By Dave Andrusko
An essential ingredient to “normalizing abortion” is convincing the entertainment industry to show more and more instances of women having abortions. Keeping track of that is the Abortion Onscreen report.
While not overjoyed, abortion advocates are encouraged by what they saw. Steph Herold is the author of the latest report from the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health [ANSIRH] program at the University of California, San Francisco.
Herold, while hardly a household name, is one readers of NRL News Today may well recall. Over the years we’ve written about her pro-abortion agitprop on several occasions (here, here, here and here, for example).
My “favorite” example of her ability to compartmentalize was the time she announced it was unacceptable to call repeat abortions, repeat abortions.
Women have “multiple abortions,” not repeat abortions, Herold instructed us. In other words, there are no repeat abortions, only a series of discreet, separate, don’t-connect-the-dots abortions that are multiples of one.
Herold appears to have landed her dream job. At her twitter account, in 2020, we learned she is a “Researcher studying abortion on TV & film” at the “Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH).”
So, what did they see in 2022? According to NPR’s Elizabeth Blair who interviewed Herold
There’s been an uptick in the number of shows and plotlines centered around abortion. Researchers found 60 abortion plotlines or mentions in 52 shows in 2022, versus 47 abortion plotlines in 42 shows in 2021.
For the first time in ten years, a third of the TV plotlines portrayed barriers to abortion access versus only two such plotlines in 2021. …
Demographics on TV continue to misrepresent reality. In 2022, 58 percent of TV characters who obtained an abortion were white women when, in reality, it’s mostly women of color. …
Another first, says Herold, an abortion fund volunteer was a character on television, in an episode of Law & Order. The character accompanies a teenager from Texas to New York to have an abortion.
Fueling the visibility of abortion was the reversal of Roe v. Wade, we’re told. “Showrunners, writers, producers have really woken up to the abortion access crisis,” Herold says.
However, there are gaps. The biggest oversight, perhaps deliberate, was the overrepresentation of white women. “White women make up only one-third of the abortion patient population in the United States,” yet 58% of the characters were white and “wealthy and were not parents.”
Actually, there is a second misrepresentation. Over half of the abortions in the United States are chemical (“medication” abortion) but “we see so few medication abortions on television,” Herold said, “That is a major trend we have observed over the past 10 years — the majority of times that abortion is represented on screen, it’s either as a disclosure of a past abortion or we see a character in an in-clinic procedure room, or we see them entering a clinic with the presumption that they are about to have an in-clinic procedure.”
[Of course, there were plots in which, for one reason or another, the woman choses life. Guess what? Not a word.]
Finally, the effect of all this? Herold said
To me, this really shows you that when television plotlines can have and feature factual information coming from a recurring character — especially a doctor character — that people really respect, audiences take their words as fact instead of as entertainment, and that can have a real impact. But when abortion is talked about by a one-off character coming into a scene to have an abortion and that entire plotline is over and done within 10 minutes and never referenced again, that may not have a lasting impact on people’s attitudes about or support for abortion.
Speaking of “factual information,” the truth is that, overwhelmingly, the only contact women have with the abortionist is when they are in the stirrups about to take their child’s life.
The Abortion Industry—and ANSIRH— want every program that touches on abortion to be a PSA for the “safety” of abortion bundled with a lament that those deplorables keep passing laws in state legislatures that impinge on the Abortion Industry’s money-making endeavors.
Just as there will never be enough abortions for the likes of Herold and ANSIRH, so, too, there will never be a sufficient flood of movies celebrating the slaughter of unborn children.