Thursday, December 30, 2010

"No Easy Decision"

The other night, MTV aired an episode of their show 16 and Pregnant titled "No Easy Decision." Dr. Drew Pinsky interviewed three women about their experience with abortion. if you missed it, you can view it here.

I don't watch too much TV, but a former roommate of mine watched 16 and Pregnant all the damn time, so I'm more familiar with it than I'd be otherwise. As someone who is adamantly pro-choice, I couldn't help but notice that abortion was never mentioned as a viable option for any of the women whose stories were featured on the show.

So when I heard about this episode, I decided to tune in. I was intrigued. Skeptical, but intrigued.

Overall, I was impressed with how MTV handled the subject. I'm bummed that they didn't air it prime time. And I wish it had been longer than thirty minutes. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't all walking on eggshells. And they managed to cover a lot of ground despite the time constraints. Natalia, for example, got the judicial bypass. As feminist Shelby Knox tweeted the night the show aired, "Kudos to MTV for talking about how parental notification effects [sic] women."

But of course, there's been backlash. CNN's Brooke Baldwin said that Markai "got herself pregnant." And Bryan Kemper of Life News couldn't get his facts straight. In an article titled "Youth Pro-Life Leaders Respond to MTV's Abortion Episode," he twisted the words/emotions of the three women and decided that they must have regretted their decision to abort.

Katie Stack, who was one of the three women interviewed, responded to that by writing a blog post. In it, she explained that she didn't cry on camera because she regrets having an abortion, but because she loves her family and felt badly for hiding something so important from them for such a long time.

By speaking out, she's doing her part to end the stigma attached to abortion. To me, her blog post was just as brave as her willingness to talk about her abortion experience on television. Her explanation should not have been necessary. Why the hell should she have to legitimize her tears to anyone, least of all an anti-choicer who couldn't even put the effort into getting his facts straight? But she took the time to explain herself anyway.

And I'm so very glad about that, because as much as I wish people would just respect others' decisions, these are the very stories women need to tell if we're ever going to succeed in putting a face on the issue, and make people understand that pro-choice is not pro-abortion. If anything, her display of emotion should serve as evidence that this truly is not an easy choice to make.

As Katie so aptly pointed out in the interview, "It's a parenting decision."

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