“One Life To Live” Shows That Pro-Choice is Pro-Life

10 Aug

I’ve already admitted on this blog that I occasionally read romance novels, so longtime Abortion Gang readers might not be surprised to find out that my other secret “unwind time” activity is watching soap operas.  After a day spent in a high pressure environment, crunching numbers and doing other tax accountant activities, I find it relaxing to watch the day’s episode of “One Life To Live” which I record each day on my DVR.  For forty-five minutes every evening I get to enjoy a little escapism from my life.  The storylines, ranging from switched babies to outlandish revenge plots, are wildly imaginative to put it mildly, which, to me, is part of what makes it so entertaining.

I was worried that I might have to give up my vice, though, when one of the teenage girl characters on the show, Destiny, began to show the tell tale entertainment signs of teenage pregnancy.  You know, the ignorance of any and all birth control options, remarks about such things being her boyfriend’s responsibility and the inevitable weight gain and perennial nausea, that could not, alas, be explained away by a fondness for burritos.  I started watching afterwards, though, so it was with no small amount of trepidation that I began watching the last few episodes on my DVR.  Destiny finally saw a doctor who who confirmed what she had been busy denying: a teen pregnancy.  The good doctor laid out her options to her as her brother blustered his way into the exam room filled with guilt and intent on protecting his baby sister.

Despite that, teenage Destiny still took the decision of whether to become a parent, to have a baby and give it up for adoption or to have an abortion into her own hands.  Though the decision making dialog between Destiny and her best friend, Dani, was painful as Destiny made remarks like “It would be easier to have a baby than to go through the trouble of an abortion or adoption,” the show writers effectively pointed out the very obvious flaws of pursuing the fantasy of motherhood as a teenager.  Issues like being able to go to college or supporting herself and her potential child.

After a much needed reality check, Destiny, to both my surprise, announced that she wanted to have an abortion.  Because the show takes place in Pennsylvania, though, the OB/GYN tells her that she must wait 24 hours.  Then, she throws up another state sponsored hurdle: Destiny is under 18, and in this anti-choice state, that means that if you do not have a parent’s permission to have an abortion, you must get permission from a judge.   According to the Guttmacher Institute, even if Destiny were over 18, she would still have to endure what they describe as “state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided.”

I don’t know where the show is going to go with this storyline, but I am impressed that ABC, a major network, and “One Life To Live,” chose to ruthlessly tear apart both the delusional myths of teenage motherhood, perpetuated by the likes of Bristol Palin, MTV’s unreality tripe “Teen Mom,” and ABC’s “Secret Life Of The American Teenager,” and the laws in states like Pennsylvania which only serve to hurt the citizens whose welfare they are supposed to be protecting.

One Response to ““One Life To Live” Shows That Pro-Choice is Pro-Life”

  1. Dee August 10, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    It’s such a coincidence that you wrote this post b/c I was just about to email Abortion Gang about a related topic.

    I’m Latina, and while I don’t watch a lot of telenovelas (Spanish soap operas), I soak in a lot of what my mom watches, and she loves them. This week, two characters on one of these shows (La Fuerza del Destino) had unwanted pregnancies and opted for abortion. One of them (the viallainess) was stopped by the hero (uuughhh!) of the soap, who told her family. They forbade the abortion. The other pregnancy was more interesting, because it was the first time in a Mexican soap (Mexico is perhaps the most famous exporter of telenovelas, as well as the most conservative) that a “good” woman chose an abortion. Previously in soaps, only villains chose abortion (and were usually punished for it). Of course, whatever progress this soap made by having a good woman choose abortion was then walked back by having her bleed to death (the article I link below implies that she died; I don’t watch the soap so I don’t know). The whole death by abortion thing is yet another anti scare tactic that we’ve seen done to death.

    Anyway, this brings me back to soaps, which are generally more conservative than other tv programming. In Mexico and Latin America, they are even more conservative than in the states. I remember one telenovela (La Mentira, based on the 1950s novel of the same title) in which a man discovers that his brother killed himself after his girlfriend had an abortion and left him. The whole 100 episodes centered on this man’s quest to find his brother’s treacherous girlfriend and punish her by making her fall in love with him, marrying her, then subjecting her to emotional abuse. Remember, this man is the hero of the piece!

    Anyhoo, this article (for those of you who read Spanish) traces the problematic history of the portrayal of abortion in Mexican telenovelas.


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