In a recent article on the pro-abortion website RH Reality Check, staff writer Sarah Seltzer bemoaned that fact that abortion not a popular punchline. “The lack of abortion jokes creates this hyped-up atmosphere of tragedy and controversy around something that is quite common and needs to be discussed more,” she said.
The catalyst for this comment is an unreleased episode of Family Guy, in which abortion is the target for the show’s infamously edgy and irreverent jokes. Seltzer identifies the lack of abortion jokes as “a damning silence” and quotes another blogger who calls it “a textbook example of how systemic sexism works.”
For all her concern about sexism, Seltzer shows a complete lack of sensitivity towards women who have had abortions and a failure to recognize that abortion is simply not funny for the majority of Americans. (Ironically, when a pro-lifer tries to show a medically accurate and scientific depiction of what occurs during abortion, they’re soundly condemned by self-appointed spokespeople for women for their insensitivity.)
Seltzer continues by complaining of otherwise “edgy, sexually hip shows” that take “the typical TV copout route of a miscarriage or a pregnancy carried to term.”
“TV has created this bizarro world,” she says, “where a choice that most American women would consider strongly after an unintended pregnancy is all but erased.”
Seltzer is right when she points out that abortions occur all too often. After all, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, at current rates more than one-third of women (35%) will have had an abortion by age 45.
But why is abortion rarely portrayed on television? Judging by the content of current TV shows, it’s hardly because of puritan censorship. Instead, most people realize that abortion is not just a medical procedure. It’s the taking of a human life, and that is what makes it off the table for discussion.
But let’s have an open conversation on abortion – not filled with jokes and flippant remarks, as Sarah Seltzer advocates, but a nation-wide discussion of the brutal procedure itself and the pain that it leaves behind. Otherwise, we are indeed contributing to “a damning silence.”