If Only Abortion Were as Rare In Real Life

Even the edgiest TV shows and movies—like the ones that nobody watches but that win all the awards—the topic of abortion is treated with kid gloves.  They’ll feature very special episodes in which a character gets unexpectedly pregnant and has to choose whether or not to have an abortion.  It’s a chance for all the characters to make big politically speeches and look tormented and do a lot of ACTING.  But in the end, they almost always choose to keep the baby.

That may seem like a positive thing, like the culture still tends toward life.  And that’s partly true, but Ross Douthat points out that it’s also an insidious ruse:

This omission is often cited as a victory for the pro-life movement, and in some cases that’s plainly true. (Recent unplanned-pregnancy movies like “Juno” and “Knocked Up” made abortion seem not only unnecessary but repellent.) But it can also be a form of cultural denial: a way of reassuring the public that abortion in America is — in Bill Clinton’s famous phrase — safe and legal, but also rare.

Rare it isn’t: not when one in five pregnancies ends at the abortion clinic.