn good.

Krista Lyons-Gould and Brooke Warner said...

Alas, very good point about the movie not being about abortion. But it is about teen pregnancy, and I guess it's just a much larger and disturbing trend around lack of education. But yes, kudos to Diablo Cody for even writing it in. It's just a scary space we're in right now. I just want something different for girls---better sex ed, better access to birth control, better dialogue, better boyfriends...