Cultural magazine Marie Claire has called upon Hollywood to include more storylines about parents having abortions in film and television.
In a lengthy article published last week, Danielle Campoamor lamented that too many mothers in search of an abortion do not have enough examples illustrated for them in mainstream Hollywood offerings.
“Countless studies have highlighted the importance of representation in the media, be it race, gender, relationships, body size and shape, mental health, or disability status,” she wrote. “The same is true of abortion—a safe medical procedure one in four women (as well as trans men and non-binary people) will have by the time they’re 45.”
Campoamor shared the story of Kay Winston, a 27-year-old from Texas, who abruptly became pregnant with her second child just two months after giving birth to her first child. “It was the very first abortion that I had, and I had a perspective that was very blind,” Winston told the magazine. “I was just going off what I knew, what people told me, [and] what I did and didn’t see on television. And I was scared.”
According to the Campoamor, Winston’s frightening situation could have been curtailed if only Hollywood had included more stories that reflected her reality. Though Hollywood has not avoided stories centering on abortion, the industry has largely moved away from such stories in recent years. In fact, a 2020 study from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) showed that only 12 films and 31 television shows released that year had abortion storylines.
Merritt Tierce, a showrunner, said that this discrepancy in representation could be curtailed if television shows started casually introducing abortion into the storyline rather than making it the sole focus. For instance, instead of building all the drama around a potential abortion, the new modus operandi would have a secondary character talk about getting one as if they just had an appendix removed.
With the onset of streaming, television shows have virtually no inhibitors when it comes to pushing abortion propaganda now that creators are no longer held accountable to ratings. So long as Netflix can continue pulling in quarterly subscription revenues of up to $7.6 billion, shows like “GLOW” and “Orange is the New Black” can insert abortion messaging at any time with little or no financial blowback … that is until fed-up Americans outright pull the plug on their subscriptions and send Netflix stock into the toilet.
Though streaming television might be a safer bet for industry executives to push abortion propaganda, the movie industry has avoided the controversial topic of abortion in most nationwide theatrical releases due to its toxicity at the box office. Despite widespread critical acclaim, the two biggest pro-abortion movies of the last decade — “Obvious Child” and “Grandma” — were financial flops; on the flipside, films that feature women opting out of an abortion, such as the 2007 Oscar-nominated “Juno,” have enjoyed box office success. The axiom “get woke, go broke” still very much applies to the film industry.