Fiercely Feminist NPR Heralds Abortion Comedy As 'Momentous' Movie, 'Sweet And Lovely'

As suspected, there is no more favorable publicity outlet for an “abortion comedy” like NPR. On the June 13 Fresh Air, film critic David Edelstein loved the concept in Obvious Child.

“It shouldn't be a particularly earth-shaking turn, but in a world of rom-coms like Knocked Up and Juno, in which the heroines make the heartwarming decision to go ahead with their pregnancies, this modest little indie movie feels momentous,” he argued.

“Director Gillian Robespierre has a good last name for a revolutionary. But it's not a revolution with placards and manifestoes. It's a revolution of small, embarrassing truths.”

The movie has no manifestoes. It’s an “abortion comedy.” There’s no need for placards in a movie by feminists and for feminists. Edelstein even argued there was “ambivalence” in the movie, which is not true about the abortion, carefully planned and filmed in consultation with Planned Parenthood:

EDELSTEIN: But what I love about her [leading lady Jenny Slate] in Obvious Child is that sense of danger she brings. She's all frizzy, little coils of neurotic energy. Anything could pop out of her mouth. That fits a character who has no self-control, a big baby, someone who can't take care of herself let alone a little baby. Director Gillian Robespierre lets you take Donna as you will. Robespierre has the courage of her ambivalence. The best thing about Obvious Child is that there's nothing obvious about it.


Except there's an obvious child-killing in it, of course.

Back on June 8, Weekend Edition Sunday anchor Rachel Martin -- the same liberal host that cheered the punk group Bad Religion taking apart Christmas songs and mocking Jesus and Christians -- tried to claim this was a "classic romantic comedy," if we can just gloss over the fetal remains: "Gillian Robespierre and Jenny Slate joined me in our Washington, D.C. studios to tak about what is, in many ways, a classic romantic comedy, except that the comedy is centerstage."

In a promotional six-minute interview, Martin played a scene where Slate's character Donna Stern goes on stage and takes out her anger on her ex-boyfriend and his new love interest by saying "I'd love to murder-suicide them." This was apparently "great," according to NPR. She asked Robespierre, the screenwriter and director:

MARTIN:  I do love that she's a stand-up comic.  So this character could of been anything. She could have been an investment banker. She could have been a hairstylist just as long as she had that kind of sharp wit, probably would've worked narratively. But Gillian, what did Donna being a comic give you in terms of opportunities in this film besides great scenes like the one we just heard?

Martin even suggested that (abortion aside), the film was so "sweet and lovely" and not "edgy," and could have been "darker" in tone. She never brought up the A-word in the interview. She just let Robespierre bring it up to whatever extent she wanted:

RACHEL MARTIN: In the end, this ends up being such a sweet film. And I wasn't expecting it because it has a very edgy, irreverent personality throughout. And the romance between Donna and Max evolves.

JENNY SLATE: Yeah.

RACHEL MARTIN: And it's so sweet and lovely. Did you ever think about turning it on its head and making it into something darker?

GILLIAN ROBESPIERRE: No. We really love romantic comedies. And that's sort of the genre that we wanted to stick to. The question was never will Donna or won't she have an abortion? It was will she be able to tell the Max character [the father], and how is he going to react to it? And I think we always wanted it to be a happy ending. And we leave them where we find them, just sort of getting to know each other.

RACHEL MARTIN: Was it difficult at all to find jokes about abortion?

JENNY SLATE: Well, actually, you'll notice that there aren't a lot of jokes about abortion in the film. And I think what we tried to do with the comedy was to just make sure that it made us laugh. That it wasn't trying to be glib or flippant or too hip. I'm not a fan of the too-cool-for-school vibe. I think it's good to be thoughtful. And sometimes, we put a toe over the line. And I think that's good. I think it's good to be flexible with the boundaries, a little bit, of what we think is, like, OK to joke about to show ourselves that it's so fragile and so rigid that, you know, everything is going to break if we just change our language or change our viewpoint.

This is the secular-progressive world. A "sweet and lovely" romantic comedy is a one-night stand between strangers, and what really makes the romance click is when they get to know each other as they have their baby vacuumed out of the womb.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis