Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Abortion on TV

I found out recently that the a couple of shows, both on major networks, produced episodes featuring abortion as a main story line. And not only did the story lines feature abortion, both characters had an abortion. One of them was shown on tv, the other did not.

Friday Night Lights, not a show I've ever watched before, centers around high school football in a fictional (smallish?) town in Texas. While football is the main story line, there are, of course, various personal story lines. One of them involves two teenagers, Luke and Becky.

"I Can't" centers mostly around Becky finding out she's pregnant and trying to figure out if at 15 she wants to have a baby or have an abortion. While during the episode Becky is obviously torn up about the abortion and telling her mom (who was a teen mom), she seems pretty clear throughout on her decision. She does find solace in the support and objective counseling of the high school football coach's wife, Tami, who doesn't try to talk her out of her decision but does encourage Becky to tell her mom after asking if it's safe for Becky to do so.

The show doesn't delve into a lot of specifics but does a pretty good job of portraying the story realistically and objectively. There's a brief scene with a doctor, at the clinic where Becky will have her abortion, giving the state mandated counseling. Like I said it doesn't go into specifics, so we don't see too much of the counseling process. I do think the show gave a pretty well rounded view, albeit packed tightly into an hour tv show that dedicates much of it's time to various story lines. I can't find any clips to put on the website, but I saw it on the NBC website and thought it was a pretty good episode that portrayed an abortion experience objectively.

The other show, had a slightly different portrayal of an abortion experience - the Family Guy. The Family Guy is a satirical cartoon, made for adults, that isn't afraid to take any controversial topic and poke some fun.

In the episode, "Partial Terms of Endearment", which Fox won't air but is coming out on dvd, Lois goes to a class reunion and runs into an old friend. This friend asks her to be a surrogate for her and her husband. Lois agrees and an embryo is successfully implanted in Lois' uterus. However, not long after, Lois' friend and husband are killed in a car accident. Lois isn't sure what to do and ultimately decides to have an abortion. While Lois does have the abortion in the end, there is a moment where Peter, her husband, tries to convince her not to have the abortion after talking to anti-abortion protesters outside the clinic. This leads me to my favorite scene from this episode. I did watch the entire episode, broken into parts on You Tube.


  1. Ha. I guess Ziggy the Zygote is a parody of Judy?

    God bless you, Seth MacFarlane.

  2. Hmmm, a lot of Family Guy/MacFarlane stuff bothers the crap out of me, but not this so much -- it's a pretty tightly-pegged satire of those crappy fetus-fetish videos. You can tell the writers actually watched the originals.


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