By: Isabella Carson
Abortion is a very sensitive subject. Those who are against it are very vocal about abolishing it and those who support it tend to keep quiet on the subject. It is rare to see abortions on a television show because the producers know that backlash will ensue. However Shonda Rhimes decided that Scandal was going to show a very short scene of leading lady Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) in a clinic having the procedure done. As expected there was some backlash, but there was also an outpouring of support for the decision.
Washington feels that it is important to see this subject on television because it is a reality. People have abortions but not as many as is portrayed in the media. She states that because it is not portrayed as often in the media or on television shows it has a stigma placed on it. Many people believe everything that the news stories tell them about abortions and how they are wrong to talk about, but they are a part of real life. Washington says that it’s a very difficult decision to have to make. Most women do not just make that kind of life changing decision on a whim. Some women get abortions because they have been [email protected] But no one ever talks about those facts because they don’t fit the agenda that the anti-abortion groups want you to see.
When something is regarded as “taboo” it is often considered too controversial to be placed in the forefront of the entertainment business. Many of the producers know that the backlash that could come from showing a controversial issue such as abortion could have negative effects on the shows ratings. People have a perception of controversial issues that may not always be correct. They see images of protesters outside of Planned Parenthood and are told that abortion is murder and that it should be abolished. With these images planted in their heads they begin to form an opinion without seeing the other side of things.
The number of abortions that have been reported in the U.S. has been declining steadily over the last few years. In 2012 there were 1.2 million abortions. In 2013 that number dropped to 984,000 and then down to 977,000 in 2014. Out of those abortions, 1% of the women reported that they were victims of [email protected] (although this number may be higher as [email protected] is something that women are often scared to report), 12% were because of a medical reason, and the rest were due to reason such as not ready to be a parent or being unable to provide a good life for the child. 15 year old accounted for a very small number of the abortions, only 0.4%, but they have an extremely high ratio at 817 out of every 1,000 girls that are age 15.