Washington Post Examines Recent Films That Avoid Abortion Issues

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Avoid Abortion

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The Washington Post'sAnn Hornaday on Sunday examined the recent films "Waitress" and"Knocked Up," both of which "choose not to deal" with the subject ofabortion. According to Hornaday, the films are "predicated on unplannedpregnancies and both confect ... reasons for their female protagoniststo carry their unwanted babies to term."

Although both femalecharacters "have their reasons" for choosing to carry their pregnanciesto term, in "neither movie is the choice portrayed as just that -- anexplicit choice," Hornaday writes. This setup has "some viewers" --particularly women who "came of age" after Roe v. Wade,the 1973 Supreme Court decision that effectively barred state abortionbans --"wondering just what world these movies are living in,"according to Hornaday. Jennifer Merin, president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and a New York Pressfilm writer, said it is "shocking that the subject of abortion as achoice has been so eliminated from the discussion." She adds that filmsare "always afraid of anything deemed too controversial. They thinkthat if they talk about abortion, these women will not be liked by thepeople they perceive as being the majority."

In "today'sclimate of culture wars and self-censoring, it seems impossible that amovie could be so explicit about an issue that, while undoubtedlycontested, has enjoyed roughly steady levels of support over theyears," Hornaday writes, adding that the two movies "choose to skirtwhat for most people is a vexingly complex personal and politicalissue" (Hornaday, Washington Post, 7/15).
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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Women's Health Policy Report, search thearchives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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