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WaPo Writer Demands TV ‘Treat’ Abortion as ‘Routine Medical Procedure’

by | Nov 6, 2015

By Katie Yoder

babybumpribbonsAbortion belongs in entertainment, according to one Washington Post writer.

In her Nov. 2 story, Washington Post opinion writer Alyssa Rosenberg called on television shows to “treat” abortion as a “routine medical procedure.” She celebrated three shows for presenting a “glimmer of refreshing honesty” with abortion: CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, CW’s Jane the Virgin and FXX’s You’re the Worst.

To begin her piece, Rosenberg argued that because TV shows flaunt “visually explicit” sex scenes, they should do the same for abortion.

“[T]he shows that feature these sex scenes haven’t always been as frank about the things that can happen after two people spend the night together,” she began. But, she hyped, this Fall, “a few shows have demonstrated a glimmer of refreshing honesty in their willingness to at least mention a subject about which pop culture has been oddly, depressingly coy: abortion.”

Rosenberg proceeded to applaud three shows that recently offered abortion screen time.

Beginning with CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rosenberg praised the show for offering “an acknowledgement that if a teenage girl got pregnant and didn’t want to be, abortion would be a reasonable alternative for her.”

petra1She next turned to CW’s Jane the Virgin. After a character (Petra) inseminates herself to make another character (Rafael) fall in love with her, she outlines three options to him:

“One, I get an abortion. Two, in the next month or so, I find someone. Let’s say a Russian oligarch, I sleep with him, tell him the baby’s his, we settle in Russia, and you both get to say goodbye to me forever. Or three, I stay here in Miami and we raise him or her together.”

With abortion as a possibility, Rosenberg gushed, “[that]actually makes the idea of abortion seem more rational.” (Not sure “rational” is the right word for a woman who inseminated herself… with a turkey baster.)

And when characters decide to keep the baby in the end, “they do it less because they or the show are anti-abortion than because they want to be the kind of people who would at least try to keep their unconventional family together,” Rosenberg insisted.

Last but not least, Rosenberg pointed to FXX’s You’re The Worst.

When one character (Gretchen) finds out that her friend (Heather) is pregnant, she assumes her friend will get an abortion: “I wonder what abobos even cost these days. I should go with her! We could get post-abobo mani-pedis.”

She keeps pressing her friend to get an abortion until she finds out (surprise!) her friend doesn’t want one.

Rosenberg reacted:

“Gretchen’s sin isn’t having had abortions, or volunteering to help a friend obtain an abortion, or even being cavalier about the prospect of having an abortion. It’s that she is dramatically out of touch with the women she claims as close friends…”

Not exactly a winning character to promote abortion with. But that didn’t keep Rosenberg from parading the show.

“Without containing an actual abortion,” Rosenberg said, the episode “is the closest television’s gotten to a neutral, or even positive, abortion story in the years since I’ve been a critic.”

Odd that a critic missed shows like HBO’s Girls, ABC’s Scandal, CBS’ The Good Wife, Netflix’s Orange is the New Black or even films like Obvious Child and Grandma – all of which have more-than-touched on abortion this year and last.

In the end, Rosenberg wanted TV shows to normalize the destruction of unborn babies into a sort of “routine” surgery.

“We’re still a long way away from abortion being treated like a routine medical procedure on American television,” she concluded. (Again, she must have missed some of the shows above.)

But, until then, her three shows – in which none of the characters choose abortion – “suggest that at least some television shows are displaying a nascent sort of courage that’s been missing from the medium for quite some time.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at

Categories: Abortion