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TV and abortion: some good news and bad news…

January 27th, 2010 · 1 Comment

I’ve never forgiven television’s hesitance to shy away from the word “abortion.” Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, it’s a reality, it’s an issue a lot of people care about…and it’s not like women are going to go rush out and have an abortion just because they hear the actual word and not some “shmashmortion” substitute. I understand the fear of the pro-life lobby, and let’s not even get into the fact that nobody actually has an abortion on TV. But come on–are we so puritanical that we have to muzzle even the word?

Happily, this seems to be changing. The week of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (last Friday the 22nd), there were two, count em two shows! that wrestled with abortion in (according to Women & Hollywood blogger Melissa Silverstein) a respectful and nuanced way. SPOILER: one teen has an abortion, one doesn’t. But still–progress. I’m sure the pattern of most women either choosing to carry, conveniently miscarrying (remember Kelly’s miscarriage on the old 90210?), or feeling horrible guilt (like Claire from Six Feet Under) is not going away. But at the very least it seems like there are honest discussions going on about young women and the reality of their sexual choices.

Now for the bad news: as you may have heard, Focus on the Family, an anti-choice group, will run the first-ever anti-abortion Superbowl ad since Sunday. It features Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, who cleverly (and maddeningly) is framing it as a noble, personal choice: “Some people won’t agree with it, you know, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe,” he said.

The thing is: I wouldn’t be so mad if CBS had a habit of airing advocacy ads. But they don’t. In fact, they have a strict policy not to. They’ve rejected ads for being “too controversial” from, PETA, and the United Church of Christ, the last of which is the most benign religious ad I’ve ever seen! (Watch the ad after the jump.)

SO: up until this week, television shows were afraid to even say the word abortion–but CBS can make room for an extreme rightwing organization’s ad condemning it.

I know, I know…it’s all about money. But damn. I was trying to be less cynical in 2010.

Tags: Young Women in the Media

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