Ever-vigilant to keep controversial issues in the pop-culture limelight, CW has once again featured abortion on an episode of one of their shows, a musical comedy called “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” Per usual, the show’s writers paint babies as inconvenient: Paula has an abortion because having a baby will complicate going to law school and becoming an attorney.
The show works so hard to make abortion seem routine that the scenario not only comes off as unrealistic, but marginalizes women who’ve struggled in the aftermath of abortion. While it’s fine to make a generally taboo subject like abortion part of a plot or subplot, the strange treatment of it in this case seems more like propaganda than art.
The Subplot: Career Versus Children
The argument that children are inconvenient to a woman’s work pursuits has long been a part of the Left’s pro-abortion armory. It’s so predictable, it’s almost tiresome. In the 1970s and even ’80s, when workplaces were more rigid, the Internet was barely a blip on a screen, and men greatly outnumbered women in the workforce, it made some logical (although not moral) sense.
Now, however, more women than men are earning college degrees, mothers are increasingly in the workforce, and the wonder of the Internet has allowed women (and men) to create work that’s flexible, so they can parent and work more easily.
But that hasn’t stopped CW from creating the prosaic scenario wherein Paula, Rebecca’s best friend, considers an abortion because a baby will interfere with her dreams to go to law school and become an attorney. A career in law is a new pursuit for Paula, and she learns of her pregnancy soon after making it. Since she already has children with her husband, Paula immediately decides she now can’t go to law school while pregnant.
Of course it wouldn’t be easy, but it’s not impossible. In fact, a good friend of mine did this. Stephanie Tackett earned a nursing degree, then went to law school when her firstborn was only nine months old.
“My law school friends helped babysit him when I had classes during the day. It was good for all of us,” she told me. Not only was it possible, she thinks her baby helped her succeed (although she had to work hard). “Having him kept me focused. It just made me work harder for my goal.” Her firstborn law-school baby is now a wide receiver on his high school football team. Tackett has three thriving, adorable girls—oh, and she’s practicing law, after working as a nurse part-time when her children were young. Now isn’t that more inspirational than aborting your child because he may have interfered with a career aspiration?
Options Means Abortion Isn’t the Only Answer
In “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” Paula’s husband opposes his wife’s decision to forget law school just because of a baby. When Paula refers to abortions as “those options…for teenagers the month after winter formal,” he encourages her to explore them. Explore she does—by this, I mean she terminates her baby.
As The Muse reports, “The next time we see Paula, she’s lying in bed, looking resolved though a little tired. The procedure has already happened and she shows no signs of regret or shame, nor does her husband or children. In fact, when the pizza delivery man rings their doorbell, her typically lazy teenage son casually remarks, ‘Mom, I’ll get it since you just had an abortion.’”
Later, when her friend Rebecca comes over, Paula doesn’t even mention the pregnancy or abortion, it was so ho-hum. Even The Muse found this odd: “Instead, she brushes it off as nothing because—despite this being a procedure experienced by a huge percentage of women—she is either too caught up on the idea that married mothers don’t have abortions (they do!) or her role of playing second fiddle to Rebecca and her overwhelming problems.”
This is so far from reality. Studies show women experience a range of emotions following abortion, including grief, sadness, and anger. Scenes like this also undermine the experiences of most women. It’s absolutely normal to grieve loss—and women who desire a baby grieve if they conceive and miscarry. Why wouldn’t a mother grieve if she aborted a child, even if she did so because she thought it was best? Showing a character aborting her baby then ordering pizza with her family like any ‘ol Friday night is disingenuous at best, and marginalizing to other grieving moms at worst.
Normalizing Abortion Is a Trend in Entertainment
This isn’t the first time television shows have included subplots with women having abortions. CW recently featured abortion in another show, “Jane the Virgin.” The Muse counted this “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” episode, particularly Paula’s lack of guilt and “the importance of normalized depictions of abortions and the women who get them” as a positive thing.
Yes, it is a part of life, albeit a tragic one, and as such, perhaps should appear onscreen. Yet why not write scenes that depict the issue honestly? In essence, cut out the Hollywood agenda that aims to depict abortions as everyday occurrences like stubbing a toe.
For example, while abortions still occur, and they’re still a controversial issue, they’re actually at their lowest rate since Roe v. Wade. Abortion is nowhere near as common as many people think. Ever since the House Oversight Committee found last year Planned Parenthood had been selling and profiting from aborted baby parts and didn’t need federal funding, abortion facilities nationwide have been closing. Pro-life clinics have popped up in their place. This has likely contributed to the decline in abortions.
So despite the fact that abortion isn’t an everyday occurrence, nor is it undramatic or mundane, Hollywood continues to shove it into audiences’ faces, especially young ones, making it appear everything from normal to hip. Pushing this agenda relentlessly and dishonestly feels tiresome, if not aggravating. It’s almost as if “art imitating life” isn’t exciting enough, or they’re flipping the script in hopes life will imitate art.
If networks like CW want to show what it’s like to have an abortion, perhaps they should consider nixing their agenda and describe it like it really is: a painful decision that ends a baby’s life and often grieves his mom. Viewers might not only relate to this more, it might actually encourage them to look at abortion for what it is—a traumatic act for mom and baby—and consider viewing baby as a benefit to career, art, and life, like my friend Stephanie and her now-16 year-old son.
Why not write more scenes that feature truthful, inspirational stories like hers? Choosing life doesn’t have to sound mundane. In fact, it’s increasingly more common and inspiring.