Sue (wingedkami) wrote,
Sue
wingedkami

Abortion in popular culture (for which read TV that I've seen recently.)

I've been watching Bedlam series 2 on Sky Living, and to be honest, it's not that good. When you've only got six episodes in your series, you need to make every one count. This series has had five episodes so far (I haven't watched the finale yet) and only two of them really felt worth the effort.

The main reason I've kept watching is the Bedlamwatch blog. It's made me way more invested in the character of Max than I would have been just watching the show.

But I read some reviews of various episodes, and seen something interesting. At least two reviews have complained that the 'Ellie's pregnancy and abortion' storyline doesn't seem to have been given enough attention or played up enough. I disagree. I think they did it exactly right.

It basically went like this:

Ellie, feeling sad and scared, sleeps with Dan.
Ellie finds out she's pregnant, tells Max.
Max asks if she's told Dan.
Ellie says no, and she's not sure she's going to keep it.
Max, at a later date, asks Ellie if she's told Dan yet.
Ellie tells Max that she's had an abortion.

And that's it. No shaming of Ellie, either for getting pregnant by accident, or for deciding to abort. Nobody making a big deal out of it. Nobody trying to tell her what to do. Nobody suggesting that anyone except her deserves a say in it. No angsting from Ellie about whether it's the right thing to do, either before or afterwards. Just one woman, making her own decision and acting on it.

In short, possibly the best depiction of abortion I've ever seen on TV. I hope they don't muck it up in the last episode.

I've also been watching Murdoch Mysteries, currently showing at random times and in a seemingly random order on Alibi. And one of the recent episodes was 'Shades of Grey'. Nothing to do with that ridiculous book, thankfully, this one was about abortion. Specifically, abortion in Canada in the late 19th century, when abortion was illegal.

This episode graphically shows that the alternative to legal abortions isn't no abortions, it's illegal abortions. And that the consequences of illegal abortions can be horrific. In the case of the victim of the week, it's death from pennyroyal poisoning. In the case of another character, it's sterility. And yet women are so desperate that they're willing to take that risk. And herbal remedy sellers and back street physicians and even reputable doctors are willing to break the law to help them get what they need and have a chance of survival.

Bedlam demonstrated the way things should be. Murdoch Mysteries reminded us what the alternative is.
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