Over the past few years, Hollywood has given us a handful of opportunities to see women on the big screen undergo an abortion procedure.
In 2014, the movie “Obvious Child” graced theaters across the country. Dubbed an “abortion comedy” (let’s hope this genre never catches on), the film featured a 20-something comedian who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand. Ultimately, she gets an abortion, and the movie is hailed as an “honest” look at the country’s most controversial social issue.
In late 2015, the television show “Scandal” included a scene where Kerry Washington’s character has an abortion. The scene was set to the tune “Silent Night,” and dubbed “iconic” by mainstream media. Planned Parenthood loved it and Slate called it a “rare accurate depiction.”
More recently, the show “Glow” featured an abortion scene with minimal dialogue and minimal detail. One abortion supporter called this an incredibly pro-woman scene with a tone that “ultimately feels real and, quite honestly, right.” The episode shows the character, Ruth, justifying the abortion by declaring that it’s “not the right baby.” The view sees Ruth staring at the ceiling as she gets an abortion while the show ends. Planned Parenthood called this honest and authentic.
These depictions of abortion have been roundly celebrated by abortion supporters for the way they injected the abortion discussion into the everyday life of the average viewer. Persons who support allowing women to choose abortion are thrilled to have abortion portrayed in such a positive light and in front of such a large number of people. The chance for everyone to see that abortion is both innocent and harmless is a clear reason for advocates to cheer.
But were these scenes as honest as abortion supporters want us to believe? Were they an authentic depiction of abortion and what happens during the procedure?
None of These Scenes Actually Showed an Abortion
These scenes are noteworthy because they all have one thing in common: none actually shows an abortion. In each of the scenes, the camera stays on the woman’s face while the doctor aborts the preborn child out of sight from the camera. The woman are given little or no information on their preborn child or provided any explanation of how abortion works or the procedure being used.
It’s incredibly misleading to claim that any of these honestly depict an abortion when none of them depicts an abortion at all. In some instances they show a woman grappling with a decision that is no doubt very difficult, but in no valid way can they be said to accurately portray abortion.
Now, one could contend that it would be inadvisable to actually show an abortion on screen. Abortion advocates will say that because it’s a so-called medical procedure. It’s quite graphic, and such graphic depictions have no place onscreen. That may be true in some cases, but the argument doesn’t hold for movies. It’s also clear that Hollywood has no trouble releasing graphic, envelope-pushing content, so the claim that abortion is too graphic can be easily dismissed.
One might also contend that people have no interest in seeing medical procedures onscreen. But even if that’s true, the person would never then claim to see have seen an honest or accurate depiction of a procedure when no procedure had been shown and no discussion of the procedure had taken place.
Would any of us claim that we had seen an honest portrayal of a triple bypass if we saw nothing more than a man’s face on an operating table? Would we claim that we had seen an authentic depiction of an appendectomy after watching a woman saying, “Yes, I’m sure this is what I need to do” as she enters the operating room and the episode ends?
Few people would claim that either of those scenarios represented any sort of meaningful depiction of the given medical procedure. The same is true with abortion. Claiming that one has seen an honest portrayal of abortion after seeing a woman staring at the ceiling on an operating table is misleading and untrue.
If Hollywood Did Depict Abortion Honestly
But what if Hollywood did show an honest depiction of abortion? Imagine if Hollywood decided to provide its viewers with an authentic, honest look at an abortion. How would that look?
For starters, the woman would be provided education regarding her “condition.” She would be provided an ultrasound to determine how far along she is in the pregnancy. This is necessary to determine what abortion procedure should be used. She would then be given information on the development of the fetus (a.k.a. the preborn child), and information regarding the procedure that would be used to complete the abortion given the child’s gestational age.
Then, instead of showing the woman’s face during the procedure, they would show what is happening inside the uterus. It would show us the remains of the child after the abortion has been completed, and what happens to those remains. If it’s just a standard medical procedure that a woman has a right to, there should be no problem with showing how it works, right?
After all, few people would object, on principle, to seeing a human heart after it has been removed. Even if it made them nauseous, objectors would not see it as inappropriate or inhumane. This type of honesty and openness about the abortion procedure would help the average viewer understand the nature and truth of abortion on a deeper level.
Lastly, after the abortion is complete, the woman would be provided information on recovery times, potential side effects to watch for, and any other follow-up instructions. Now, that would be an honest look at abortion. And of course, it will never happen.
Why Hollywood Will Never Be Honest About Abortion
Hollywood will never be this honest because the truth about abortion is that it’s not simply removing a human body part, it’s a human being. That human has its own DNA, its own body parts, and its own life. It’s far easier to simply dismiss the preborn child as a “blob of tissue” or a “clump of cells” than to legitimately talk about the biology of fetal development. Hollywood will never show an actual abortion because it would remove all doubt about whether abortion takes the life of an innocent human being.
Hollywood will never be this honest because it knows abortion is not just a standard medical procedure, it’s a violent act of aggression against a tiny human being who cannot defend himself. Former abortion clinic director Abby Johnson often tells the story of why she left her lucrative career, and it centers on her experience of seeing an unborn child on an ultrasound machine move away from the instrument the abortionist had inserted into the woman’s uterus. In that moment, Johnson saw the truth of abortion, and the violence of an abortion procedure. Hollywood will never show an abortion because it can’t risk too many people having that type of experience.
Hollywood will never be this honest about abortion because it would have to come out from hiding behind the veneer of “women’s rights” and “my body, my choice.” It would have to cast aside the pleasantries of “reproductive health” and face the reality that abortion doesn’t simply affect a woman, it affects an unborn child who is growing inside her.
It’s far easier to simply show the face of the woman and forget that there is even a child there with whom to be concerned. But an honest portrayal of abortion would need to acknowledge that a human life is taken, and would require even the most ardent supporters of abortion to acknowledge the violence of an abortion procedure.
Hollywood has a long history of supporting women’s choice of abortion. But even in today’s climate of radical selfism, it would be far too dangerous to show the truth of an abortion procedure. The truth has a tendency to change minds when it reaches people, and if people were to see the truth of abortion, it’s likely that many would cease to support the practice.
What Happens When People See the Truth
To that end, pro-life advocacy group Live Action has been working in conjunction with former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino to create a series of animated videos showing various types of abortion procedures. Even cartoon depictions of abortion procedures are jarring, and the videos have caused people to change their minds about abortion on the spot. It is no surprise that when individuals are confronted with the reality of abortion and what it does to a preborn child, their eyes are opened to the injustice. It would be difficult to watch the videos and continue to see abortion as a legitimate choice.
To make sure that abortion does continue as a legal and legitimate choice, people who advocate for the practice have a vested interest in making sure that the reality stays hidden. The abortion industry has long hidden behind a veil of dishonesty, and Hollywood has certainly contributed to that. To expose the truth of abortion would undermine the foundation of deception on which the abortion industry rests, and Hollywood surely has no interest in that.
So as abortion becomes less of a taboo topic, we can expect to see more of it from filmmakers and show writers. In each case, we will likely continue to hear about how honest the writers and directors are in depicting the woman’s choice to abort. But we can be sure that we will never be exposed to the ins and outs of what happens during an abortion procedure.
Such a depiction would be anathema in a place such as Hollywood, which has a long history of promoting abortion and the abortion industry. Forcing viewers to grapple with the violence of an abortion procedure is not something we should expect from Hollywood.