Abortion and Pop Culture

When Knocked Up exhibited a genuine antipathy for abortion culture, I was somewhat surprised. Set in the heart of the "left coast", featuring a Jewish stoner and an E! anchorwoman (not exactly your typical pro-lifers), the film portrays termination not as something wrong, but as a fundamental non-choice. In a real way, that's much worse.

Then I saw Juno, which went a step further than Knocked Up: instead of giving abortion the "silent treatment", it presented a proactive critique. The "Clinic Scene" (which, I think, will receive extensive study in the future) is an exceptionally queasy look at pregnancy termination.

So, stepping back, what we see here is a culture with shifting perceptions of child-bearing. With death and destruction -- both abroad and at home -- characterizing the external world, it seems there's suddenly a social imperative to re-sanctify pregnancy, and thus reaffirm the value of life.

As I see it, this new (old) impulse, combined with an actual decline in U.S. abortion rates (especially among adolescents), is reason for cheer.

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