It’s been a helluva a year for women in America. The Catholic Church hates us. Anne-Marie Slaughter told us we couldn’t have it all. A member of Congress thinks our bodies can shut down unwanted pregnancies. And the vice presidential candidate of the United States of America believes that rape is just another form of conception. Plus, some Republicans are trying to de-fund Planned Parenthood, which is, in my opinion, one of the greatest organizations in our supposedly awesome country.
One of the major reasons Republicans are anti-Planned Parenthood is because it is a place that provides abortions. The thing is, Republicans don’t seem to know a whole lot about abortion.
It’s easy to advise adoption or stepping up to keep a surprise baby when it’s not your own. Fictional movies and TV shows make it seem easy and fun to jump into motherhood when you aren’t prepared. (See: Juno, Knocked Up) But there are plenty of real-life situations where that’s not the best decision. And when abortion is illegal bad things happen to women. Here, eight mainstream flicks that teach important lessons about abortion.
Abortion-related plot point: Resort dancer Penny gets pregnant after having sex with waiter Robbie, who doesn’t want anything to do with her or the baby, so she gets an illegal abortion. The procedure was done inadequately and Jerry Orbach has to swoop in and save the day.
Lesson: Illegal abortions can often get botched, which threatens the life of the mother.
Abortion-related plot point: Vera Drake is a backroom abortionist in 1950. After one of her patients nearly dies, Vera is arrested and eventually sentenced to a longer-than-usual jail stay to set an example for others.
Lesson: Even if abortions are illegal, women will find a way to get them. Why is this bad? See point #1.
The Ides of March
Abortion-related plot point: After a clandestine relationship with a presidential candidate, a campaign intern gets an abortion and then kills herself.
Lesson: Abortions are harrowing decisions made under great duress and cause intense emotional strain.
Cider House Rules
Abortion-related plot point: A young girl is raped by her father and becomes pregnant. Despite being against abortions, Homer Wells performs one.
Lesson: Sometimes, there are very good reasons for women to get abortions. Rape is one of them.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Abortion-related plot point: Fifteen-year-old Stacy gets pregnant and asks the father, Damone, to pay for half of the abortion and give her a ride to the clinic. He blows her off and she is forced to pay for the procedure on her own.
Lesson: Women oftentimes wind up getting really screwed over by the men who impregnate them. If a man won’t show up to drive her to the doctor, what makes you think they’ll live happily ever after as a nuclear family?
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
Abortion-related plot point: Two students in Communist Romania arrange an illegal abortion. The girls are forced to have sex with the abortionist before he will perform the procedure.
Lesson: When abortion is illegal, it is extremely easy for women to be taken advantage of.
Abortion-related plot point: Ruth is an unfit mother of four who learns she is pregnant after being arrested for drug charges. A judge agrees to give her a lesser sentence if she has an abortion and soon, Ruth is at the middle of a nation-wide debate about abortion.
Lesson: Even when abortion is legal, there is no reason why anyone has to get one. It’s still a choice.
If These Walls Could Talk
Abortion-related plot point: Three different women from three different eras receive abortions amidst assorted strife.
Lesson: This is an issue that isn’t going away, so get used to it.