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  • Tuesday, April 19, 2005


    Abortion and TV

    The issue of abortion is taboo on TV in many ways. As this Clamor article points out, in a TV landscape that shows all kinds of surgery, abortion is still tiptoed around. I particularly liked this description of a roundabout way of dealing with the subject on TV shows. This excerpt in from by Rachel Fudge. (Note: the whole article isn't available on the Clamor site unless you subscribe but Alternet has a full version.)
    With the rise of the primetime teen soap (Beverly Hills 90210, Party of Five, Dawson’s Creek) in the mid-’90s, it was inevitable that sexually active teen and young adult characters would be confronted with pregnancy, often in the guise of the Very Special Episode. Enter the convenient miscarriage. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, some 13 percent of unwanted pregnancies end in miscarriage, but on TV that number is much, much higher. The convenient miscarriage goes something like this: Sympathetic lead character gets knocked up. SLC agonizes over what to do, sometimes going so far as to visit an abortion clinic. SLC decides that although she believes in a woman’s right to choose (her boyfriend or best friend most likely feels significantly different, however), she’s going to keep her baby. Moral dilemma resolved, SLC spontaneously miscarries; SLC is sad but realizes that in the end she wasn’t really ready to be a mother anyway. (Alternatively, the pregnancy turns out to be a false alarm, an even more tidy wrap-up to the dilemma.)

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