‘True Self-Care’: How Hollywood Normalized Abortion on TV in 2020

January 29th, 2021 7:00 AM

Friday, January 29, would have been the 48th March for Life in DC. Due to COVID-19 concerns, however, the decision was made to make it virtual. We know at least one thing won’t change: the media will again try not to acknowledge the March’s existence. Even when President Donald Trump spoke at least year’s March for Life, the event only received 28 seconds worth of network coverage. 

Not only have media outlets been ignoring the hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans who participate in the March for Life, but they've been promoting and normalizing abortion on television. This has been going on for years, and 2020 was no different from 2019 and 2018.

Despite coronavirus canceling and postponing tv production for several months, they still managed to squeeze in several abortion storylines. Here's how abortion was portrayed on television last year.

Abortion Is No Big Deal

In order for abortion to seem normal, viewers have to be bombarded that it’s no big deal.

The first season of Hulu’s Shrill involved Annie (Aidy Bryant) having an abortion. She felt “really, really good” and “very fucking powerful” afterwards. 

The abortion promotion again found its way into the second season, in late January of last year. Annie is asked by her editor to think about "a moment of true self-care." As Annie says:

Well, I mean, if I’m being honest, like the first thing that I think of is my abortion, you know? I mean, that was care. I had to in the moment evaluate what I wanted, and take care of myself, and then all the women that were there that took care of me.

The editor doesn’t want to push her, but she declares, “I’m not afraid to, it’s the truth,” quite excited to write about it. 

Annie tells her mother in another episode about the abortion, emphasizing, “I feel good about it.” Her mother responds that she’s “so proud” of her daughter.

In May 25’s episode of Starz’s Vida, “Episode 21,” the casualness of abortion is portrayed when two sisters bond over their abortion pill experience. The show does describe Lyn’s previous experience where she “got so sick. I literally had to curl up in bed with caldo for two days, almost three.” Emma, who took her pills--incorrectly--in the episode, is by the episode’s end shown being sick, though she earlier claimed she has “a rock for a stomach…” 

Although the episode does feature some of the side effects women endure with the abortion pill procedure, a casual conversation over clothes about not telling the fathers hardly reflects the sobering reality.

Another reality about the abortion pill procedure, though, is that if a woman changes her mind between taking the first and second pill, a reversal may be possible. 

Netflix’s second season of The Politician, airing in June, not only normalized a “throuple,” with candidate Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) being with both Alice and Astrid, but also abortion. Payton happens to get both pregnant. While Alice keeps her baby to raise with Payton, she supports Astrid getting an abortion in the season finale. It even leads to a discussion about “a path that I want” and doing “whatever you want with your life.”

How poetic!

During the second season of CW’s Roswell, New Mexico, Isobel’s (Lily Cowles), is pregnant with her dead, evil, alien husband's baby. Her fear comes to a head during a female retreat, when Isobel is told to “set herself free” and “throw your [fear] into the fire.” Ultimately, Isobel declares, “I choose to set myself free,” and is later seen swallowing an alien poison to have an abortion.

The show actually spends multiple episodes on the abortion issue. Since the alien poison ends up not working, the subsequent episode involves Isobel increasing her dose, which also is affecting her. Isobel still stands by her decision to keep taking it until the baby dies, even when hallucinating advice from her dead brother Max (Nathan Dean), who says to take an antidote to the poison. 

This results in a rant from Isobel about Roswell being a sanctuary city:

Isobel said “the pregnancy is not over” because “I’ll feel it when I’m free.” Abortion must be normal then, because it leads to a woman feeling “free.”

Denying Science

The creators of Fox’s ill-fated Filthy Rich--which lasted only one season--claimed that their aim was not to be “offending viewers of faith en masse,” though they failed spectacularly. One of just many offensive storylines took place in November 16's episode, “James 4:1,” involving Rose Monreaux (Aubrey Dollar) getting pregnant and wanting an abortion.

Perhaps the worst part is Rose’s dumbfounding denial of science, when arguing the matter with her mother, Margaret Monreaux (Kim Cattrall). “This early, it is not a child. I don't know, maybe one day it would be, maybe it wouldn't,” Rose tells her mother. 

It’s a biological fact that life begins at conception, meaning it's a child, the whole time. Not only is it a child, even going by the pro-abortion logic that it isn't a child until a later stage, it "would be" a child.

Rose had said when discussing the pregnancy in a previous scene with the baby's father, who wanted to raise the baby with her or place it for adoption, that she didn’t want to put their dysfunctional family on what she referred to as “an innocent child.” As if abortion isn’t the ultimate worst thing to “put… on an innocent child.”

The episode ends as Rose takes her private jet to head from Louisiana to New York City to have an abortion. This was further disappointing because, in the previous episode, another female character explained how she resisted being paid off and coerced into an abortion.

FX’s Breeders was not only foul-mouthed, but pushed a talking point which is as pro-abortion as it is biologically false. Through a flashback, viewers learn about the moment Ally (Daisy Haggard) and Paul (Martin Freeman) discovered she was pregnant.

Ally declares “we’re gonna have a baby,” but when Paul says, “We’ve made a baby,” she takes issue. “Well, no. We've made a collection of cells that have the potential to become a baby.”

Is a human being which has its own DNA from the moment of conception and whose heart begins to beat 3 weeks later really just “a collection of cells?” It is if you’re that biologically illiterate, which helps normalize abortion.

Teen Abortions

Teens are once again shown having abortions or having abortion pushed on them in television shows. 

While it’s not surprising that Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere would keep its leftist propaganda coming, to feature a teen abortion always cuts deep. In Episode 5’s “Duo,” which aired April 1, high schooler Lexie Richardson (Jade Pettyjohn), has her abortion at Planned Parenthood in 1997. She does so without telling her boyfriend or her mother Elena (Reese Witherspoon).

The abortion also happened in the book the show is based off of. While in the book her friend's mother, Mia (Kerry Washington), tells her, “It doesn’t mean you made the wrong choice,” she at least tells her, “You’ll always be sad about this,” acknowledging abortion makes a woman “sad.” The show can’t acknowledge that, though; Mia lectures the post-abortive teen about white privilege instead. 

There’s another gut-wrenching example with Paramount Network’s Yellowstone, known for the sibling feud between Beth (Kelly Reilly) and Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley). In the July 19 episode, “Cowboys and Dreamers,” that heartbreaking reason for the feud is revealed. Upon becoming pregnant with Rip Wheeler’s baby when they were teens, Beth turned to her brother for help in getting an abortion. Jamie wouldn’t go to Planned Parenthood in Billings, as suggested by the white employee at the abortion clinic on an Indian reservation. The Duttons wanted to keep the abortion secret, hence why Jamie took her to the reservation. When the woman tells him “a requirement of patients receiving an abortion at this clinic is forced sterilization,” Jamie accepts this, without telling Beth.

In the present day, Beth is understandably tortured by this. While she doesn’t reveal the abortion to Rip, she does tell him, “I’ve made two decisions in my life based on fear and they cost me everything.”

Season three of The Chi was certainly a dark one. The August 23 finale, “A Couple, Two, Three” centered around Kiesha (Birgundi Baker) deciding whether to get an abortion after she became pregnant from her kidnapper who held her captive for most of the season.

Kiesha confides in Jada, a family friend who works at a family planning clinic. While Jada had her son, Emmett, young she denies she had “any regrets,” but says:

No. But I do wish somebody told me my options. 'Cause back then if you got pregnant, you know, I just assumed you had to have the baby. And I know that's not true. 

Jada has Kiesha talk to Emmett’s fiancée, Tiffany, who is the mother of one of Emmett’s many children. Jada suggested Tiffany because “I think I know someone that might be better equipped to have this conversation,” another push for abortion. Tiffany says:

Me and Emmett found ourselves a situation last year, and I didn't know what I wanted to do, but ultimately I had to look at my life and decide if I wanted to bring another child into this world. And, uh, after a lot of soul searching, I realized that the one I got is all I could handle right now. 

Kiesha doesn’t have her abortion, but she’s also the only one conveying a pro-life message. Jada referenced “options” to hint at abortion. What about the women who long for “options” when they feel they have to get an abortion? Kiesha was ultimately rescued by Ronnie (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine), who felt that was his purpose. Kiesha appeals to her mother, Nina (Tyla Abercrumbie) in that:

You know how people say everything happens for a reason? Ma, what if this happens for a reason? What if Ronnie's mom aborted him? What woulda happened to me? 

Nina doesn’t acknowledge such a poignant case for life. Nina also appeared to be favoring abortion, with her continuously asking if Kiesha really wanted to keep the baby. Fortunately, Kiesha stood firm.

A League of Its Own: Mrs. America

Naturally, FX on Hulu’s Mrs. America, Hollywood’s take on the late conservative figure Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett), was going to portray her as an “antihero.” The show also highlighted a prominent feminist each episode to do with normalizing abortion in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne), the subject of Episode 2, “Gloria,” is the “pretty face” of the movement. When asked at a launch party about Ms. Magazine’s abortion ads, she responds “until we have that right we can never truly be equal.”

The episode “Jill,” mostly centers around pro-choice Republican Jill Ruckelshaus (Elizabeth Banks). When Bob Dole was chosen as Gerald Ford’s running mate for the 1976 election, instead of her husband, Jill laments, “He [Dole] supported the pro-life plank.” The episode features her anguish over the rise of the pro-life conservative movement.

That episode also features the plight of secretaries being sexually harassed because Congressmen are asking them in job interviews if they engage in oral sex. But feminists choose their apparently more important cause of abortion over going public with what these women are being subject to.

When these women try to confide in Rep. Shirley Chrisholm (Uzo Aduba), she talks to and receives push back from Rep. Bella Azbug (Margo Martindale): 

I feel terrible for the secretaries, I really do, but Jim Buckley spends his days dreaming up ways to reverse Roe v. Wade. I’m gonna win that Senate seat and kick his ass back to Connecticut and that’s good for all women.

Not “all women” Bella claims to be fighting for agree on abortion. There is an agreement, though, that nobody deserves to be sexually harassed.

Not Pro-Abortion Enough?!?

Somehow, such propaganda wasn’t enough wasn't enough for Merritt Tierce and Neal Baer writing for Variety. They called for a more “honest abortion story,” because “Diverse stories are the gateway to promoting empathy, which can change attitudes and dissolve stigma.” 

Tierce and Baer clearly haven't watched the above television shows like those of us at NewsBusters have.

For an “honest abortion story” that is “diverse,” rather than just the one pro-abortion perspective television wants us to see, it would also include women experiencing not just the loss of their children, but suffering from psychological and physical effects, and from regret