In an episode aired on Thursday night, NBC's prime-time television show "Parenthood" highlighted the decision of two characters who decide to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
In the episode, a teenage couple is confronted with an unintended pregnancy and the woman decides to have an abortion. While her male partner is reluctant to terminate the pregnancy, he supports the decision and accompanies her to the appointments at Planned Parenthood. As part of the episode, the couple is featured in a consultation where a representative of Planned Parenthood discusses the various options: parenting, adoption, and abortion.
Chris Weigant, a blogger on Huffington Post, described the episode "In less than two weeks, the Supreme Court decision in the landmark Roe v. Wade case will be 40 years old. Four decades later, the debate over abortion still rages. But it is a debate that is largely silent on the small screen. Even last night, abortion did not really dare to speak its name." He continues "Forty years [after Roe v. Wade], however, abortion has not made the same leap toward acceptability on television [as same sex marriage, for example]. Even in a show whose plot focuses on abortion, the word itself is not (or only barely, or partially) even heard. Abortion is referenced less often than even birth control (another subject still mostly in television's taboo closet)."
The first television character to have an abortion was Maude in 1972. Since then few shows have shown a main or supporting characters choosing an abortion as a key element of the plot development of the show. The majority of characters depicted facing an unwanted pregnancy miscarry the pregnancy or choose to raise the child.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 1/9/2013; Salon 1/9/2013; The Week 4/24/2012
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8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .