K, so I love watching bad TV. I love watching all the soapy prime time shows and procedurals that make you groan, laugh, cry, and once in a while give you something that you’ve been really wanting to see represented.
It’s no secret that when it comes to abortion on the small screen, it’s never well represented. Most instances that I can think off the top of my head, minus Degrassi, have the character change her mind and keep her baby at the last second…something I like to call the Fingernail Bait-and-Switch. Other times it’s a magical miscarriage that happens beforehand. When abortion is involved and really does happen, there’s usually some kind of consequence to the people involved in the form of regret (because you can only be a good post abortive woman if you are solemn about it) or in the case of Friday Night Lights suffer career penalties. That is some bullshit.
So imagine my trepidation during last year’s season finale of Grey’s when Christina Yang got pregnant….again. She immediately made it clear that she didn’t want this. Of course they made it a huge blow out between her and her husband, Owen Hunt (played by my favourite Scottish red head, Kevin McKidd……don’t judge). They gave him pretty much the typical MRA sanctioned crap about how much say he has to have and that she is ruining his dreams (well, hello trolls who were actively googling for feminists who mention MRAs!). It ended with him throwing her out of their place and it was left all up in the air. I remember damn near screaming that she better not change her mind or have another magical TV ectopic pregnancy and that this show, despite some of it’s problematic crap, would go through with it.
Tonight I got my wish. The last scene with Christina and Owen involved them just before the start of the procedure, the OBGYN asking her for the last time if this is what she wanted, her nodding yes and the two of them holding hands. Of course you had some in between ranging from an obvious plot anvil in the form of a husband and wife fighting it out, only to have the husband cut the wife’s leg off to save her. But I think the more poignant, true and straight forward message sent in the episode was when the lead, Meredith gave it straight to Owen. Her mother, as she said, was a Christina. She grew up with her mother’s resentment that having her ruined her career. She was unwanted and the guilt her mother felt was unbearable.
The anti-choice movement does not like to acknowledge this reality. Instead they pretend it never happens and like to unfurl the adoption banner. If you tell them it happens, well…those women are just terrible people (and for the most part blah blah acting against what God intended blah). However, we need to talk about this more. There are women out there raising children they never wanted and dying inside. There are women who may have been pressured to continue the pregnancy and never recovering from being coerced into gestation. This happens, and it doesn’t always turn out for the best like the other side says. We have women and children suffering because we are not socially allowed to be frank, open, and accepting that the option is there. Post abortive women are not normalized and treated like pariahs if they are so bold to know what they want with their body and not regret it one bit. But you know what? It’s a choice. It exists. Women choose it. They have not sprouted horns and the greater number of them continue on with life. Just because some fetus worshipper knows a woman who knows a woman who totes killed herself after an abortion or is apparently haunted forever(they ALL know one), doesn’t mean that it defines every woman’s experience. It also shouldn’t legislate every woman’s experience.
To the anti-choicers who want to get up in arms about it, deal with it. If you actually have children’s best interests at heart and want to protect the innocent, then get the fuck off the internet and go help some actual kids that you’ve been neglecting in favour of harassing women for not conforming to your sandwich making ideals.
This is something that a third of women do. It’s about time that we see it for what it is and remove the ridiculous hushed-up stigma about it. More than anything, it’s about time that we’re represented on the small screen. Now hopefully the season will move forward without any of those pesky post-abortive regrets and fake consequences. I’d like to see Christina Fucking Yang back the way she is intended to be….and that Owen will be less of a jerk.
So my dear readers, what media examples of abortion have you given praise? Which ones have really pissed you off?