How Depictions of Abortion in Movies and TV Have Changed

States across the country are working to restrict access to abortion and, critics say, drive it underground, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. But, in movies and TV shows, depictions of abortion have become less negative and more realistic in recent years.

Gretchen Sisson, a sociologist who compiled a database of movies with abortion storylines, traces this history back to the 1916 silent film Where Are My Children?, about a woman who has been rendered infertile after having multiple abortions. Starting around the 1930s, films had to adhere to a set of requirements for onscreen conduct called the Hays Code, and abortions had to be depicted as the wrong decision.

How Depictions of Abortion in Movies and TV Have Changed

Primarily from the late 1960s onward, once those film industry requirements became defunct, movies went on to depict the various understandable reasons why women would want to have an abortion and to make the process seem doable and not pitiable. Sisson especially credits showrunner Shonda Rhimes with doing a standout job on this front in her shows Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and Bridgerton.

The 2019 film Saint Frances is one example of a movie that sought to provide a realistic look at what it’s like to have an abortion by taking a medication versus undergoing a surgical procedure. It’s based on the writer Kelly O’Sullivan’s experience getting an abortion in her early 30s.

“I think there are probably still a lot of people out there who don’t know exactly what an abortion might entail,” Sullivan says. By featuring a character who gets an abortion by popping a pill, she wanted to make the movie so that “people who might want to seek abortions in the future don’t feel scared.”

Related Posts

Gypsy Rose Blanchard Released From Prison After Serving 7 Years for Her Mom's Murder

Gypsy Rose Blanchard Released from Prison Gypsy Rose Blanchard is free. The 32-year-old, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016 for her role in the murder of her…

Heist of $1.5 Million Buddha Statue Leads to Arrest in Los Angeles

True Crime We Binged in 2022 A valuable Buddha statue has been found after it was stolen from a gallery in Los Angeles. Police arrested Justin Livick on Sept. 23 around…

Kate Spade Outlet Slides into Spring with Chic Floral Crossbodies Starting at $49, Plus an Extra 25% off

E! News Illustration / Photos Courtesy of Kate Spade Outlet We independently selected these deals and products because we love them, and we think you might like them…

Jennifer Aniston Says Sex Scene With Jon Hamm Was "Awkward Enough" Without This

Jennifer Aniston Teases SECRETS in The Morning Show Season 3 Trailer Jennifer Aniston had a bit of a wake-up call when she filmed her Morning Show sex scene….

Kaley Cuoco Got Carpal Tunnel Syndrome From Holding Baby Girl Matilda

Kaley Cuoco Says Jonas Brothers Calms Baby Matilda's Meltdowns As if parenthood wasn't hard enough. Being a hands-on mom has left Kaley Cuoco with a case of carpal…

King Charles Wrote Letters to Meghan Markle About Skin Color Comments After Oprah Winfrey Interview

New Details About King Charles & Meghan Markle Exchange It was an interview that changed everything.คำพูดจาก สล็อต888 PG When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down for their March 2021 conversation with Oprah…