Pro-abortion columns are notorious for lacking facts and building bad faith strawmen to knock down, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen such a poorly constructed argument in a major paper like The Washington Post. If you're going to call for more baby slaughter on entertainment TV, put some thought into it.
Even the premise of the article is ridiculous. Apparently, the author just happened to be watching a show from 2019 that had an unexpectedly pregnant character and so she decided to rant about there not being enough abortions on TV. What editor authorizes an op-ed based on an obscure show that’s years old and includes no research to back up its hypothesis or make it relevant to today?
Somehow, on Friday afternoon, the WaPo powers that be allowed a Kate Cohen article to be published online complaining that the 2019 Netflix series Atypical did not include the preborn baby slaughter she’d wanted.
“Dammit!” she griped. “I was hoping that the young, professional woman, upon learning she was pregnant right after her jerky boyfriend left her, might decide to have an abortion … I’m so tired of this,” she whined.
Cohen’s a pretty big fan of abortion, which she calls a “legitimate” and “common” choice, even going so far as to say, “it’s not only health care … It’s freedom care.”
So deep is her love for abortion that she complained about too many on-screen “unwanted,” “disruptive” pregnancies being brought to term – “It’s all of them together that make me crazy.” But, indicating a disinterest in due diligence, all of her examples were quite old.
She cited three movies from 2007 (Knocked Up, Waitress, and Juno), along with TV shows that aren’t even on the air anymore:
- Friends (ended in 2004, unexpected pregnancy announced 2001): Did she really expect Rachel to abort Ross’ baby?
- Modern Family (ended 2020 – unexpected pregnancy announced 2018): I know the show’s progressive, but it’s a sweet, family comedy.
- Girls (ended and unexpected pregnancy announced 2017): Cohen would be happy to know that abortion was portrayed flippantly in 2015.
- Glee (ended 2015 - unexpected pregnancies announced in 2009 and 2012) :This one might have made sense. Maybe Ryan Murphy was too focused on pushing gay themes.
- The Mindy Project (ended 2017, unexpected pregnancy announced 2015): Pro-abortion fanatics were upset at the time that the comedy about an OB-GYN didn’t feature abortion.
She also mentioned Gilmore Girls, which ran until 2007, but probably meant the 2016 revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life where the cliffhanger was that Rory was pregnant. She categorized that one as “(Rory, implied)” but actually, the showrunner subsequently said she was considering an abortion plot if the show were to continue.
After a less than complete recounting of unplanned pregnancies on TV in the last 20 years, Cohen decided that there’s not enough abortion on TV now, based on nothing more than her own feelings.
In fact, if she had made any attempt at research, she would have found that in 2019, The New York Times said abortions were “unapologetically” on TV “at record levels.” If she is still stuck in the past consuming media from 2019, I can also offer her the news that in that year, actress, director, and producer Elizabeth Banks joined the Creative Council at the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) to “help destigmatize abortion by sharing and supporting women's stories” in the entertainment industry. Or maybe she could read her own outlet’s The Washington Post Magazine piece that same year about “abortion rights…winning in Hollywood” because of Planned Parenthood consultants.
But Cohen, who wrote this column based on her own outdated anecdotes, with no statistics, facts or interviews to back her up, had the audacity to lecture, “Those who contribute to the cultural space have a responsibility to consider the historical and political context into which their work will land.” Maybe she should look in the mirror.
She then demanded writers, directors and producers virtue signal their abortion support in their scripts, lest people believe they are – *shudder* – pro-lifers:
If that’s what you believe — that getting an abortion is wrong — then, by all means, continue to concoct plots in which women decide to have the babies they didn’t want. But if it’s not, please tell us different stories. Stories in which characters are happy with their decision to end a pregnancy, as most women who choose to do so are in real life.
She did acknowledge a few movies and TV episodes that featured “safe, judgment-free abortion”, such as 2014’s “abortion romantic comedy” film Obvious Child, Grey’s Anatomy (2011), and Jane the Virgin (2016), along with shows MRC Culture’s On TV Blog reported on:
- Scandal (2015): Set the main character’s (Kerry Washington) abortion to “Silent Night.”
- GLOW (2017): The main character (Alison Brie) justified her abortion by saying, “It’s not the right baby.”
- Shrill (2019): The main character (Aidy Bryant) claimed to feel “really, really good…very fucking powerful” after her abortion.
- Sex Education (2019): The main character (Emma Mackey) said, “Nothing says ‘Happy Abortion’ like a bouquet.”
Of the pro-abortion shows, Cohen said, “We need much more of this:”
My personal favorite is “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” in which we find out what Paula decided to do about the pregnancy that threatened her law school plans when the doorbell rings and her son calls out, “Mom, I’ll get it, since you just had an abortion.”
Presumably she liked Crazy Ex-Girlfriend so much because abortion was treated so casually. When the On TV Blog covered the episode in 2016, we wrote: “Wow. That’s stomach turning. What a sick way to present a family dealing with a very selfish decision to end a life with an abortion – working the subject into casual conversation like it is nothing unusual at all.”
Here are some other pro-abortion TV episodes from the last few years that Cohen must not know about but would absolutely LOVE for how they crassly celebrated or casually treated abortion:
- A character on Claws celebrated her abortion by telling pro-life activists, “We D&C’d that shit, bitch!”
- Teen drama Degrassi: Next Class celebrated an abortion with ice cream.
- On Veep, a pregnant character yelled at pro-life activists, “You can back the fuck off, you hypocritical cunts!” outside before yelling at the abortionist inside, “Less talk, more abortion!”
- The Netflix cartoon BoJack Horseman mocked pro-lifers with the song “Get Dat Fetus, Kill Dat Fetus,” before treating an abortion as no big deal.
- The Morning Show had the anchor played by Reese Witherspoon admitting to a teen abortion that was called an “inspiring story.”
- Netflix’s Big Mouth promoted Planned Parenthood and abortion with music and comedy.
- A character on Roswell, New Mexico said, “I choose” abortion to “set myself free.”
- On Starz’s Vida the sisters bonded over taking the abortion pill.
- And for films, let’s not forget the “funny” and “brilliant” Grandma (2015) and “sweet” teen “abortion road trip movie” UNpregnant (2020).
Cohen got this so wrong that a pro-abortion university researcher who studies abortion on TV and film even called out her article from the left in a thread that was turned into a Twitter Event.
She said it was a “curious op-ed … that ignores 10 years of research on abortion on tv. Yes, there are fewer abortions onscreen than in real life. But they're there, increasingly portrayed by characters of color,” and concluded, “I hope future op-eds will cite the available research, make less simplistic arguments, and focus on what tv/film can do to improve on portrayals to better reflect reality. Or: watch some TV shows with characters of color and do some googling before writing.”
You know it’s bad when the right and the left agree a column supporting abortion is lazy and unsubstantiated. Unfortunately, either way, Cohen will get her wish: more abortion propaganda from the entertainment industry.