On February 19, 2021, Kate Cohen, a contributing columnist for the Washington Post, published a piece called “On TV, Abortion Is the Road Less Traveled. Life’s Not Like That.” In it, Cohen relates being upset at a recent episode of the television show Atypical, where a character discovers she is pregnant and decides to have the child without even considering abortion. Cohen writes, “I’m so tired of this.” She elaborates, “Over and over again in TV shows and movies, female characters discover they are unintentionally pregnant and then make the choice that most women in that situation don’t make. Or worse: They don’t seem to remember that they even have a choice.”
Cohen then lists recent media offerings that depict women choosing life—always, I would add, in characters whose faith is either entirely absent or simply irrelevant to their decisions to carry their children to term and give birth. The films Juno and Knocked Up (both from 2007) are two of many examples she cites. Cohen laments the resistance to positive depictions of abortion, and she expresses her worry that legal abortion itself may be in jeopardy.
Challenging Cohen’s suppositions about the psychology of women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy or living with abortion on their conscience is an argument for another time, and probably for someone else to do.